Also ranked among largest U.S. healthcare agencies
Freeman, the leading global partner for integrated marketing solutions for live engagements, announced its designation for the second year in a row as the largest global event marketing company in Advertising Age’s ranking of the “World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies.” This annual ranking and analysis of advertising and marketing services agencies includes companies in all marketing categories.
“Experiential marketing and live engagements are commanding a more significant piece of the marketing mix than ever before,” said Bob Priest-Heck, president and chief operating officer of Freeman. “The category continues to grow which reflects our clients’ continued belief that face-to-face interactions deliver business results. Today’s currency is in the experience, and we are very pleased to again be recognized as a leading agency helping to fuel meaningful connections for our global clients.”
Researchers at Ad Age noted that overall U.S. promotion-agency revenue, including events and experiential, rose 5.8 percent over the prior year, an increase greater than media (1 percent), advertising (4.4 percent) and public relations (5.3 percent).
Freeman’s expertise in healthcare was also acknowledged, with Freeman ranked among the largest U.S. healthcare agencies, at number 33 overall and securing the number one position among live-engagement companies. This ranking is bolstered by the work Freeman executes through its brand experience agency, FreemanXP. In the past year alone, the agency has expanded its global footprint while growing its strategic, creative, digital, and account teams to support the growth of its healthcare practice.
“We are delighted to have earned this distinction in the healthcare sector, which we have achieved through our work helping clients navigate the complex and changing environment of healthcare marketing,” said Chris Cavanaugh, chief marketing officer of Freeman. “Freeman’s visibility into hundreds of healthcare events annually enables us to provide the unique insights and access that healthcare brands need to optimize their marketing portfolio to drive awareness and sales.”
What Ad Age’s Annual Rankings Mean For Experience Marketers
Hint: Big Growth in Events, Digital and Industry Marketing
Bradley Johnson’s annual industry benchmark, the Ad Age ranking of top global agencies is out and, as always, the report provides both an illuminating review and a look forward for marketers of all disciplines. The study unveils some of the dramatic changes in the agency landscape, driven by brands’ need to rightsize the marketing mix, and shows a continued evolution from traditional media into more integrated models.
A deeper dive into the data shows great news for marketers of all categories, with overall agency revenue from all marketing disciplines growing significantly last year compared to the prior year. U.S. agency revenue increased 5.4%, achieving an incredible record of $43.6 billion in sales in 2014!*
In addition to the overall growth of marketing agency revenue, a few significant trends stand out for experiential marketers:
Experiential Growth Outperforms (Almost All) Other Marketing Channels
Researchers at Ad Age noted that overall U.S. promotion-agency revenue, including events and experiential, rose 5.8% over the prior year—an increase greater than media (1%), advertising (4.4%), and PR (5.3%). The data shows experiential marketing and live engagements are commanding a more significant piece of the marketing mix, affirming that marketers are optimizing the face-to-face channel to drive brand experience, increase lead generation, and generate the all-important data points marketers crave. The rise of younger generations and the predisposition of both Millennials and Gen Zers to seek out experiences may continue to keep marketers’ focused on brand experience as the center point of integrated marketing.
Digital, Digital, Digital.
As Ad Age noted, “It’s a good time to be in the agency game—at least if you’re connected to digital.” Marketing continues to go high tech with digital growing 9.8% and capturing an incredible 40% of 2014 total U.S. agency revenue. And why shouldn’t marketers flock to digital? Digital is always on and highly measurable. Experience marketers should be leveraging an event’s digital power to the fullest, from marketing campaigns including mobile-friendly emails, event websites, and registration to content amplification strategies like streaming video, always-on content hubs, and social media extensions, as well as optimized engagement platforms like second screens and iBeacons. All of these, plus emerging new devices like the Apple Watch, will provide an incredible array of behavior tracking and data points to enable live events to go toe-to-toe with straight digital in the measurement department.
The Healthiest Industry is…
Healthcare marketing is roaring. It is the fastest-growing segment of all agency revenue, increasing 10.3% year-over-year. Driving factors include shifts in patient needs, an aging population, the Affordable Care Act, a robust pipeline, and advancements in technology. We’ve seen these changes in the event space through increased investment in the channel, plus the growth of consumer-focused fit tech, which impacted many events this year including SXSW, Mobile World Congress, and CES.
And One Downside
It can’t be all good news, right? All this growth means employment is reaching an all-time high. There is now more demand than ever for creative talent across all disciplines, which means the talent war may be just beginning.