ORM's CEO Luke Pigott talks to Management Today
Our CEO, Luke Pigott, was recently interviewed by Management Today, a key resource for business managers; featuring news and analysis, advice and insight from the UK’s most successful senior business leaders.
Luke is also CEO of the Howard Hunt Group, a marketing services provider which consists of four separate companies including ORM, Howard Hunt (direct mail specialists), Celerity (data marketing and strategy) and Graft (marketing concierge services). Luke spoke to Management Today about how Howard Hunt Group has evolved and thrived to become what it is today.
Luke inherited Howard Hunt from his father and recognised that the direct mail business’ growth and, indeed, survival was hinged on how the company evolved to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital modern landscape. Luke’s solution was to pivot and expand into other, complementary lines of work.
This led to the founding of Celerity, the first addition to the Howard Hunt Group, in August 2002. It was around this time, Luke suggests, that “data was really starting to become quite interesting.” Originally launched as a data processing company by Luke and co-founder Jason Lark, Celerity took on Nectar as its first client, helping launch the renowned Nectar customer loyalty scheme that went from zero to almost 19 million users in a very short space of time.
Celerity evolved to become a data marketing consultancy specialising in Adobe Campaign (part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe’s integrating digital marketing solution) and Salesforce email marketing. The company’s success prompted the founding of two further marketing services companies, ORM and Graft, in 2012. As a digital strategy agency, ORM’s work complements the other businesses in the Howard Hunt group.
Making the move from running one traditional direct mail company to incorporating three new digital-focused businesses hasn’t been without its challenges. At the time, Luke was taking a risk in betting that services and digital would be big growth industries. However, his gamble has certainly paid off. Luke acknowledges though that there was a learning curve involved in evolving to meet the ever growing digital needs of businesses, and difficulties involved in hiring and retaining digitally-savvy staff.
Thankfully, the Howard Hunt Group has managed to overcome these challenges while tripling its profitability, with turnover up 150% to £80 million. The original Howard Hunt business remains a success, and has even reaped the rewards of the new business model as it allows the group to cross-sell its services across all of its divisions.