The Association of National Advertisers made a big move today, expanding its word-of-mouth and social media marketing offerings for members with the acquisition of nonprofit trade group Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).
Founded in 2004, WOMMA specializes in what it refers to as “ethical word-of-mouth marketing,” which is essentially what it sounds like—spreading the word about a brand or product, but with influence or support from a company or brand.
“Our vision at WOMMA is to grow appreciation for the practice of word-of-mouth marketing and its value while remaining the leading industry resource,” the group says on its website.
Spike Jones, chair of the WOMMA board and vp strategy at Spredfast, added that the association is “extremely proud” of their accomplishments for the word-of-mouth industry in “the research, ethics and influencer/advocacy spaces, and now the next evolution of WOMMA begins.”
“Becoming a division of the ANA allows us to take full advantage of the resources, diverse member base and thought-leadership the ANA has carefully cultivated,” Jones continued in a statement.
With the acquisition of WOMMA, the ANA will be able to expand on its professional development services, conferences, awards and webinars to incorporate WOMMA’s word-of-mouth and social media expertise.
“ANA’s mission is to bring our members the very best marketing and media management insights to drive business growth and build brands,” said Bob Liodice, ANA CEO. “Our interest in WOMMA reflects marketers increasing focus on brand building through social and, in particular, influencer marketing. This is a specialty area of emphasis which ANA plans to dramatically ramp up in the year or two ahead.”
In the past few years, the ANA has made a number of strategic acquisitions, all with the goal of providing more insights and services to its members. In 2015, the trade group added the Advertising Educational Foundation to its team and created the ANA Educational Foundation. Ahead of that, the ANA acquired the Business Marketing Association and the Brand Activation Association to its team.
This acquisition provides an added potential benefit for the ANA: WOMMA’s strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion. The trade group focuses on working with diverse vendors and companies, as well as recruiting a diverse board and staff.
The ANA did not immediately respond to Adweek’s request for additional comment on the acquisition.