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The Advertising & Marketing Services Industry: Distance and science demand different skills

What we Think

WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell reports

Perhaps unexpectedly, 2007 was a strong year. This is especially gratifying given there were no 'maxi-quadrennial' or 'mini-quadrennial' events to boost client spending, as there were in 2006 and there will be in 2008. Moreover, 2007 followed a stronger-than-predicted 2005 and 2006, all of which maintained the strong recovery from the internet bust of 2000 and 2001.

In theory, 2005 should have been the weakest of the four-year cycle, 2005 to 2008, with no big events to boost advertising and marketing services spending. Following on, 2006 and 2007 were WPP's best years ever – measured by all metrics. The latter achieved record billings, revenues, gross margin and operating margins of 15%.

2008 has already shown more improvement despite the weakness of financial markets, with continued growth expected in Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe overcoming slower growth in the US, Western Continental Europe and the UK.

The rapid changes in technology continue to be an opportunity, but if we fail to respond quickly, they will become a threat.

And 2008, a 'maxi-quadrennial' year, will be dominated by the US presidential elections (a continuing scrap down to the convention for the Democratic nomination), the Beijing Olympics and the European Football Championships in Austria and Switzerland.