ANA CEO Liodice Praises New Age of Creativity, But Warns of Major Challenges Ahead
ORLANDO, FL — “Marketers command the marketing decision-making process, but they’re not engaged or leading the industry’s agenda,” according to ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice. “It’s abundantly clear that marketers must take their industry back. CMOs can no longer let others do the heavy lifting, if they want something, they have to lead the way.”
Mr. Liodice’s comments came in his opening remarks at the ANA’s 2016 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, during which he welcomed 2,700 attendees to the three-day conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.
Liodice cited a growing number of challenges facing the industry that have caused CMOs to lose control such as talent supply, privacy, ad fraud, ad blocking, viewability, and transparency issues, which according to Lodice: “have rendered the overall marketing industry “unproductive, unsustainable, and undesirable”. To meet those challenges, Liodice said, “it is imperative that CMOs come together to aggressively pursue an aligned agenda designed to establish new parameters of leadership—that will allow them to take back the industry.”
A New Age of Creativity
“Brand building has become much more than simply talking about your brand,” Liodice said. “It’s about making deeper, emotional connections with your consumer in the most meaningful and enduring way. Marketers are beginning to rediscover their primary role, which is driving business growth. They’re stretching their brands in unique, creative, and imaginative ways to transform their relationships with consumers and customers.”
Liodice specifically cited major brands like Valspar, Vaseline, Pepsi, Best Buy, and Under Armour for enthusiastically embracing new technology and communications platforms to create winning campaigns that are “opening up doors to reach our consumers and customers with engaging, immersive marketing.”
“In all candor, I don’t think creativity has ever been better,” Liodice added. However, at the same time, he warned that statistics have shown that business sales in the U.S. have been sluggish, and in 2015 turned negative, capping a three-year trend of less than 2 percent growth annually.
An Aligned Agenda
The ANA has announced a new initiative called the ANA Masters Circle to bring CMOs together to aggressively pursue an aligned agenda. All CMOs are invited to join the ANA’s Masters Circle, whether or not they are ANA members.
“The purpose of the Masters Circle is to unify individual CMO agendas and create a powerful leadership force to transform the industry,” Liodice said.
The ANA’s Masters Circle has four primary objectives:
- Lead the way in an industry-wide call for a strong, transparent, and highly productive media supply chain that is free from fraud, is highly viewable, can be measured and accredited, and has data and analytics at its core. The Masters Circle also must become immersed and take leadership roles in industry programs such as the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS), and similar groups to ensure that media is measurable and accredited by neutral third parties.
- Passionately advance and promote responsible marketing by focusing on issues such as gender equality, multicultural marketing and diversity, and all aspects of social responsibility, especially efforts designed to protect the well-being of children such as The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
- Serve as fervent advocates on behalf of all constituents in the media and marketing supply chains by leading and supporting all efforts to advance, protect, and defend our industry. Specifically, the Masters Circle should provide leadership to the Digital Advertising Alliance and the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, and support organizations that push back against overreach from the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission.
- Strive to develop a high-caliber, digitally savvy, and diverse talent base through the continued support of the ANA’s Educational Foundation and other like-minded organizations to ensure that university students are encouraged to consider careers in advertising and marketing. At the same time, the Masters Circle should urge all CMOs to aggressively upgrade the training and development of their own staffs, particularly in the area of digital communications and technological advancements.
“As an industry, we need to get out of our own way and overcome issues that hamper growth potential,” he said. “We are on the right track, but we need CMOs to turn up the leadership dial. We cannot leave this to others to do. We must get involved and take the action we need — to build our brands and drive our business results. When CMOs do that, everyone wins.”
He also said CMOs need to address the continuing challenge of finding, nurturing and retaining new talent.
“CMO’s must aggressively upgrade the training and development of their own staffs,” Liodice said. “We all need to become better far professionals – particularly in all things digital. As such, we are very proud that ANA board members Jeff Jones from Uber, Linda Boff from General Electric, Kristen Lemkau from JP Morgan Chase and Jon Iwata from IBM are leading ANA’s CMO Talent Challenge. We invite the CMO community to jump on board this terrific and worthy initiative.”
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