The ANA Recommends CMOs Focus on These 12 Areas for Brands Facing Disappointing Growth

Gender equality, transparency, brand purpose and more

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The world’s top brands have a major problem: Many of them aren’t growing and that’s due to ineffective marketing leadership, according to the Association of National Advertisers’ president and CEO Bob Liodice.

After kicking off his keynote addressing the 2,700 attendees at the ANA’s Masters of Marketing Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. by highlighting effective marketing efforts from brands like Oreo, Wrigley and Nascar, Liodice revealed a sobering statistic: 259 companies on the 2016 Fortune 500 list had declining revenues.

“Look at the pattern of U.S. business sales that declined for the last two calendar years,” said Liodice. “This is a terrible proxy about the effectiveness of our marketing.”

Liodice continued: “As we acknowledge these samples of our industry’s brand building, we must candidly assess its direction. Yes, there has been substantial technological progress. But is that progress getting us anywhere? The answer is a decided no.”

Puzzling, all of this is happening while CMOs have boosted media spending.

The problem? “It boils down to a lack of effective marketer leadership,” said Liodice. “As leaders, we, as an industry, have refused to make the tough calls—calls that would take us out of the cesspool of suboptimum growth. For example, we as leaders should not accept this byzantine, non-transparent, super complex digital media supply chain. No one can understand it.”

He continued: “Yet we keep feeding the beast by pouring incredible sums of money into this unproductive, unmanageable abyss. Remarkably, we keep doing so even though we know that only 25 percent of every digital dollar reaches the consumer. … [that] represents more than $20 billion in marketing waste, inefficiency and ineffectiveness.”

To combat this massive lack of growth issue, the ANA’s CMO Masters Circle, which was formed last year, has created a 12 point guide. Each point listed below will have its own ANA playbook that will lay out actions to help CMOs foster growth.

Here are the 12 areas CMOs need to focus on:

1. Brand and Creative Excellence

2. Talent

3. Marketing Organization Management

4. Measurement, Data / Analytics and Accountability

5. Brand Purpose

6. Gender Equality

7. Inclusiveness, Diversity and Multicultural Marketing

8. Streamlining the Digital Media Supply Chain

9. Transparency

10. Brand Safety and Ad Fraud

11. Advocacy and Self-Regulation

12. The Future of Advertising, Marketing and Growth

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.