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Merkle’s Charlie Nock Rising Star of the Year at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries

Charlie Nock of Merkel

Charlie Nock of Merkle was named ‘Rising Star of the Year’ at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveals the secrets of Charlie’s success...


In January 2020, Charlie became joint-lead of the Total Search Ace (Agency Centre of Excellence). Since then, Charlie has; driven a rebrand from the previous offering, referred to as ‘SEM‘, overseen the approach‘s acquisition of two major digital marketing awards, driven the expansion of the offering across Merkle‘s global business, and placed Total Search at the center of Merkle‘s go-to-market strategy for search business.

Charlie authored Merkle‘s Total Search Whitepaper and web page and formulated both the agency‘s internal upskilling module and the external pitch deck. These outputs are based on the core Merkle belief that our strategic role lies in partnering with clients to help them enhance their customer experiences through data transformation.

By placing data at the heart of our approach, this allowed Merkle to place robust data-driven attribution and unique tooling at the center of each conversation with clients. With this as a basis, clients are empowered to take control of their search activity and hold Merkle and themselves accountable to more incremental and effective activity, building trust in our offering and supporting our aim to become a strategic partner to our key client brands.

Once this new KPI and insight discovery framework was in place, account teams were able to lean on different department‘s specialists for consultancy work or heightened support as the client required. By granting clients access to the right specialist at the right time, Merkle became more able to deliver results and value. The creation of internal and external training sessions has allowed client and account teams to gel and extract the maximum value from their Merkle engagement. It has also secured the mass adoption of the approach within the business to aid resourcing and strategy conversations and circulate best practice.

Total Search is now be rolled out globally in response to a number of large client wins and the demand from existing large clients. Charlie is leading this rollout to ensure consistency of excellence in delivery across regions for a more unified brand experience for clients.

Personal development

A broad-based SEO with demonstrable strength in contextualizing SEO as part of broader brand and marketing activities, Charlie has carved a niche that puts SEO front and center for brand‘s digital marketing activities. His effectiveness stems from his personal development in building cross-channel understanding and relationships. By serving as the translator for technical, content, and PR SEO with more generalist marketers, he has brought SEO from an isolated IT-based silo within client teams and the Merkle agency business and into the key strategic account conversations, driving agency growth and client value.

Charlie leads the SEO engagements for a large household name consumer electronics brand in EMEA, Uniqlo EMEA, and JP Morgan Asset Management‘s global technical SEO. In addition to this, over the past 12 months he has adopted the Performance Owner on Benefit Cosmetics UK and Orbis International, an NGO which he has grown from a US technical SEO audit into a global SEO, PPC and analytics account.

His recent development stems from his management of a team of three SEOs. Having stepped into this role in January, after 30 months and three promotions at Merkle, Charlie‘s team have achieved two promotions in this period. Here he is coaching them to lead our department's specialisms in content and commerce, and is serving as performance owner on two of their core Total Search accounts (Orbis International and Benefit Cosmetics).

In this management role, Charlie has constructed a new Proficiency Matrix to ensure the department uses a robust development model to reduce subjectivism and favoritism and instill core values and competencies within the team. This matrix required the orchestration of all UK specialism leads and managers to ensure its comprehensiveness, accuracy, and gain buy-in. He also leads the weekly manager meeting and three New Hire Training modules, including the Marketing 101 module which he constructed.

The direct acquisition of Aggreko and Uniqlo EMEA‘s SEO activities as a result of direct leadership of the pitches, presented as part of broader Total Search propositions. The wider offering has also generated the acquisition or growth of Crocs, Sky, Genpact, Weird Fish, and CM Group accounts. In this period both the Benefit Cosmetics and Danone accounts have won external awards for their Total Search activities.

Early in his career, Charlie led a Total Search B2B client to a Dadi for Best Professional Services Campaign – our department‘s first major award win. In the past 12 months, all clients which Charlie services have grown their engagement with Merkle EMEA. The global large consumer electronics account returned an NPS score of 10, while JP Morgan expanded its SEO engagement by 30% following the performance of the global migration project.

This entry was a winner at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021. Find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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