MWW Group: Agency Business Report 2008

MWW had one of its best years ever in 2007, maintaining a high staff retention rate and gaining business across the globe.

Outlook
MWW had one of its best years ever in 2007, maintaining a high staff retention rate and gaining business across the globe.

"We're primarily a domestic agency, but we will have significant global expansion in 2008," says president and CEO Michael Kempner. "We've already enhanced our capabilities in Europe and the Middle East, and we expect to have a fairly robust Asian offering this year."

Kempner called it an "explosive year" for the consumer lifestyle marketing practice and said Upshot, the proprietary tools and methodologies offered in its new research and measurement practice, was "a key differentiator for winning business and helping clients establish true ROI."

Aside from its social responsibility practice, the firm also participated in a number of CSR initiatives and internally went green, becoming carbon neutral in 2007.

The firm is "bullish" on 2008, having started it with a strong first quarter.

Staff

MWW added 50 people in 2007 for a total headcount of 300. Among the senior hires were Ame Wadler, EVP, CMO; Tim Yehl, SVP, then promoted to MD; Marilyn Berry Thompson, EVP; Marina Hoffman, SVP; Sharon Barclay, SVP, GM; and Coby King, SVP, GM. Cheryll Forsatz, Stephen Altobelli, and Kevin Frechette were all promoted to SVP; William Murray was named EVP; and Lauren Selikoff was appointed to CMO.

Senior departures were Don McIver (COO), David Herbst (SVP and GM), and William Morley (SVP and co-director). MWW reports 86% staff retention.

Regional performance
The firm saw significant account wins in its New York and East Rutherford, NJ, offices. It also opened an office in Detroit.

Practice areas
Nine areas: consumer marketing; corporate communications, social responsibility, and corporate branding; digital media strategy (Dialogue Media); financial communications and IR; healthcare; public affairs and government relations; research and measurement; branding and creative services (Studio MWW); and technology. The firm formalized its research and measurement and Studio MWW practice areas this past year. Consumer lifestyle marketing grew 30%, Dialogue Media grew 50%, and the healthcare practice grew 10%.

Accounts

MWW reported 85 client wins in 2007, including Medco Health Solutions, ING Direct, Under Armour, Anheuser-Busch, and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, an account that spans multiple countries. The firm cut ties with Bally Total Fitness, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Seventy percent of MWW clients are on retainer, a drop from 75% in 2006.

Financial performance
Global revenue hit $48,294,000 in 2007, up 13% from the previous year, with a profit margin of 20%. Top-line growth was 13% and bottom-line, 20%. MWW says new business made up more than 60% of growth, while the remainder was organic.

Key facts
Principal: Michael Kempner, president and CEO

Ownership:
Interpublic Group, as part of CMG

Subsidiary companies:
Financial Relations Board

Offices:
11 in the US; one in London

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