‘Exploding Gains in Technology’ Have Led to a Transformative Year for Marketers, ANA Chief Says

But industry must fight ad blockers

Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, kicked off the 2015 ANA Masters of Marketing Annual Conference in Orlando by touting the industry's efforts this year to transform the marketing landscape by the leveraging "exploding gains in technology," innovative media platforms and creativity.

"This is generating brand loyalty and better business results, and improving shareholder equity," Liodice told the crowd of 2,800 brand marketers, advertisers and media executives.

Liodice pointed to advances in multi-screen platforms and integrated programs, efficient programmatic media strategies, real-time marketing, outdoor digitally-based placed media and connected TV.

To better understand just how much the marketing model is being disrupted,
Liodice cited the second annual Marketing Disruption Study, a collaboration of the ANA and McKinsey & Co. 

Marketers appear to be getting out in front of the curve. Among the key takeaways: The study found marketers are moving to networked organizations and away from command-and-control structures; they are increasingly more focused on the customer journey; and "agile leadership is becoming a prerequisite for success."

The study also found some red flags:

Sub-optimal data management: While 46 percent of respondents said they made marketing decisions based on data, only 10 percent believe they were very effective at using customer insights to improve performance.

Limited customer understanding: Only 13 percent of companies firmly believe they understand the decision journeys of their customers. Nearly half cannot measure the critical stages of that journey.

Process sludge: Despite the move to network marketing organizations, it still takes more than eight months for an idea to see the light of day.

Liodice also emphasized the need for the industry to come together to combat ad blocking. "We must swallow our pride and recognize that ad blocking represents consumers' outrage over substantially diminished user experience," he said. "We all know what that means. It means page clutter, lengthy video pre-roll, longer load times and ultimately angry content seekers."

With as many challenges as the industry has, there are real opportunities to make change, Liodice noted. He cited industry stewardship programs such as work with Partnership for Drug-Free Kids as well as Always' inspiring "Like a Girl" campaign. "I'm a true believer marketing can make a difference," he said. 

@lgranatstein lisa.granatstein@adweek.com Lisa Granatstein is the editor, svp, programming at Adweek.