SOURCE: Harte-Hanks

July 09, 2007 09:05 ET

Harte-Hanks: 2007 Target Marketing Priorities Analysis Highlights Consumer and B-to-B Marketing Activity

Harte-Hanks-Underwritten CSO Insights Study Reveals Struggle With Data Quality, Need for Better Communication Between Sales and Marketing, and Strive for Digital Success

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwire - July 9, 2007) - Harte-Hanks, Inc. (NYSE: HHS), a worldwide direct and targeted marketing company, announced today the findings of a new survey, administered by CSO Insights and underwritten by Harte-Hanks, that examines current marketing priorities of more than 530 companies. The study is an update to a similar study conducted by CSO Insights two years ago.

Among business-to-business marketers, the study found that digital marketing -- e-mail, Web sites and online registrations, search -- are seeing increased investments, but that a "continuing struggle with data quality" is a "major roadblock to success." In addition, sales and marketing lack alignment, in that both do not share the same views on the value marketing provides to help sales achieve revenue goals, say the study authors. Approximately 60% of survey respondents represent b-to-b marketers.

Among consumer marketers, a lack of data quality -- in terms of currency and correctness -- hurts marketing efforts, though marketers gave higher marks for data quality than they had done in the previous survey. According to this year's results, direct mail and e-mail generated the best return on investment among media channels in 2006, as consumer marketers remain devoted to multiple channels in a bid to influence consumers (see Chart 1, showing both b-to-b and b-to-c responses). Among all media, digital media categories -- with the exception of paid search -- receive the highest priorities, with near-equal attention given to data analysis, among other data-related concerns.

In both markets, prompt action based on data analysis is a top priority for business demand generation, the study reported (see Chart 2).

"As companies invest more in multiple channels in a bid to acquire customers, and to retain their loyalty, it appears businesses continue to grapple with data management and data insight -- and just what the metrics are saying," said Bill Goldberg, corporate officer and senior vice president, Harte-Hanks. "Of concern, sales and marketing teams still are not reading the same rulebook when it comes to discerning value and customer optimization."

Full results of the study, in a white paper format, are available by contacting Harte-Hanks at (800) 456-9748, or via e-mail at contactus@harte-hanks.com. Two versions are available, one for b-to-b marketers and one for consumer marketers.

Among the respondents, 28% represented technology companies, 19% from the manufacturing sector (non-tech), 13% among services companies, 9% financial, 7% in healthcare and 5% retailers and consumer package goods companies -- with a variety of other sectors (non-profit, government, education, travel and transportation, among others) making up the other 24%.

About Harte-Hanks

Harte-Hanks is a worldwide direct and targeted marketing company that provides marketing services and shopper advertising opportunities to local, regional, national and international consumer and business-to-business marketers. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing improves return on its clients' marketing investment by increasing their prospect and customer value -- a process of "customer optimization" -- organized around five strategic considerations: Information (data collection/management) -- Opportunity (data access/utilization) -- Insight (data analysis/interpretation) -- Engagement (knowledge application) -- Interaction (program execution). Expert in integrating this process, Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing is highly skilled at tailoring solutions for each of the vertical markets it serves. Visit the Harte-Hanks Web site at http://www.harte-hanks.com or call (800) 456-9748.

[Editor's Note: Members of the media only may contact Chet Dalzell in the public relations department of Harte-Hanks to receive an executive summary of the report, and for any graphs or charts that are contained in the report.]

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