ANA reveals 12-point growth plan for marketers in hopes of spurring industry growth

ANA chief executive Bob Liodice speaking at the organization's Masters of Marketing conference / Credit: Clarion Pictures

Bob Liodice, chief executive of the ANA, opened the organization’s annual Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando with a speech that detailed a 12-point growth plan it has put together to spur growth in the industry.

The plan comes one year after Liodice announced the formation of the ANA Masters Circle, a group of chief marketing officers that the ANA said would tackle issues including “talent supply, privacy, ad fraud, ad blocking, viewability, and transparency.” One year later, the trade body and Masters Circle have outlined 12 issues that they believe chief marketing officers should prioritize moving forward if they want to drive growth.

Liodice painted a bleak picture of the industry during his talk, stating that more than half of Fortune 500 companies in 2016 had declining revenues despite a continued increase in media spending. He also said that "only 25% of every digital dollar reaches the consumer" due to the complex digital media supply chain.

According to Liodice, problems like brand safety, transparency, fraud and ad blocking have left the industry “unproductive, unsustainable, undesirable and untenable.” He’s hoping that ANA’s newly-minted action plan will help alleviate some of these problems.

The 12 issues are as follows: brand and creative excellence; talent; marketing organization management; measurement, data/analytics and accountability; brand purpose; gender equality; inclusiveness, diversity and multicultural marketing; streamlining the digital media supply chain; transparency; brand safety and ad fraud; advocacy and self-regulation; and the future of advertising, marketing and growth.

To address some of these issues, the ANA has put together a number of “playbooks” and “recommended action steps” that it said chief marketing officers can use to help grow their respective brands. For example, the ANA said it will be launching the ‘Alliance for Purposeful Brands’ in 2018 to address the ever-growing importance of brand purpose and “engage CMO’s to create well understood purposeful pathways.”

The organization is also implementing a nationwide internship program next year to help bridge the gap between the industry and academia, an initiative that comes on the heels of recent research conducted by the ANA Educational Foundation that found that both marketers and the agencies they work with are facing a “unprecedented talent challenge” that’s largely being driven by “a lack of common vision, vocabulary, and perceived relevance among marketers, young professionals, and the schools that are expected to educate them.”

To promote gender equality, the ANA is encouraging chief marketing officers to get involved with its #SeeHer initiative. Launched last year and spearheaded by the ANA’s Alliance for Family Entertainment, the mission of #SeeHer is to accurately portray all girls and women in media by 2020. On the diversity front, the ANA said its Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing, which was also launched last year, is working to reboot inclusiveness and promote diversity.

“CMO’s can no longer let others do the heavy lifting,” Liodice told the conference’s 2,600 attendees. “It is time for chief marketing officers to seize ownership of the industry’s growth agenda and point us all in the right direction.”

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