The ANA Masters of Marketing Conference is a unique event for the Winmo marketing team. Like other conferences, we get the opportunity to exhibit as Winmo and interact with our clients in an intimate setting, but for me (a marketer) it’s one of the most inspirational events I attend throughout the year. This 3-day event brings together all the marketing powerhouses into one room, where CMOs share powerful insights on topics like inclusivity and compliance while reminding us to remain focused on our customers and our brands’ influence on the global economy.
Leaving the ANA Masters conference this year, five themes/topics stood out the most to me:
1. Advertising’s Affects on Growth
No big surprise here as it was the theme of the event this year, but the word “growth” was definitely a buzzword around the conference. ANA CEO Bob Liodice and other CMO leaders talked about advertisers’ role in driving growth for the brands they represent, but also for the global economy.
The work we put out, the campaigns we’re running – they make a difference. They can bring people together, help solve world issues, and be an engine of growth for the global community. It was a powerful message about stepping back and appreciating that the content we’re putting into the world is seen, heard, and internalized while inviting industry professionals to ask, “what am I adding to the conversation?”
2. #MeToo, Meet #SeeHer: Inclusion & Equality Come to #ANAMasters
Once again, this topic won’t come as a big surprise given the temperature of our country at the moment, but the ANA Masters #SeeHer campaign and topics of gender and race inclusivity more broadly were throughout each of the CMO presentations at the conference.
The CMO Growth Panel highlighted that “Gender equal advertising performs better with 10% higher ratings in trust and +26% higher in sales growth.” Advertisers who aren’t incorporating this into their overall strategy are missing out – not only on the revenue opportunity listed above but more importantly the opportunity and responsibility that brands have of bringing people together.
The Gender Equality Measurement (GEM) score was also highly discussed, a tool that scores ad or entertainment on how prominently they depict women. Introduced by the ANA in 2017, think of it as the ad industry’s version of Six-Sigma, a data-driven methodology that helps identify and eliminate gender bias. Resources like this allow advertisers to not only see their scores but also how they compare to their competitors and the broader industry.
3. Technology, Data, & Its Effects on the Industry
As marketers, we’ve never had more technology and data at our fingertips than we do now, and with that comes great responsibility. According to Mark Pritchard, CMO at P&G, “a responsibility to ‘wash’ and democratize the data so that other departments throughout the company can leverage it to reach overall brand promise goals.”
With technology and data being such a high focus, the CMO Growth Council announced the ANA’s Marketing University program kicking off this year. The program will include courses that aim to re-skill the industry, taking a preliminary focus on technology and data sector because it’s an area most advertisers are needing help in.
4. Advertising’s Move In-House
Another hot topic throughout ANA Masters (and one that seemed to make agency executives squirm!) was the trend towards bringing their advertising work in-house. One memorable takeaway: Eric Dickens, CMO at King’s Hawaiian, shared a story about how he went so far as to poach top agency talent and invest in them (or “bankroll,” as he phrased it) to build their own independent agencies. In return, King’s Hawaiian was able to get exclusive work and more personalized attention paid to their brand.
When looking at the stats, it’s not surprising to see this conversation bubbling to the top. According to a study done by the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) and Forrester Research, “State of In-House Agencies,”64% of corporate America have in-house agencies today. That number was 42% just 10 years ago.
Seems like AORs might want to watch out!
5. TV Is Alive & Well (& Actually Branded Content)
Advertisers are always looking for new ways to engage with consumers via content and a handful of CMOs presenting this year talked about producing their own TV shows to do just that!
Ancestry launched “Who Do You Think You Are” on TLC in 2010, partnering with celebrities to help discover their ancestry all while filming their journey across the globe as they visit different cities that made a mark on their family history.
Deluxe, in an effort to bring their brand back, launched Small Business Revolution, a campaign (and ultimately a TV show) around highlighting the importance of small businesses and the impact they have on communities and our economy.
Lastly, King’s Hawaiian was looking for a way to increase their sales outside of their normal peak holiday season and focused on Halloween. In doing so, they created “The Legend of King’s Hallowaiian” to connect and engage more closely with their family audience.
As marketers, we all have a role to play – in our brand’s journey, our customer’s journey and even the direction of the economy. The ANA’s Masters of Marketing Conference reminded us of that and seemed to bring everyone in the room together – the marketers, the agencies and technologies they use. We’re all in this together.