Harte-Hanks' Robson Turns Attention to Growth Markets

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The new senior vice president of Harte-Hanks Inc.'s creative agency, Harte-Hanks Direct, New York, will focus on extending the agency's work in growth markets such as telecommunications and hi-tech and will aim to further integrate the interactive side of clients' marketing programs.

Peter Robson, who had been vice president of database marketing services for Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing, the larger division within which Harte-Hanks Direct falls, was named to the new post earlier this month.

"Because of growth [at Harte-Hanks Direct], there was a perceived need to add someone to lead in the coordination of up-front planning," he said.

Currently, the agency is seeing particularly strong interest in its data-focused direct marketing services from the telecommunications and hi-tech industries, as well as from selected clients in health care, the nonprofit sector and the automotive industry.

In addition, the agency will work on the integration of interactive marketing with more traditional direct marketing, Robson said, noting that some companies use direct mail to drive Internet traffic and experiment with other Internet and direct marketing mixes.

The new position is a shift in focus for Robson, who previously had a range of database responsibilities which were specific to clients in the retail industry. While his new position will involve work with industries that are new to him, his background in database is in keeping with the agency's philosophy, he said.

"Our approach is to use client data to drive strategy. That means using information on where customers are, their historical behavior and what types of offers they have responded to, to understand who to talk to, how to talk to them and how much to spend," he said. "You don't often see agency people in this role coming from the database marketing arena. Many come out of general advertising and move into direct marketing. At Harte-Hanks, we have many who started in database marketing or started in industries that we serve."

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