The MARCO Group registered post-COVID revenue growth of 64%. The consulting firm was one of the first to recover from the pandemic, with year-on-year growth of 49% in 2021. Thanks to its commitment to diversification and its strong performance during the crisis period, MARCO had further growth of 15% in 2022. Also during 2022, the agency made a significant investment in the opening of offices in London, Berlin and Munich, as well as in the launch of MARCO Advertising, with the incorporation of Xabier Olazabal, ex CEO of Publicis Group Spain, and a creative team led by Carlos Bustamante. It also strengthened its video and film production offering with the acquisition of Carmela. Even so, the agency achieved an EBITDA of 1.3 million euros for the past fiscal year 2022. MARCO expects to close the current fiscal year 2023 with another 15 20% increase in revenue, with a view to ending the year with its planned IPO on Euronext Paris. This will allow MARCO to continue its acquisition and international expansion plan, with the goal of reaching global revenues of 100 million euros in the next five years.
The MARCO Group comprises the MARCO agency (formerly known as Marco de Comunicación), the digital agency Influencia, the business media Ejecutivos, the production company Carmela, Africa Communications Group, MARCO Inc. in the USA and MDC Marketing et Communication in Morocco.
The MARCO group’s roadmap in this plan, initiated in the post-COVID period, aims at exponential growth until 2028, through acquisitions (M&A), as well as organic growth. Following its IPO, planned for end of 2023 if the circumstances and stock market climate are optimal, the consulting firm’s objective will be to progressively acquire agencies operating in a single market, starting with Germany and France during 2024-2025, the UK in 2025-2026 and the USA in 2027-2028. MARCO will focus on acquiring local agencies, with the objective of multiplying revenues from new clients and expanding the services offered by these local agencies while offering them the opportunity to operate in a multi-market model.
Within MARCO’s revenue mix, just over 69% comes from its activity in Europe, where MARCO has seven offices of its own, and the other 31% from its activity in the rest of the markets. Europe is followed by Africa, with offices in Morocco, South Africa, Kenya and Ivory Coast, with 6% of revenues. In third place is LATAM, with offices in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, with 5% of total revenues. On the other hand, 20% of MARCO’s business comes from global services that are not specific to a particular country but refer to the multi-market activity carried out for clients such as The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), The European Environment Agency (EEA), The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), The European Investment Bank (EIB), DG EAC, Iberdrola or Applus+, among others.
If we focus on the services offered, the divisions that grew the most are Creativity, Digital and Audiovisual. Media Relation activities and consulting services account for nearly half of the agency’s revenues, followed by Digital, which represents 18%, and Events, which now represents 16%. MARCO has also increased the activity developed through its internal communications department, providing services for IBEX 35 clients, such as Iberdrola or Applus+, as well as some of the main companies in the industrial sector.
The Digital division has doubled its activity, specialising its service offering through the incorporation of key profiles in its Paid Media, Social Media and Influencer Marketing teams. Moreover, in line with MARCO’s philosophy, where there are no geographical borders, but rather language barriers, the team works for clients in different markets and languages. For example, MARCO manages social media for the Canva unicorn in 6 different languages and markets: Spanish (Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Spain), French (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, French-speaking Africa), Turkish (Turkey), Italian (Italy), Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal) and German (Germany).
The Events department is one of MARCO’s main business units, thanks to its specialisation in large, on-site and hybrid events for internal and external clients. During the past year, the work carried out for the different Prime Video premieres, junkets and screenings stood out, as well as the work done for clients such as Danone, for which MARCO designed and produced the large stand that the brand had during the Alimentaria fair in 2022.
Another internal department that has significantly increased its turnover, reaching 6% of revenues, has been the Audiovisual department, thanks to the different advertising campaigns and actions, as well as the production of corporate content for ongoing clients and external projects. In this sense, the acquisition of the production company Carmela during the last year allows MARCO to reinforce its capabilities in audiovisual storytelling, especially for advertising campaigns and Branded Content.
Likewise, the specialisation of services and geographies within the new structure of MARCO seeks to absorb the expected growth of the consulting firm, therefore, several key figures were appointed and promoted within the organisation, in addition to hiring a significant number of new professionals. One of the profiles promoted was Paul Baeyaert, who will occupy the position of Head of EMEA, in addition to joining MARCO’s board. During 2022, MARCO also expanded its presence in Europe with the opening of new offices in London, as well as in Berlin and Munich, with the aim of boosting its reach in the German market. The new German branch of the consultancy already accounts for 2% of MARCO’s revenues in the first year of business.
In addition, in 2022, MARCO presented its foundation, the KENZ Foundation, which is intrinsically linked to the consulting firm’s raison d’être: to build a better understanding of the world. The aim of the Foundation is to promote the circulation of young talent between continents by offering scholarships and internships, thereby contributing to the elimination of prejudice. In this sense, the KENZ Foundation emerges as a global educational catalyst that will start its activity in the African and European continents.