Marina Maher Communications: Agency Business Report 2007

MMC holds fast to its strong identity as a firm focusing on women's health and beauty, and it was one of the five PR firms Procter & Gamble narrowed its roster to, boding well for the agency.

MMC holds fast to its strong identity as a firm focusing on women's health and beauty, and it was one of the five PR firms Procter & Gamble narrowed its roster to, boding well for the agency.

"Our healthcare area has gotten off to a strong start," says Maher. "Our business model has always been to work with a select number of clients on large brands." Organic growth projections are strong - and being met in the first quarter.

Principal: Marina Maher, president and CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: One, in New York

Staff
Current headcount is 65, up from 58 in fiscal year 2005. Turnover was at 25%. Hires include Weber Shandwick's Frank Funaro as healthcare group SVP and DeVries Public Relations' DeLisa Harmon as group SVP in the consumer practice overseeing the agency's cosmetics and home brands. Senior departures include Susan Bang, SVP of beauty care.

Practice areas
Three: Consumer (includes food and beverage, which had previously been a separate practice); healthcare; and a new one, Media Connections. Headed by MD Paula McMartin, the practice focuses on "brand conversations," through traditional media, emerging social media, and special events. The healthcare practice grew well in 2006; the area accounts for 30% of MMC's business, with consumer making up the remaining 70%.

Accounts
Key wins in the healthcare space include GlaxoSmithKline for both prescription and consumer products, including Aquafresh, Oasis, Polident, Poligrip, and Sensodyne; Eisai and PriCara (AcipHex); and Novo Nordisk (insulin portfolio). MMC lost some work through patent expiration, including Flonase and Zoloft.

Financial performance
MMC does not disclose revenues, but says it fits into the under $50 million bracket, the smallest in the range provided by PRWeek. Growth was both top- and bottom-line, though with only 5% of the growth attributable to organic, the firm fell short of its organic-growth target. It did exceed new-business targets, though.

Agency's full questionnaire follows below:

Name of parent division/company (enter both where applicable)
N/A

Name of subsidiary companies
N/A

Has your ownership status changed in the past year? If yes, please explain
N/A

Name of global CEO and US CEO (or most senior equivalent)
Marina Maher, President and CEO

What is your current headcount? How has your headcount changed since FY 2005? 
65
In December, our headcount was 58 full-time staffers.

What was the percentage of staff turnover in 2006?  
25%

Did you make any senior hires in 2006 (VP and higher)? Please state name, title (and unique responsibilities, if applicable), and previous company
Frank Funaro,
Group SVP in our healthcare practice (Weber Shandwick Public Relations)
DeLisa Harmon, Group SVP overseeing the agency's cosmetics and home brands (DeVries Public Relations)

What senior staff have departed the firm? Please state name and previous title
Susan Bang, SVP of Beauty Care

Please list any other senior management changes, including restructures and significant, senior-level promotions
Suzanne Haber, 9-year MMC veteran, was promoted to Group Senior Vice President

Have you made any acquisitions in the past year, or merged with another agency? 
No

How many wholly owned offices do you have globally?
NOTE: MMC is a member of the Worldcom Public Relations Group, the largest consortium of independent PR firms that provides clients with local access in 35 countries.

How many partly owned offices or affiliates do you operate globally? Please list agency names and cities under the following headings.
N/A

What offices opened in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)  
N/A

What offices closed in 2006 or early 2007? (State when) 
N/A

Which regions, US and globally, are growing, and why? 
N/A

Which regions, US and globally, are shrinking, and why? 
N/A

How many practice areas do you have?  Please list.
Three practice areas: Consumer (includes F&B); Healthcare; Media Connections

Which ones are new?
Media Connections.  It's a fully devoted team headed by Managing Director Paula McMartin (who joined MMC four years ago).

Of those, which ones are part of the core strategy of the agency?
All practices are integral to our core strategy of building brand relationships for our clients by establishing an emotional connection between brands and their key audiences.

Which practice areas have been phased out in the past year?
Food & Beverage was merged with the Consumer Practice.

What practice areas showed the most growth? Please elucidate.
2006 was a year of accelerated growth for our Healthcare Practice with the addition of five clients.  We added GlaxoSmithKline for Rx (fluticasone furoate) and GlaxoSmithKline for consumer healthcare (Aquafresh, Oasis, Polident, Poligrip, Sensodyne); Eisai and PriCara (AcipHex); Q-Med (Deflux); Millennium (VELCADE), and Novo Nordisk (insulin portfolio).

Which practice areas showed the least growth? Please elucidate.
F&B, because MMC was establishing it as its own entity.

What is the distribution of accounts across practice areas?
Consumer - 70%
Healthcare - 30%
Media Connections - Included in percentages above

What key account wins did you have in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
Key wins: GlaxoSmithKline for Rx (fluticasone furoate) and GlaxoSmithKline for consumer healthcare (Aquafresh, Oasis, Polident, Poligrip, Sensodyne); Eisai and PriCara (AcipHex); Q-Med (Deflux); Millennium (VELCADE), and Novo Nordisk (insulin portfolio).
 
Of your 2006 wins, how many were across three or more countries?  
N/A

What key accounts did you lose in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
A number of products MMC supported in the Healthcare group lost promotional support due to patent expiration (Flonase, Zoloft) and decisions not to continue with marketing, including PR (Relpax).

Did you expand any existing accounts into new domestic or international markets or sectors? Please elucidate. 
No.

What proportion of your clients are on a retainer?  Has this changed over the past year?
We don't have clients on retainer.

What was your 2006 global (including US) revenue?
Agency declined to give information.

What was the % change over 2005 global revenue   
Agency declined to give information.

What was your global profit margin in 2006?   
Agency declined to give information.

What was your 2006 US revenue?
Agency declined to give information.

What was the % change over 2005 US revenue
Agency declined to give information.

What was your US profit margin in 2006?
Agency declined to give information.

Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth in the past year, or both? Please elucidate.
We experienced both.

How much of your growth was organic, and how much was due to new business won?
95% in new business and 5% organic.

How did your performance, in terms of revenue and growth, meet expectations you had for the year?
While we more than achieved our new business revenue objectives, we fell short of our organic revenue objectives for the year.  This is primarily due to reduced client budgets, due to patent expirations in the healthcare sector and a delayed launch in the consumer sector.

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