Direct marketing client budgets are up 10%-15% since the end of the recession and clients are being more innovative according to one of Howard Hunt’s new joint managing directors.
Lucy Edwards, who was promoted from deputy managing director in April, along with her co-MD, former sales director Danny Clarke, said it was a really interesting time to be in the DM market.
“Coming out of the recession clients have been engaged in seeing how they get more impact in drops. The conversation has changed from cost basis to innovation.”
In response the Dartford-based direct mail printer has invested £5m since October on a KBA Rapida 106 long perfector sheetfed press and a Scheffer Offline finishing line, which enables processes including UV coating, closed-end mailers, kiss-cutting and pull-outs.
“It can do a lot: personalisation, putting personalised vouchers into products, that kind of thing. It’s a piece of equipment that can produce high-end, innovative and personalised products,” Edwards said.
She added the KBA improved makeready times and enabled the business to have a quicker turnaround.
“It is incredibly quick, ideal for smaller runs. Our clients are being a lot smarter with the use of their data.”
She added: “We use digital print more for reactive projects, such as trigger campaigns. So people will make a physical purchase and then the client will send them a related mailing or it’s about a lifestyle choice, a new home or new baby.
"It’s all driven by the client wanting to be smart about their marketing budgets.”
She said that clients still wanted to do big mail-outs, but increasingly wanted to mix these up with more innovative ideas, with clients “willing to test their control markets” rather than relying on the safe option.
Howard Hunt is celebrating its 25th year in business with a new logo.
The appointment of Edwards and Clarke was part of a management restructure at the company. Edwards has responsibility for manufacturing, technology, HR, finance and marketing and Clarke for sales and commercial and client services.
Former managing director Luke Pigott is now the chief executive of £70m-turnover Howard Hunt Group, which now operates in the US, Spain, Poland and South Africa as well as the UK, and has clients across four continents. His move will allow him to take a more global, strategic view.
There has been no cull of senior management, according to Edwards. A series of internal appointments to management level has given Simon Currid responsibility for customer services and planning; Stuart King for technology and Richard Haigh and Paul Wirt for operations.
“It’s been a very positive change and everyone’s really excited. We want to be up to £100m as quickly as possible. We’re hugely ambitious.”
Pigott said: “In our 25th year it’s more important than ever that we continue to embody our core values while simultaneously pushing the company in new directions that align us with what the customer wants. Our investment in Howard Hunt’s print technology and senior people will be fundamental to our future growth and success.”