Harte-Hanks gives thanks to direct marketing services. One of the largest producers of shoppers (advertising circulars sent by mail) in the country, the company provides integrated direct-marketing services in the US and internationally, including market research and analytics (with help from its Aberdeen subsidiary). It designs contact databases, tracks leads, and provides telephone, e-mail, and printing and mailing services to connect customers with their potential clients. Customers include major retailers and companies from the financial services, health care, and technology industries. Harte-Hanks' shopper division boasts a weekly circulation of 11.2 million in key markets in California and Florida.
Harte-Hanks' direct marketing services are provided by more than 30 facilities worldwide, with a dozen of these located outside the US. The company's shopper publications are highly targeted -- roughly 950 individual editions are produced for PennySaverUSA.com in California and TheFlyer.com in Florida. Print ads also appear on the publications' websites.
For the last five years, however, Harte-Hanks has seen its profits steadily plummet while its revenues have dropped. In 2009, amidst the recession, it experienced declines in almost every revenue category due to a sharp decrease in demand for its products and services and the anemic economic climates present in both its targeted states. To counter these losses, Harte-Hanks trimmed circulation by 1.4 million from July 2008 to February 2009. Even with the global economy pulling out of the recession, the company has not ruled out further cuts or the possibility of shutting down low-performing publications in the future.
Its plan for growth involves developing new products and services and broadening its international reach, particularly in Europe. In mid-2010, the company obtained Information Arts (UK) Limited, a firm with expertise in multichannel marketing effectiveness and retention programs.
The family of co-founder Houston Harte (including vice chairman Houston H. Harte and director Christopher Harte) collectively owns about 13% of Harte-Hanks. In early 2009, chairman Larry Franklin took on the role of CEO after the former CEO, Dean Blythe, left to pursue other business opportunities. Blythe was also the former CFO and had been with the company since 2001.
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