Insights and Highlights from the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference

May 10, 2012

By Bill Duggan

I have just returned from the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference, which drew a record 550 attendees.  The following are ten key insights and highlights that I took away.

  1. Resiliency: In the opening economic keynote, PwC advised advertisers to “over weigh resiliency and under weigh growth.”  Japan was noted as a key example of that – despite sluggish growth over the past two decades, the Japanese were very resilient following the earthquake/tsunami and the country is rebuilding as a result.
  2. People: Hans Melotte, CPO of J&J, stressed the importance of people. “Everything begins and ends with having the right people.  Superior people result in superior outcomes while mediocre people result in mediocre outcomes.” Procurement at J&J is a key player that enables growth while cost savings are of secondary emphasis.
  3. Website Video: Paul Matsen, CMO of The Cleveland Clinic is an advocate of website video, a great example of owned media.  The Cleveland Clinic has some 1500 videos on their website, which have certainly contributed to making that the #1 most visited hospital website in the U.S.   Paul said that the “… use of video can transform marketing.”
  4. Agencies as Junior Partners: The great Martin Sorrell spoke of agencies being “junior partners” to their clients—not full partners and certainly not domestic servants, saying, “Don’t treat us as a commodity; it’s depressing and confrontational.”
  5. Patent Trolls: Beware of patent trolls, says Doug Wood of Reed Smith and ANA’s outside legal counsel.  Patent trolls acquire patents that have not been utilized and are essentially worthless, target one or more industries with cease and desist letters, and then target a few companies to sue to apply pressure on the rest to settle for less than litigation costs.
  6. Accountable Compensation: Dustin Cohn, Jockey CMO and Rich Feitler, TPN president discussed their compensation arrangement built on the principles of partnership, accountability, fair and shared metrics, payment on output and not hours, and earning the entire agency profit margin based on meeting company goals. There’s so much chatter at ANA meetings about compensation and it’s great to see a client and agency doing something very different.
  7. Innovation: Kelly Mooney, CEO of Resource Interactive, emphasized the importance of a commitment to innovation.  Marketers and their agencies need ongoing monitoring of emerging trends followed by rapid application of testing ideas based on those trends.  A nominal budget should be allocated for such innovation to provide a constant stream of learning.
  8. Media Audits: The primary objective of a media audit is to improve the effectiveness of the media investment. For many marketers, media is the largest part of their marketing spend.  Media audits also shine a light on client behavior that could drive up costs.
  9. CMO Insights: IBM shared results of C-suite global studies with CMOs and CFOs.  I loved this simple insight on technology – CMOs have to use tools and technologies that their children understand better than they do.  So those CMOs better get up to speed!
  10. Corporate Trade: Corporate trade (also referred to as barter) is a financial tool that provides the opportunity to realize better returns on excess inventory or other assets than traditional liquidators can offer and “trade” those assets for media or other goods.  Active International, a leader in corporate trade, shared their perspective.

I’m already looking forward to the 2013 Advertising Financial Management Conference, May 5-8 in Phoenix!




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