BOSTON-Three highly specialized executives who helped build Hill, Holliday Direct have left to form a consulting company.
Martin Lock is the most recent direct marketing executive to jump from the unit of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos he was tapped to run six years ago. Lock joined former Hill, Holliday Direct executives Chuck Barrs and Peter Taves at a startup company in Sherborn, Mass., that specializes in database mining. Called Applied Metrix, its aim is to use databases to help its clients lower the cost of finding and retaining customers.
Barrs joined Hill, Holliday Direct two years ago when the Boston agency bought out The MSP Group, a database marketing company in Framingham, Mass., that Barrs co-founded. At that time, he was made a senior vice president in charge of analytic services at Hill, Holliday Direct and agreed to stay on for two years.
When that obligation was up in January, Barrs and Taves, a statistician and database modeling expert, left the agency and started Applied Metrix.
With Lock now aboard to develop business, the three equal partners plan to aggressively sell their services to agencies and clients alike. They will focus on the financial services, high-technology and energy industries.
"We should work in harmony with agencies, not compete against them," Barrs said.
The decision to leave Hill, Holliday Direct, Lock said, was not mitigated by the recruitment of Don White in April to run the fast-growing unit, whose clients now include Mellon Bank Corp., Fidelity Investments and Digital Equipment Corp. In fact, Lock and Barrs said Hill, Holliday is an important client of Applied Metrix.
The company has also worked for Gearon Hoffman, helping the Boston agency formulate strategies for AllEnergy Marketing in Waltham, Mass. Gearon director of client services Arthur Sweetser described the principals as an "analytical brain trust."