The Serviceplan Group closed its business year 2015/2016 with an increase in turnover of 12 percent, achieving a sales volume of EUR 340 million. With this, Europe's largest independent communications agency is, also in this year, above the industry average. Internationally, the group continues to grow exceptionally: with growth of more than 30 percent, Serviceplan International is this year's most important driver.
Munich, July 25th 2016 — In 2016, the Serviceplan Group, Europe's largest owner-managed communications agency, looks back on another twelve successful months. For its 45th business year, 2015/2016, which ran from July 1st, 2015 to June 30th, 2016, its preliminary results, presented today, are almost twice as successful as the majority of the German advertising and communications agencies. They had also seen the future optimistically as this years' GWA Spring Monitor predicted sales increases of 6.5 percent. The Serviceplan Group's balance sheet shows an increase of 12 percent. The Group generated a gross income (in fees and commissions) of EUR 340 million (2014/2015: EUR 304 million). Also the number of staff increased further during the last business year. Currently, the agency employs around 3,100 people nationally and internationally. Thus the number of employees has grown by 300 compared to last year (2014/2015: almost 2,800). The large increase was mainly due to the expansion of international locations. The per capita turnover is just under EUR 111,000 (2014/2015: EUR 110,000). International revenue amounts in the business year to EUR 77 million – representing an increase of 30.5 percent over the previous year; 2014/2015, which stood at EUR 59 million.
Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group: "We have made important steps over the last year to strengthen the Group's growth drivers. I am very happy that since Spring we have been present in the newly strengthened Spanish market and have been able to expand our technological services with new agencies in the Plan.Net Group. Our Consulting Group and, of course, the Creative Board are further mainstays, which are available for our customers internationally."
Most of the agency group's divisions have recorded significant growth rates. The strongest among them in this past business year were in the Plan.Net brand agency group for digital communication. They contributed EUR 89 million, making 26.2 percent of total Group sales (2014/15: EUR 75 million; 24.7%).
The Mediaplus media agency brand contributed 22.6 percent to the total turnover of the Group, and was able to increase its sales by 16.7 percent and increase its turnover to EUR 77 million. (2014/15: EUR 66 million; 24.5%) This includes, for the first time this year, the results of the Facit Group.
Saint Elmo's turnover this year was eleven million euros, thus contributing nearly 3.2 percent to total revenues of the Group.
The Mediaplus Group's billings for business year 2015/2016 broke the 2 billion barrier for the first time, with growth of 8.6 percent over the previous year. In the RECMA Billings 2015, carried out by the independent market research institute, Mediaplus grew by 6 percent, improving its position by one position to 5th place. With MGMP (Magna Global Mediaplus), it achieved 3rd place in the purchasing companies rankings, only 20 million short of achieving 2nd place. WEFRA Mediaplus, which is a joint venture subsidiary of WEFRA Media GmbH and the Mediaplus Group, has achieved in the past business year, according to Nielsen, a billings increase of 217.5 percent over the previous year and stands at 113.5 million.
A slight decline was recorded in the Serviceplan brand. The Serviceplan agencies, which are distinguished by their integrated campaigns and special disciplines sales promotions, dialogue and public relations, contributed with 22.4 percent and EUR 76 million a large share of the total sales of the Group (2014/2015: 26 percent).
Serviceplan Solutions, the holding company founded in 2012, which combines the implementation business, posted a result of nine million euros, making 2.6 percent of total revenue.
To a large extent, the successful growth of the group resulted from the expansion of existing customer business and from over 250 new business and budget gains nationally, and nearly 100 new customers and budget wins internationally. In Germany the following advertising budgets, among others, were won or recovered: German Telekom, Hornbach, Fressnapf, Capri Sonne, Twitter, Covestro, MAN, Hexal and Dainese. The most important new customers at international locations are Uber (China), Bulgari (Italy), Richemont Cartier (France), and Telering (Austria).
In the past year international locations made up nearly 23 percent of sales (2014/2015: 20 percent), a significant and continually growing share of the total turnover.
Serviceplan CCO Alexander Schill established in February 2016 the internationally active "Creative Board": The global creative director of the agency group called on five renowned creatives to focus their supportive work on major international budgets and campaigns from concept to rollout, across disciplines, agencies and, especially, international borders.
Not only the customers and consumers are impressed by the Serviceplan Group's innovative communication, the advertising industry also rewards the work with prestigious awards of national and international significance. In W&V's new efficiency ranking, the Serviceplan Group came in 1st place. In Manager Magazine's creative rankings and in the GWA Effectiveness rankings it reached the 2nd place. In the creative rankings of industry magazine HORIZONT and Red Box, the Serviceplan Group was ranked third. In the current Red Box rankings from July 2016 it also took 1st place.
For the 52nd time the Art Directors Club Germany (ADC) has honoured the best work of the German creative industry. The Serviceplan Group received a total of 22 nails and came in 3rd place. In June 2016, the world's largest annual advertising festival took place in Cannes. Four Serviceplan Group works won a total of six lions: four times gold and two silvers. This puts Serviceplan at 3rd place among the best German agencies.
Alexander Schill, CCO Serviceplan Group, explains: "Not only our current gains in Cannes show that internationalization and technologization are the drivers of Creativity. With our Creative Board and our innovation team, we are ready to meet the growing demands of our customers in future, both nationally and internationally."
Other awards for the Group: In February 2016, Plan.Net, together with Serviceplan, was named the most successful agency in the BVDW digital creative rankings. The Plan.Net Group is thus in the top position again, both in sales and in creative rankings, due to the agency group also taking first place in the BVDW Internet Agency Rankings.
In Healthcare Marketing magazine's creative rankings of healthcare agencies, Serviceplan Health & Life ranked first. The healthcare magazine took into account 24 national and international competitions in which agencies were recognized for their creative achievements with prizes.
The Mediaplus Group maintains its top position at the creative peak. In addition to the taking first place in RECMA rankings, it became the most successful agency in the German media industry's prestigious event, the German Media Awards, by winning gold three times.
The Serviceplan Group has responded to the increasing demand for strategic advice in these times of digitization with the establishment of the Serviceplan Consulting Group. The new, internationally orientated services of Europe's top owner-managed agency group offer management consulting in the fields of brand and communications, digital business consulting and transformation. The leadership of the Group, which started operations in Spring 2016, consists of Thomas Zervos, from Serviceplan, and Alessandro Panella, previously Chief Strategy Officer at Grey Germany.
After 16 years at the helm of Serviceplan Campaign, Stefan Schütte moved on July 1st, 2016 to become Managing Director of Serviceplan Agency Holding in order to control and promote intergroup processes and integration. His previous tasks have been taken on by Florian Strauss, who has been responsible for Sponsorship & Cooperations within the Group since last summer.
There have also been changes at the House of Communication in Hamburg. Experienced partners Diana Degraa, Andreas Fuhlisch and Thomas Wallek joined together with location co-founder Alexander Schill in December 2015 to manage the Serviceplan Group's location in Hamburg. In addition, Daniel Richau enhances the management level of Plan.Net Hamburg. The 44-year-old is responsible as Creative Manager for the agency's creative work and in his new function looks after customers with a digital focus and across agency boundaries at the House of Communication, Hamburg.
Since January 2015, the Elbhof at Hamburg Baumwall provides the common roof for Serviceplan, Plan.Net, Mediaplus and subsidiaries Saint Elmo's and hmmh. After moving into the new House of Communication in Elbhof in 2015, Hamburg also celebrated in 2016, this time with its tenth anniversary. In a large party with about 350 guests, the Serviceplan Group's first location outside of Munich was widely celebrated.
The Mediaplus Group was once again successful in the qualitative rankings of RECMA, the independent French market research institute, in achieving the highest market status "dominant". In addition, Mediaplus was valued at "A" in "Compitches", the evaluation of the pitch successes, gaining the best possible rating. The result was also reinforced by Mediaplus being named the most successful owner-managed media agency in Germany and Best Independent Agency Worldwide for the previous calendar year.
Andrea Malgara, Managing Director of the Mediaplus Group, stated: "We are very pleased that over the last year we have also made important steps on our way to becoming an internationally active media agency. We have already helped many important customers internationalize, and this service is increasingly requested of us. Internationalization, in combination with our innovative tools and processes form the core of our increased value. It enables us to provide individual brand media globally. And for that we will continue to need flexible employees, of whom I am very proud.”
National and international expansion: Esther Busch started on July 15th, 2016 as Managing Director of Mediaplus in Cologne and is responsible for the national and international expansion strategy of Mediaplus Regio. The next locations in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin are being planned. Mediaplus is responding to the continued growing importance of regional media. Media Regio was set up in October 2012, and currently, with around 20 employees, achieves a gross volume of EUR 78 million.
The international expansion can already be illustrated by numerous customers which the Mediaplus Group has developed from one country out to other countries. These include for example: WMF (Germany - now also Austria), Western Union and Bergader (Germany - now also Italy), MediaMarkt, Neckermann Reisen, Hornbach (Germany, now also Switzerland) and Café Royal (Switzerland, now also Benelux).
The Plan.Net Group also continued the expansion of its service portfolio in 2015. Together with the Mediaplus Group it founded a joint venture called Plan.Net Business Intelligence, the heart of which is a self-developed Big Data platform for consolidating and organizing investment and performance data in marketing and sales. In the last business year, Mediaplus and Plan.Net included the competences of the Serviceplan Group in the field Programmatic Advertising in another joint enterprise: PREX Programmatic Exchange handles purchasing, booking, execution and the optimization of all programmatic and automated campaign components within the agency group to make programmatic, automated forms of advertising available not only online, but also to establish it in all other types of media.
Other start-ups in the last business year include Plan.Net Content Marketing. This new agency offers end-to-end solutions in the field of content marketing – from strategy development, the creation of editorial content, to precisely targeted approaches and performance measurement. The agency was formed from a business area and is run by Marcus Ambrus as Managing Director and Jan Woratschek as Business Manager.
Since February 2016, the Plan.Net Group has had a new Creative Director. Markus Maczey has overall responsibility for the creative output of the Plan.Net Group. The 39-year-old has already worked for Plan.Net since 2008, most recently as Executive Creative Director of the Plan.Net Campaign agency.
Headed by Markus Maczey, the Plan.Net Group has developed a free German course for refugees with which they can acquire German beginners language skills via WhatsApp. "WhatsGerman" is aimed at Arabic and English speaking people and already has around 200,000 registered users. With this idea, they also convinced the jurors in Cannes and won Silver and Gold.
A further accession in the Plan.Net Group is Stephan Enders, joined on November 16th, 2015 as the new Head of Mobile. The 42-year-old brings several years of experience in mobile marketing on media side to the agency and in his new function advises customers across the Group in the integration of mobile measures in their communication strategy.
The largest digital agency in Germany takes first place at the Internet Agency Rankings 2016 of the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) with a total turnover of EUR 83.1 million last year and is further the digital agency with the highest turnover in Germany.
Manfred Klaus, Managing Director of the Plan.Net Group: "Technologization and digitization are the questions that drive our customers, and we have to answer with innovative and creative solutions and services. In addition, our goal in the market is to be always one step ahead, to provide our customers relevant communication solutions, integrated from a single source, as well as being able to offer them internationally. Last year, we provided for this with our new units and agencies, and we will continue to do so in future."
In September 2015 hmmh, the agency for Connected Commerce, celebrated in its headquarters in Bremen, its 20th anniversary. As the "multi media house – society for interactive media", the agency was founded in 1995 under the umbrella of Hanke advertising agency, and was able to win, only a short time later, OTTO as an important first client. Together they created otto.de, the first online store in Germany. Since then, of course, a lot has happened. Today, digital transformation processes in retail companies present increasingly complex challenges. In order to continue to expand its capabilities in the design and implementation of customized solutions, hmmh has further strengthened its management level in 2016. Apart from Stefan Messerknecht and Björn Portillo, both Managing Partners of hmmh, the Board of Managing Directors now includes Gerd Güldenast, Marcus Person and Michael Rocker. The aim of the extended management board is to promote the solutions potential of the Plan.Net Group agency and to further facilitate the business success of its customers.
In June 2016 hmmh also examined the situation in the online fashion trade. In the survey "Fulfillment Benchmarking 2016", the agency looked at the fulfillment process of 30 different online stores, including Amazon, Galeria Kaufhof, H&M and Zalando. It examined processing times in ordering, payment, shipping and packaging, service, and returns. The report not only provides an exciting insight into the online fashion market, but also presents "best practice" examples and gives recommendations.
Internationally, the themes Digitization and Digital Transformation are growing in importance. In response, on May 1st, 2016, Tim Schnabel took on the newly created position of Chief Digital Officer at Serviceplan International. His job responsibilities include the systematic expansion of digital services at all Plan.Net branded international locations. Prior to joining, the 38-year-old was Managing Director of Plan.Net Solutions, the specialized agency for websites & online portals of Plan.Net Group in Munich. In August 2015, Tobias Gärtner joined the Serviceplan International team in the newly created position of Director of Operations International. His job responsibilities include the establishment and optimization of international business processes to further drive the growth of the Serviceplan Group.
There was a new start for the Serviceplan Group in February 2016 in Spain. With its participation in the Agency Publips, one of the major independent agency groups in the country, Serviceplan is now present at 31 sites worldwide. Publips operates under Serviceplan and is headquartered in Madrid, with a second site in Valencia. Moreover Publips has, since 2013, built up a regional agency network under the name InRed. In total Publips has 60 employees.
The House of Communication in Dubai has been complete since May 2016: With the acquisition of the local media agency, Espresso, Mediaplus Middle East was launched and is now called Mediaplus Espresso. Germany's largest independent and partner-managed media agency is thus represented in the Middle East region and North Africa. It has further expanded its product portfolio to include marketing experience with the establishment of the Serviceplan Experience agency in Dubai. With this step, the Serviceplan Group underlines its goal of being the first independent agency group from Germany which operates globally.
The cross-industry platform best brands has internationalized further: After China and Italy in 2015, in March 2016 best brands celebrated premiere in Belgium for the first time.
Markus Noder, Managing Director of Serviceplan International, looks back on a successful business year: "Our growth at Serviceplan International continues to be exceptional. Our internationalization is not only a useful step which our customers increasingly demand, but it is also a great personal gain our employees, enabling them to work internationally."
What makes the German premium and luxury fashion market tick? And more importantly, the buyers? The "Luxury Fashion Report 2016" answers these questions. The market research institute of the Serviceplan Group, Facit Media Efficiency, published its results in cooperation with the German brand association. The 125-page study analyzes the special features of the luxury fashion market and its target groups, identifies five different types of buyers, presents their living environment and values, and compares 60 premium and luxury brands in its rankings. Premium brand 'Boss' comes out as the top luxury brand.
Another in-house product of the Serviceplan Group is twelve. It appeared for the second time in early 2016, the magazine of the Serviceplan Group is for customers, employees and friends of the company. Under the motto "Back to the Future: What to learn from 2015 and what counts in 2016", it presented another annual review with the twelve top issues which engaged Europe's largest owner-managed agency group in 2015. Last year, the magazine "twelve" premiered and was awarded the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2015.
The growth of the Serviceplan Group is accompanied by the growth of its employees. So further training within the Serviceplan Group always has a high priority. The training initiative of the Serviceplan Group has taken an important new step in the last business year. Since January 1st, 2016, the Serviceplan Group has a new Traineeship on offer: Together with the Steinbeis School of Management and Innovation (Steinbeis-SMI) a personalized programme is now available for all agency group trainees in Germany for their twelve-month training period. Each year, some 100 trainees take part in Germany; International locations are also already working on similar programmes.
An outstanding project in the field of employee development in the agency sector was launched on July 1st, 2015 in the form of the Creative Campus Munich. The study centre is a joint project of Serviceplan and the Steinbeis SMI. The successful cooperation of the Serviceplan Group with Steinbeis School of Management and Innovation started in 2012 with three different Master programmes: the Advanced Marketing Master, an Online Marketing Master and the Digital Media Master. With seminars, courses, study programmes and open event series with renowned partners such as the Berlin School of Creative Leadership and the Miami Ad School, further courses for managers, marketing specialists and creatives have been implemented since the Autumn of 2015 as well.
Florian Haller looks back on an exciting and successful year and looks forward to the next steps: "For me, the human factor and our more than 3,000 employees stand at the centre. Only through a common continuing vision, that of the first global and independent agency group to come from Germany, can we, and will we continue growing. And I am looking forward, together with them, to the next exciting steps on our international agenda. We will, of course, continue bringing additional ideas, projects and campaigns to bring our industry forward through innovation."
Picture: Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group
Chief Corporate Communications Officer
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