Hanks connecting the Dots

It’s good to be named Hanks these days. If you’re in the news and your first name is Tom, well, congratulations, you’re starring in the biggest American grosser of the year. If your first name is Harte, well, you’ve got lots to be proud of, too. Yesterday, marketing company Harte Hanks Inc. was able to announce its delivery of services to GNC Corporation, the largest specialty retailer of nutritional supplements.

GNC, meanwhile, took the time to directly credit the Harte Hanks Allink database marketing solution for some on their recent increased store traffic and sales. And o boy, were there a lot of sales. GNC’s net income in the first quarter of 2006 increased by more than 300%. In working with Harte Hanks CRM solutions, the GNC has sought to segment customers effectively and efficiently, associate offers with target segments, and carefully plan and measure its dialogue-driven multichannel campaigns. Due to this recent success and presented alongside the announcement came the news that GNC would be engaging Harte Hanks in future to develop a customer segmentation strategy and to provide ongoing campaign management and reporting.

GNC’s “weighty” goal (Clever press material here, eh?) for its 5,800 retail locations is to move from SKU-focused marketing to segmented consumer-centric marketing. The Pittsburg, Pa.-based GNC is the world’s largest specialty retailer of nutritional supplements. GNC has more than 5,000 retail locations in the United States and 46 other countries. Last week, Harte Hanks announced its acquisition of Böblingen, Germany-based StepDot Software GmbH. StepDot had been a value-added reseller specializing in data quality and integration solutions for Harte Hanks since 2002.

Plans for StepDot include its integration into Trillium Software operations, and its doing business as Harte Hanks Trillium Software Germany GmbH. Financial terms of the acquisition agreement were not disclosed. As a result of the acquisition, Klaus Webersinke, chief executive officer of StepDot, was named vice president of Central Europe for Harte Hanks Trillium Software. With the acquisition, Harte Hanks seeks to continue the goal stated by Harte Hanks president / chief executive officer Richard Hochhauser: “expanding our company’s presence globally.”

StepDot’s client catalogue features corporations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, representing sectors including those of financial services, automotive and pharmaceuticals. “Acquiring StepDot provides Harte Hanks a more strategic presence in Central Europe and in Germany, its largest and most dynamic economy,” Harte Hanks corporate officer / senior vice president Gary Skidmore said of the deal. The day before the StepDot deals was a joint announcement between application and data integration technology producer Sunopsis and Harte Hanks’ Trillian Software. Under terms of the agreement, Sunopsis will integrate and resell Harte-Hanks Trillium Software’s data quality solution TS Quality, as part of the Sunopsis Data Conductor and Sunopsis Active Integration platforms.

Integration work between the two companies is reportedly nearly complete and general release is scheduled for July 2006. TS Quality also will be available as an upgrade for existing Sunopsis customers. Organizations already using Harte-Hanks Trillium Software products can acquire the Sunopsis Open Connector for TS Quality in order to use the products in simulation of an integrated fashion. TS Quality is designed to support data quality requirements within applications across an entire enterprise and to provide users with a trusted foundation on which to build a long-term strategy for data quality.

Sunopsis has headquarters in France, the United States, and Singapore, and boasts more than five hundred customers worldwide. The firm produces data integration and application integration products in seeking to assist organizations in efficiently managing and sharing data from disparate sources. San Antonio, Texas-based Harte Hanks, Inc. is an international marketing company that provides direct marketing services and shopper advertising opportunities to marketers.

Harte Hanks Shoppers is North America’s largest owner, operator and distributor of shopper publications, with 1,000 separate editions with circulation in excess of 12 million weekly in California and Florida. Harte Hanks Trillium Software seeks to enable organizations to achieve “Total Data Quality” by providing technologies and services featuring global data profiling, data cleansing, enhancement, and data linking for e-business, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, data warehouse, and other enterprise applications.

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