Makovsky: Agency Business Report 2015

Makovsky's revenue increased just 1.8% in 2014 compared with 9.6% in the year prior. Revenue growth, which was 100% due to new business wins, came in 3% below the forecasted target.

Ken Makovksy
Ken Makovksy

Principal: Ken Makovsky, president and CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York and Washington, DC
Revenue: $14,500,000
Headcount: 60

Makovsky’s revenue increased just 1.8% in 2014 compared with 9.6% in the year prior. Revenue growth, which was 100% due to new business wins, came in 3% below the forecasted target.

"We found the 2014 economy to be tepid – not as robust as many predicted it would be," the firm’s president and CEO Ken Makovsky says.

The agency’s health practice was responsible for 50% of billings; its tech practice grew by 19%.  At Makovsky’s Washington, DC, office, which is wholly focused on energy, revenue also climbed 19%.

The energy practice is building revenue through "excellent" service to its existing client base; while the technology practice’s revenue increase is due to clients won toward the end of 2013 that had a full year of service in 2014, according to Makovsky.

Meanwhile, the firm’s financial and professional services group was flat. However, he notes that the group won $1.4 million in new business in the first two months of 2015, including Federated Investors and Thornburg Investment Management.        

Makovsky started moving into the consumer space in 2014 with the launch of consumer-marketing subsidiary Skylabs. With Matt Makovsky tapped as its CEO and founder, Skylabs brings together brand, product, and business solutions.

Social network Keek selected Makovsky last year to help it with corporate communications and IR. In addition, the firm won business with Corporate Resource Services, financial services firm Sterne Agee, Venable, and Novartis, among others.

Management consulting firm AT Kearney also chose Makovsky in early 2015 to boost its global, regional, and practice-focused marketing. Eighty percent of clients are on a retainer.

The firm lost accounts with Taboola and Kroll Bond Rating, which both went in-house; Life Technologies, due to budget issues; and DeVanx.

CFO Ken Boos departed last year, with Mike Kaczmarski replacing him as EVP and CFO. Other significant hires include Alexandra Peterson as group VP and head of business development and Valerie Pritchard as digital and social strategist. EVPs Kristen Sharkey and Kristie Kuhl departed, as did VPs of digital branding Reginald Christian and Daniel Scholz.

Expanding the digital practice
Makovsky plans to expand the firm’s digital practice by hiring a chief digital officer this year with the aim of fully leveraging client offerings in mobile, advanced social and analytic work, and websites.

"We’ve embedded and developed our digital knowledge within our practices, but it’s key to unify the offering," Makovsky says.

As the firm embarks on its 35th year in business, the agency is in the midst of completing a new three-year strategic plan for 2016 to 2018.

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