Harthill Marketing Services is a solution oriented marketing company that strives to build a long-term relationship with each client, working diligently to ensure that their individual needs are met. We caught up with Founder Michelle Harthill to learn more about this collaborative approach and how it has ensured the ongoing success of both the firm and its clients.

Established in 1999, Harthill Marketing Services is a time-tested organization with over 20 years of combined experience. Michelle, who founded the business, discusses how she took advantage of a gap in the market and used this to form the foundations of the agency.

“Harthill Marketing Services began after I identified a need for a full service-marketing agency in a niche channel. My business model included offering CPG (Consumer Product Goods) organizations a full line of marketing services and solutions tailored to drive business in the Military resale channel to include 275 stores worldwide.

“My approach to working with any client revolves entirely around them and their needs. The first step I take is to identify the marketing objective or need aligned to driving sales of that brand or category. Once the objective is determined, I then strategically develop a sales promotional campaign that will meet that objective. Most will include several elements- in store plays a huge portion as most customers make their buying decision ‘at the shelf’. However, advertising is also key in communicating and providing a ‘reason to buy’ given product.

“Fundamentally the key areas of development for both my clients and my agency revolve around knowing what we need to stay ahead of the competition and what customers are responding to, and as such there are many variables to consider when putting together a marketing strategy that will work. If I am working with an organic product, for example, I want to target both the customer purchasing this type of product and the retailer who can sell to that customer; bringing the two together to create a marketing synergy that creates selling power. Marketing must always align with both in order to build awareness and drive sales on a consistent base. Because the grocery industry is constantly changing and customers are shopping multiple locations, Harthill Marketing Services must always be stay ahead of these changes in order for our promotional campaigns to be effective.”

Working in such a competitive market, standing out from the rest of the market is crucial, and Michelle and her team at Harthill achieve this through a combination of client focus, dedication and cost efficiency, as she explains.

“Unlike many larger agencies, here at Harthill we do not over charge for our time. My account managers are very conservative when estimating a project and how much account personnel time will be used. They are also very good about staying within a given budget, and in most instances, staying way under budget. I understand the importance of saving marketing dollars because it only allows us to ‘do more’. If one brand is given $100K budget, I do not want to use it on one program, I want to use it on as many programs possible, giving that brand more presence in the marketplace, therefore driving higher sales.

“Everyone at Harthill strives to give the best customer service possible through collaboration and strong relationship. We make ourselves a part of their internal team by offering ideas, implementation and solutions that best drive their business to success. When our clients are successful, we feel successful. Building a strong relationship through trust is the foundation of Harthill Marketing Services – internally, with our vendors and most importantly, with our clients- and it is this approach which ensures that our clients understand that we are the best possible option for all their marketing needs.”

Ultimately, Harthill Marketing Services has been built on developing and implementing in store shopper-marketing programs, but the future will revolve around social media as Michelle looks to usher in the digital age of product marketing.

“Moving into 2017, Harthill Marketing Services are going to start offering more digital solutions in the social media platform. As an increasing number of shoppers are engaging in social media, and will continue to over the next five years, it is important that all businesses ‘be seen’ through social media channels.

“Engagement through social media will be higher than in store as we move forward and I think we can drive sales more effectively through this method. In some instances, I would even suggest a combination of in store and social media. With that said, Harthill Marketing Services will start developing shopper marketing programs aligned with the various social media channels using our same strategic approach.”