Parker: Marketing firm Evans Hunt adapts and grows in a digital world

Calgary-based marketing firm Evans Hunt adapts to digital world to serve growing list of international clients

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Dan Evans and Bill Hunt both left Critical Mass around the same time to pursue their own consultancy companies. They met again on a joint project and decided they worked well together and should combine their expertise in a joint business venture.

That was 15 years ago, but despite originally thinking of aspiring to run a small boutique marketing firm with perhaps a dozen staff, today Evans Hunt Group has a full-time staff count of 120. Growing primarily organically, the Calgary-based company delivers fully integrated marketing solutions for top local, national and international organizations — and those who want to get there, says Evans.

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Trying to help clients get their heads around the constant changes in digital marketing has meant Evans Hunt has also rearranged the way it conducts its own business. As the company grew, it took additional space over four floors in the Cooper Block on 10th Avenue S.W. to fit in more people. Even pre-COVID, staff were offered flexible hours to work at home or in the downtown office. Currently, Hunt says 90 per cent of the staff are fully home-based, providing a huge upside in that it is able to recruit top talent from a wider pool outside of Calgary — 25 per cent of employees are not residents here.

That meant a need for less physical space and the office recently relocated a couple of blocks east to 333 11th Ave. S.W., cutting its 20,000 square feet in half. Work space is a personal preference, and if more employees want to spend time in the office there are 40 “hot” desks available, and today they have the benefit of all being located on one floor.

Chats around the water cooler can be beneficial but Evans says the culture has to be most responsive to client preferences. Some clients favour meeting members of their Evans Hunt team face-to-face, but since a good number of them are not based in this city, communicating using the likes of Teams meetings are the norm, along with any necessary personal visits.

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One-third of the clients depending on Evans Hunt are in the U.S. Many are in the Silicon Valley area who trust the Calgary firm to supply expertise in areas such as product development, user experience design and research for digital products, as well as developing web services, ecommerce and social media.

Evans says a growing amount of the business has evolved around the travel and tourism industry.

A good example of its international tourism clientele is Alterra Mountain Co., the huge Denver-based owner of destinations and brands around the world, perhaps best known for its 12 heli-ski lodges. Evans Hunt provides all of its digital marketing needs. Another is Boyne Resorts, headquartered in Michigan, that owns a collection of mountain and lakeside resorts, ski areas and attraction companies spanning from B.C. to Maine, including Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver and Big Sky Resort in Montana.

That industry is also well represented here with major clients, such as supplying Travel Alberta with its digital needs, Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, Alt Hotels and Lynx Airlines. The company is also proud to be working with Pursuit, the Banff-based collection of inspiring attractions and hospitality experiences that continue to grow throughout Banff, Jasper, Glacier Park, Montana, Alaska and Iceland.

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Calgary Economic Development, DIRTT, ATB and Rogers — following many years serving Shaw — are other local clients Evans Hunt is proud to serve.

Managing partners Evans and Hunt lead a highly professional team working with an expanding international client portfolio, with a commitment to pushing the boundaries of digital innovation.

Notes:

As owner and president of Boom Group, Laureen Regan has lots on her plate. But she also spends a huge amount of time serving as the honorary vice-consul of trade and investment for Ireland, and as president of the Ireland Alberta Trade Association. Both volunteer positions are a source of immense pride for Regan, and to further support and enhance her contributions she has studied for and earned a FITT diploma to gain deeper insights into the intricacies of international trade.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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