100% growth target for new owners of Bath specialist agency following management buy-out

Bath-based customer relationship marketing agency Armadillo CRM, which works with brands such as McDonald’s, hotels.com and Disney, is looking to double in size following a management buy-out (MBO).

The firm, which celebrated 25th anniversary last year, has been acquired by chief executive officer James Ray, executive chairman Chris Thurling and chief financial officer Andy Brown, who have all taken a stake in the business.

They now plan to strengthen its 30-employee team across the board, including investment in data and digital capabilities, to target growth of 100% over the next five years. 

From its base in Alfred Street, Armadillo CRM advises on and implements CRM strategies online and offline for a global client base across a wide range of sectors, including McDonald’s, Disney, hotels.com and BaByliss.

The MBO moves ownership of the business from its founders, who stepped down as directors late last year.

The agency was an early pioneer early pioneer of CRM, introducing strategies to major brands over the past two decades.

James Ray joined the business in 1996 as an account manager. Chris Thurling, the former owner of Bristol-based 3Sixty – one of the region’s first web design and digital marketing agencies – and current chair of Bristol Media, arrived in 2012 followed by Andy Brown in 2015.

James said: “This is an exciting step for Armadillo CRM, which will allow us to fulfil our tremendous potential. As experienced CRM specialists, we’re trusted by some of the world’s most successful brands, helping them exploit, protect and expand the value of their customer relationships.

“We now have the tools and expertise in place to scale up, whilst maintaining our essence as an agile, intuitive agency partner.” 

Chris Thurling added: “I’m incredibly proud to add my name to Armadillo CRM. Under our new management structure we plan to grow, strengthen the team in key positions and deepen our expertise and capabilities in CRM, adding real value to our client base.

Last October Armadillo won the best email campaign for its work on McDonald’s Win Win campaign at the renowned Wirehive 100 Awards, which recognise outstanding creative and technical talent.

The campaign achieved click-to-open rates of 56% – the highest ever for the brand – while its targeting and incentivisation strategy drove a 14% uplift in participation. The campaign was hailed by the award judges as a “brilliant campaign, with great use of data, personalisation and anticipation building”.

Pictured, from left: James Ray, Andy Brown and Chris Thurling

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