Harte Hanks on Monday named industry veteran Joyce Karel as the company’s first chief commercial officer.
In the newly created role, Karel takes responsibility for leading the company’s Marketing Services business as well as managing clients, sales and marketing, and services across the enterprise.
Based in the Philadelphia headquarters, Karel reports directly to Andrew Benett, executive chairman and chief executive officer at Harte Hanks.
Karel bring with her experience in leadership positions at top marketing agencies including Digitas, MRM//McCann, Ogilvy & Mather and Wunderman, as well as client-side roles at Whirlpool. Her experience includes working with many of the most respected world-class brands including AT&T, Charles Schwab, FedEx, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, Reckitt Benckiser, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and United Airlines, among others.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily (S&PMD) caught up with Karel to talk about her new position and the meaning of chief commercial officer. What follows are excepts from the conversation.
S&PMD: Why did you leave your previous position and what brought you to Harte Hanks?
Joyce Karel: I partnered with Harte Hanks years ago when I worked at Digitas and have always been impressed with their expertise and capabilities. In fact, I have recruited many team members from Harte Hanks.
The deciding factor was Andrew Benett, executive chairman and CEO at Harte Hanks. He has a very clear vision of the incredible opportunities for growing the company.
Andrew also has a laser focus on shaping and delivering exciting consumer facing solutions for our clients, which is something that has always been a top priority for me throughout my career in the agency world. I was thrilled when Andrew presented me with the opportunity to join him and the team in that journey.
S&PMD: What is a chief commercial officer?
Karel: In an omnichannel customer experience company such as Harte Hanks, the chief commercial officer is responsible for clearly defining our commercial strategy, aligning our business units to seamlessly deliver best-in-class services for our clients, and working diligently to make certain our services delight and excite both our clients and their customers. This role is also responsible for the Marketing Services business within Harte Hanks.
S&PMD: What is the difference between CMO and CCO?
Karel: In the modern marketing era, roles and responsibilities are constantly being redefined to make sure organizations are focused on meeting and exceeding the demands of today’s highly personalized, customer-driven economy.
As chief commercial officer, I am responsible for working across the enterprise to ensure we deliver exceptional services for our clients. This entails partnering with clients at every level to understand their business objectives and help craft and implement solutions to drive their business. Conversely, our chief marketing officer, who reports to me, is responsible for the marketing of Harte Hanks. This includes communications across our owned and earned channels, as well as public relations, events and speaking engagements.
S&PMD: Why create the role of CCO, and what industry trends does it address?
Karel: I would say the most important trend in addresses is the increased and justified demand by clients for seamless execution of their business goals by their marketing partners.
Regardless of your organization’s roles and responsibilities in that execution, clients want to have confidence that you are delivering on their value proposition with the consumer.
S&PMD: What is your goal for the year?
Karel: Harte Hanks has been long recognized as a leader in delivering end-to-end solutions and customer experiences for clients.
My goal is to build on that strong foundation and ensure we deliver exceptional services for our clients to help them achieve their business objectives and future-proof their brands.