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Harte Hanks: Bringing the 'Human Touch' to MarTech

CIO VendorMike Hastings, SVP of Marketing Technology Services
Amidst ever-increasing market competition, businesses are often in a hurry to automate marketing processes in quest of scalability and efficiency. But this quest often undermines the very foundational purpose of marketing: communicating with other individual humans.

In a world where consumers demand increasingly relevant and contextual communications, automation must leave behind the batch and blast mentality and enable brands to provide value to each individual—when and where they need it. This means brands need to get to know consumers deeper than ever before.

“We've been providing businesses with ways to engage their customers through technology, which drives more intimate and in-the-moment conversations. Such interactions relevant to time and context require big data crunching capabilities. That’s possible with a signal-based data platform. It allows us to bring the human back to marketing,” says Mike Hastings, SVP of Marketing Technology Services at Texas-based Harte Hanks, a global firm with more than nine decades of experience in helping clients connect more meaningfully with prospects and customers.

There are many pieces that must come together to achieve this one-to-one, in-the-moment marketing. An ecosystem of martech capabilities that shares data in real time allows us to begin to behave in the digital world just as we would in the physical one—in a more relevant, timely, personal manner.

Key to bringing this human touch to martech is a technology framework that allows you to break big data down into small signals. Harte Hanks’ next generation platform is built on Opera Solutions’ Signal Hub, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help marketers figure out customer intent—and act on it.

We’ve been enablingclients with ways to engage their customers through technology, which drives more intimate and in-the-moment conversations


Marketers are trying to get at the data that tells them who the customer is, why she is doing what she’s doing at any given moment, and what she’s going to do next. In the physical world, an associate would ask “How may I help you?” But in the digital world, marketers must discern the answer from digital clues. The raw data does not offer any value. It must be transformed to tell the marketer what to do next.

Signals make this much easier for us than it has been in the past. Signals come from all of the data a brand generates with the various pieces of their martech stack, and they can be anything—from as simple as how many times a customer has made purchases to what it is that they are likely to buy. Signal Hub captures all of them (spoken and implied) to understand the personas behind any potential customer and help generate the next best possible conversation.

“Whatever the channel is, be it SMS, email, or even a direct call, interactions can be driven by Signal Hub to deliver meaningful, contextual conversations with customers,” extols Hastings.

A signal-based platform like Signal Hub requires data to feed segmentation efforts and build and train models. Augmenting your first-party data is often needed. Harte Hanks’ Global DataViewTM (GDV) is a big data offering that carries more than 1600 multi-verified, multi-sourced variables about customers, allowing marketers to gleen additional insight into customer needs. Unlike the static, on-premise customer database, cloud-based GDV enables brands to capture, enhance, and drive real-time decision making and deliver content with utmost relevancy.

Beyond martech, Harte Hanks offers a holistic approach to making marketing human through the Five Pillars of Best-in- Class Marketing. Visit hartehanks.com to learn more.