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ANA’s Bob Liodice urges marketing leadership to display 'guts and courage' to drive growth

ANA chief Bob Liodice tells industry to 'wake up'.

The marketing industry today is unproductive, unsustainable, undesirable and untenable, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) chief executive Bob Liodice. He said that it is up to marketing leadership to display “guts and courage” to drive growth across all industry sectors.

Liodice said the Fortune 500, which he called “a reasonable surrogate for the entire business community – including small and large enterprises alike,” has experienced declining after-tax profits for the last three years.

“This is an indictment on our industry,” he said. “It’s also a wake-up call for the leadership in our industry to enact the necessary change to drive better business and brand performance. Even small changes can make a powerful and lasting difference. A 1% change in the underlying growth rate is worth, minimally, $500bn over a three year period for our industry.”

Liodice, speaking at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Florida, said that over the past few years, the ANA has transformed its operations and leadership platforms to energize its members and the marketing community at large to meet the industry’s most difficult challenges. One of the most important initiatives for the organization is the CMO Masters Circle, which is working on unifying the agendas of chief marketing officers and trying to create a powerful leadership force to transform and grow the industry.

“Chief marketing officers are personally seizing responsibility for the industry’s growth and demanding that our entire ecosystem works in unison,” said Liodice.

Launched in 2017, the CMO Masters Circle is guided by a specific, twelve-point growth agenda that includes brand innovation and creative excellence through over 30 ANA committee networks to develop playbooks to optimize brand and creative development to generate growth. Data and technology through Neustar will create the Data Analytics Center to help CMOs elevate analytical capabilities across the mountains of data that challenge them daily.

The ANA is also focused on talent development, marketing organization management, measurement and accountability, brand purpose and sustainability, inclusion and equality through the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing, transparency, streamlining the digital media supply chain, advocacy and self-regulation and the future of advertising, marketing and growth.

Importantly, the ANA is helping to tackle brand safety and ad fraud by announcing the fourth edition of the ANA/White Ops study on ad fraud – which was the first study to indicate that fraud was costing the industry nearly $7bn annually – which will be released in early 2019. Additional ANA anti-ad fraud efforts are initiated through the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).

Liodice said that the CMO Masters Circle also served as the foundation of a parallel project launched in June in which the ANA partnered with the Cannes Lions to take the CMO Masters Circle global via the creation of the Global CMO Growth Council.

Liodice’s remarks come on the heels of the announcement that the ANA informed members that the FBI is investigating media buying and trading practices in the US, and that 78% of ANA member marketers have launched agency offerings in-house, a rise from 58% in 2013 and from 42% in 2008.

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