Interview with Chris Carder, President – ThinData

With the recent news regarding ThinData’s acquisition by Transcontinental Inc, I asked if Chris Carder, President of ThinData, would share with all EmailKarma readers his experiences and thoughts for the future direction of ThinData and email marketing.

EmailKarma: Why did you choose to be acquired, now?
Chris Carder: Over the last 12 years, ThinData’s management team has consistently sought and capitalized on the innovation in marketing services – we’re always looking for the next logical evolution. When we started, we were primarily a web development firm but, we had a vision for something else, something that we could ‘own’. For us, that vision was to become Canada’s leader in email marketing.

In fact, the acquisition accelerated the plans that we had been working towards. Being a member of the Transcontinental family provides us and our clients with access to a breadth of complementary services as well as to international resources. It also opens the door to potential new business opportunities that would have taken longer for us to build on our own. We also see this as an opportunity for clients to work with a truly integrated solution. Now clients have access to expertise in e-marketing and direct mail program all under one roof.

EK: Why was Transcontinental the right firm?
CC: It’s just good business to pick the right partner. When we first considered our requirements for a successful acquisition we developed a list of very specific criteria. The three top items on that list were: shared business values, a commitment to our staff (i.e. all roles at ThinData would be maintained) and an unwavering commitment to our customers. Transcontinental fit all of these criteria. That is, we wanted to work with a firm that truly appreciated the importance that ThinData places on providing our customers with exceptional innovation and service.

I also believe that Transcontinental’s strong fiscal history, their philanthropist activities, their community outreach programs and environmental outlook provide a sense of comfort for all ThinData staff members and clients.

EK: What are you most excited about now and what excites you about the future?
CC: I am most excited about leading ThinData, identifying opportunities for the company’s future growth and expanding my knowledge of direct mail marketing.

I am also excited about the opportunity to be part of an organization with great leaders like Rémi Marcoux (founder of Transcontinental Inc.) – who 30 years ago turned a failing print company into the largest printer in Canada and the sixth-largest in North America.

EK: How will the acquisition effect ThinData clients?
CC: A critical part of our process when evaluating and selecting the right partner involved considering the feelings and plans of our current and future clients. What’s really exciting is that by pairing email with direct mail, we will build greater depth into our services and dramatically expand the number of ways that we can help our customers market more successfully.

EK: What advice would you give to other leaders in the ‘interactive space’ considering a merger or acquisition?
CC: For me, the most important thing was being able to walk through the office the day after the acquisition was complete and look at every member of my team in their eyes and know I put them first.

Now, every leader’s priorities will be different. But, what is identical – and critical to the short- and long-term success of any integration – is the need to identify what those priorities are before proceeding with a merger or acquisition. For ThinData, the priorities are, and always will be:

  1. Sustaining a culture where our staff can be innovate; and
  2. Serving our clients well.

EK: Any closing thoughts?
CC: “Go EmailKarma” – [no joke he actually said that] – In all seriousness people need to find things that excite and invigorate them, I look at this acquisition as a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved. I look forward to building new opportunities and experiences while continuing to have fun.

Author: Matt V - @emailkarma

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