NEW YORK: WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell revealed his company's growth strategy for the next five years on LinkedIn on Tuesday, two weeks after rivals Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe announced their plans to merge.
The combined Publicis Omnicom Group, which must obtain regulatory approval in dozens of countries and pass shareholder votes, would surpass Sorrell's WPP as the largest marketing umbrella firm in the world.
Sorrell wrote the piece for LinkedIn's Influencer program, which he said is one way his holding company is deepening its relationships with digital platforms. He added that the program is also a “further example of a digital player moving from platform to media owner and content creator and provider,” which underlines the importance of social media to businesses and consumers.
WPP's growth strategy is focused on new markets, new media, data investment management (previously known as consumer insights), and “horizontality,” or better aligning the company's 165,000 staffers in 110 countries for clients.
Sorrell said that WPP leads the industry with about 33% of its revenue in fast-growth, or BRIC, markets, as well as in digital. (The BRIC region consists of Brazil, Russia, India, and China). About 25% of the company's revenue comes from data-investment management and the application of technology, he added.
When it comes to horizontality, Sorrell referred to WPP's client teams, such as the Ford-focused Team Detroit network, and country managers who handle efforts on a national level as examples of “horizontality in action.”
“Now we will accelerate the implementation of our strategy by raising our targets from 35% to 40% for both fast-growth markets and new media to at least 40% to 45% each over the next five years,” he explained.
WPP plans on adding 35 client leaders and more than a dozen country managers to expand its horizontality efforts, said Sorrell.
Last week, WPP's OgilvyOne, the customer-engagement division of Ogilvy & Mather, acquired a majority stake in Asian demand-generation and marketing-automation services firm Verticurl. XM Asia, a division of WPP's JWT, also agreed to acquire a majority stake in Hong Kong digital consultancy Designercity. On Monday, WPP agreed to acquire additional shares of Kenya-based marketing services firm Scangroup Limited, increasing its stake in the group to 50.1%.
Sorrell said that while “others in our industry may take strategic leaps backwards for various odd or inconsistent or contradictory reasons,” WPP will remain even more focused on its strategies and implementation.