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Understand the growth drivers- the Initiative for Real Growth

Mathieu Morgensztern

Country Manager, WPP France

CEO, GroupM France


Understand the growth drivers: the Initiative for Real Growth

The main lever for growth? Up until five years ago, if you asked any manager about this, the answer would have been globalization, or even the standardization of processes. Today, as the formulas of the past run out of steam, the answer is: marketing.

Today, growth is more difficult, more complicated, and more complex to achieve. The traditional idea of value extraction process is coming to an end. Therefore it is now necessary to create value, rethink strategies, structures and leadership for sustainable growth. Companies must integrate the international context of “slowbalisation” (the slowing of globalization). To succeed in future, they must also provide transparent answers on environmental and societal impacts.

We need a new growth architecture to better understand markets in this post-growth landscape. We need to renew the demand generation strategies and the supply strategy that will create the conditions for the next wave of growth. WPP, the world’s leading marketing group, is helping support its customers in this endeavor.  

A study by the new Initiative for Real Growth (IRG) WPP platform, launched in 2019, is the most comprehensive so far in exploring the drivers of this new sustainable growth worldwide. It provides a framework for companies to evolve their model, to conquer new markets, to build a future for themselves and to guarantee the keys to success. This study provides tangible and quantified information and strategic directives that must be implemented to build sustainable growth.

In addition to hundreds of interviews with executives conducted worldwide, France has been particularly active on this groundbreaking project, with more than 30 face-to-face interviews and more than 350 responses to the online survey. France shares with other countries in the study of common challenges. And the French portion of this research is extremely rich in lessons.

1. Holistic integration of data and talent: French growth champions have understood the importance of better mastering their data and analytics, because it is a fundamental means to achieve more advanced knowledge and expertise, to serve strategic decision-making and business—just like the integration of skills, which is still difficult at a time when they are interacting more and more. Yesterday, there was the rivalry between marketing and commerce; today, it’s between IT and business. To be successful in future, companies need to break down organizational silos and create ecosystems that are catalysts for collective intelligence. This is a first imperative common to all.

Taking up this dynamic is both a guarantee of employee loyalty and an important lever of attractiveness for the different talents needed at the time. It seems that it is imperative to open up to multitaskers capable of integrating data and creativity because, by recruiting too many people who look like us, we miss opportunities and sources of growth.

2. Constant analysis of change: The French results also shed light on very specific levers for succeeding in this landscape; for example, the need to understand changes in the markets in which companies operate, or to be regularly informed about trends and new consumer needs.

The level of consumer demand, linked to digital technology, also contributes to a feeling of acceleration in the marketing of new products or services for all industries. And this leads a high level of concern about how to collaborate with external partners, who—thanks to specific know-how or technologies—can save valuable time or open up new markets.

3. Responsible, inclusive leadership and long-term vision: French champions are working on a new philosophy of growth, more responsible, more inclusive and diversified both in terms of talent and the means used to achieve it.

Emphasis must be placed first and foremost on people (attractiveness, mobilization, loyalty), without forgetting to ensure profitability and long-term vision. But again, the focus should be on thinking of innovation as a real breakthrough opportunity. It should be provided with resources and time, and considered not as a marginal project, but as central to strategy.

This new architecture for sustainable growth requires the reconciliation of antagonisms in our management of temporality (between short and long term). The quest for meaning and responsibility must no longer be dissociated from business.