Racepoint Global: Agency Business Report 2014

Last year, Racepoint officially integrated with its sister agency Digital Influence Group.

Global chairman and US CEO Larry Weber
Global chairman and US CEO Larry Weber

Principal: Larry Weber, global chairman and US CEO; Peter Prodromou, president
Global: 7 wholly owned, US: 3
Global: $23,915,652; US: $17,370,983
Global: 162; US 104

In July of last year, Racepoint officially integrated with its sister agency Digital Influence Group, combining the former’s earned media expertise with the latter’s technology and content creation capabilities. It was a move initiated by W2 Group, a network of marketing services companies founded by Racepoint’s global chairman and US CEO Larry Weber in 2004.

"We saw that the two agencies were sharing more clients, and that more RFPs were asking for our PR capabilities, as well as a deep digital and creative offering," explains Weber, who had previously built tech PR agency The Weber Group as well as agency giant Weber Shandwick within holding company Interpublic Group. "We realized marketing departments were finally merging disciplines and put the agencies together."

Although Racepoint recorded growth in all markets and increased its profit margins, the US offices (Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC) performed below expectations.

"It took about three or four months to straighten out the positioning and go to market," Weber explains. "The US market didn’t grow as much as I wanted, but now we have a company that is getting stronger every quarter." In fact, fueled by the US, Weber says 2014 revenues are on track to hit $34 million.

Globally, Racepoint’s offices in Asia (Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong) generated better-than-expected organic growth, thanks to clients expanding into the region, and lower-than-anticipated revenue churn. Its London office, from which it does European work for clients headquartered overseas as well as in the US, also saw good growth.

Racepoint’s client list includes Silicon Valley organizations such as ARM Holdings, healthcare/medical (Thermo Fisher Scientific), and e-businesses (eBay and 7digital are clients in Europe). Racepoint’s public affairs work in Washington, DC is on track for a 10% boost in revenues this year.

"When I was building Weber Shandwick more than 15 years ago and bought many Washington offices, I thought the digitization of advocacy was at hand. But it has taken clients this long to understand they don’t need $500 per hour lobbyists and can use powerful tools in social media," says Weber.

Racepoint has also a tripled its business from semiconductor companies. New clients include Fairchild Semiconductor, for which the firm is doing work across multiple countries. Racepoint is now eyeing a Munich office to take advantage of semiconductor business opportunities.

The firm is also contemplating opening offices in Tokyo and Seoul.

"We are being asked by our technology and medical clients to consider that because they haven’t been happy with next-generation earned media in those markets," adds Weber.

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