<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='24764'>Un advertising in the studies marketing

The 5th Printemps des Etudes was held on 14 and 15 April, with the opening keynote speaker, Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman of WPPthe world's leading advertising group.
What many people don't know is what these 3 letters stand for: WPP. They are not the initials of the group's founders - otherwise they would be... SMS, which would appeal to young people! No, WPP stands for Wires & Plastic Products. Just an empty shell that the former financial director of Saatchi & Saatchi bought out in 1985, and into which he placed various acquisitions in the field of below the line before launching, and winning, a hostile takeover bid for J. Walter Thompson. Two years later, he did it again, attacking Ogilvy and Mather.
In other words, Sir Martin Sorrell is both a financier and an advertiser; or rather, a brilliant advertising financier.
Ogilvy and Mather had Research International; in France, the former Seced, the research subsidiary of the giant Unilever. And that's how Sir Martin got his foot in the research door, thinking there must be some business to be done there. In 1989, he jumped at the chance to buy Millward Brown, whose founders were preparing to retire.
Sorrell brought together Research International and Millward Brown to form a sub-holding company, giving birth to Kantar, which now accounts for ¼ of WPP's business. Since 1993, its owner has made a number of acquisitions, including TNS, which GFK had been eyeing.
Today Sir Martin Sorrell is stressing that 25% of its revenue comes from marketing research... well, more like data; another 25% from media agencies and the rest from advertising: its original business model now accounts for only half.
To say that Sorrell had a clear vision of what his group would become when it acquired Research International would certainly be an exaggeration: to repeat, he was a brilliant advertising financier.
On the other hand, what is undeniable is that he has managed to build his group in a direction where data, in all its forms, represents ¼ of his business, which is gigantic.
Two major lessons can be drawn from this:
- On the one hand, the stakes linked to data are and will be increasingly considerable in the years to come: in fact, it seems that if advertising communication dominated the world in the 20th century, in the 21st, the real power is in the hands of those who hold the data;
- Marketing research is only one part - but a fundamental part - of data: the sources of information are multiform, which is why WPP brings together companies as different as Kantar Média, Added Value and Millward Brown.

Martin Sorrell's mere presence at the Printemps des études was a sign in itself: it is in the world of data (marketing intelligence, market research, whatever the name or scope) that the challenges of the coming decades will be played out; and the founder of WPP is ready to pull out his chequebook to round off his empire.
And, above all, that this profession must be capable of continually reinventing itself, because the sources of information are constantly evolving, with a single objective: to stay as close as possible to the consumer.


François Laurent - MarketingIsDead blogger

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