Marketers Strive to Become Visionaries, yet ANA/Prophet Study Indicates Most Perform at Tactical Levels

Marketers Strive to Become Visionaries, yet ANA/Prophet Study Indicates Most Perform at Tactical Levels
New Study Examines Effects of Visionary Marketers on Marketing Organizations and Individuals

New York, NY—Marketers want to be seen as visionaries- individuals who can shift perspectives and capabilities to bring about game-changing outcomes in their organizations. However, they are further away from this realization than they think, according to a new study by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) in partnership with Prophet. This key finding was revealed in The State of Marketing Survey: The Shift, a survey of 150 marketers, from director level to chief marketing officer. This wide-ranging study examined the marketers' current roles, the depth of their collaboration with C-level and corporate executives, and their ability to manage customers and consumers.

A marketer advances in development phases of Tactician, Facilitator, Leader and, finally, Visionary. When asked to identify how far they advanced on their own paths, more than two-thirds of the marketers surveyed (69 percent) said they had achieved Visionary or Leader stature. Yet behavioral indications showed almost half (46 percent) were performing as Tacticians or Facilitators.

The 47 Visionaries identified in the study were involved at a much higher level of influence in the organization than other marketers. Findings indicate that visionary marketers were:

Overwhelmingly more likely to be leading the strategic dialogue (89 percent vs. 11 percent) Three times more likely to be leading discussions around reinventing the business (65 percent vs. 21 percent). 

  • Far more likely to collaborate with financial (60 percent vs. 22 percent) and operations functions (36 percent vs. 9 percent)

The study indicated the "collaboration patterns" of visionary marketers:

  • 73 percent collaborated with other business unit or P&L leaders
  • 60 percent collaborated with the CEO / COO
  • 31 percent collaborated with the CFO

"Marketers should strive to achieve Visionary status," said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA. "However, it is imperative that the company identify and overcome obstacles impeding progress to find new and better ways to reach personal growth aspirations."

The barriers to achieving the requisite changes were:

  • Cultural inertia (22 percent)
  • Budget/resources to put against related efforts (17 percent)
  • Resistance by executive leadership resistance (16 percent

Nearly 60 percent of respondents said significant change was needed in their business' approach to marketing if its function was to shift to a higher, more visionary level. One fourth of respondents said significant change was needed by their team and department.

The study found that over a quarter of Visionary marketers believe their next position will be CEO, COO or General Manager.

The study was inspired by a book authored by Prophet senior partner Scott Davis titled, The Shift: The Transformation of Today's Marketers into Tomorrow's Growth Leaders. It confirms that true Visionary marketers have undergone a series of five shifts that distinguish them in living up to this new paradigm and closing organizational divides. 

The shifts include:

  • Shift 1: From Creating Marketing Strategies to Driving Business Impact
  • Shift 2: From Controlling the Message to Galvanizing Your Network
  • Shift 3: From Incremental Improvements to Pervasive Innovation
  • Shift 4: From Managing Marketing Investments to Inspiring Marketing Excellence
  • Shift 5: From an Operational Focus to a Relentless Customer Focus

"For marketers, making the shift fundamentally means they are given an opportunity to rebrand marketing's role, function and overall positioning in the company," said Davis. "It transforms them from being merely a sales enabler to being a value driver across the enterprise."

The results of the State of Marketing Survey: The Shift will be discussed at a CMO Roundtable during the 2009 ANA Annual Conference - The Masters of Marketing, taking place November 5-8 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona. The 99th gathering of the ANA will also serve as the launch of the ANA's year-long 100th anniversary celebration.

About the ANA
Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA's membership includes 350+ companies with 9,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing communications and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers.

For more information, visit

About Prophet
Prophet is a strategic brand and marketing consultancy that helps its Fortune 500 clients win by delivering inspired and actionable ideas. Headquartered in San Francisco, Prophet has offices around the globe. For more information, please visit

Press Contacts:  
Lesley Neadel
CooperKatz for the ANA
(914) 589-2187 (on-site)
(917) 595-3034

Megan Burke
CooperKatz for the ANA
(617) 285-0771 (on-site)
(917) 595-3058