Preserving An Independent Hart

Mike Hart, CEO

Since Hart was founded in 1965, there have certainly been major milestones and challenges in the marketing industry along the way. However, I’m sure most of you will agree that our industry, specifically in the agency world, is bridging into a pivotal era. Technology is evolving faster than ever before, new marketing specialties and practice areas are emerging and, in part due to the pandemic, brands are leaning on agencies more than ever to fill roles they are no longer filling in-house. 

One major shift the industry has started to see over the past few years – and I expect it to increase exponentially in the next decade – is the consolidation and acquisition of small to mid-size marketing firms. As a mid-size agency ourselves, I have seen firsthand the very appealing offers to sell. The dream of selling and even eventually ringing the Wall Street bell may be the pot of gold for many small businesses. However, I’m steadfast in my decision to keep Hart an independent agency, not only for our legacy, but for what I wholeheartedly believe we offer our clients and employees.

Remaining an independent agency keeps us nimble, scrappy and true to our values. We’ve amplified our deep history of proven success with a startup mentality. And enhanced our deeply rooted Midwestern work ethic with a long bench of expertise and modern toolsets. My father started this agency with an entrepreneurial spirit and he passed that same spirit down to me. I’ve worked to inspire our employees to be ambitious and show them that everything they do has a direct impact on the future of Hart. I want to demonstrate to our clients that we are their partner, not just a vendor, and they have our full attention and dedication to providing them with our most valuable work, which comes with authenticity and integrity. 

As you may have seen, last week we promoted Marc Paulenich to president of Hart, a move I couldn’t be more proud of, and one that further solidifies our decision to remain independent. I’m thrilled to be working alongside Marc in my role as CEO, in a partnership that’s committed to independence, success and dedication to our employees and clients.