Learnings from the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference

October 12, 2020

By Bill Duggan


Our annual Advertising Financial Management Conference was held last week, virtually of course. This is always one of my favorite events and I attended for the twentieth year in a row! Thanks to Active International for being the presenting sponsor of the conference. Here are some of the learnings I took away (in order of their sequencing on the agenda).

Steven Wales, chief revenue officer at Decideware: The two main reasons for scope management are process efficiencies and investment optimization.

Bob Liodice, CEO at ANA: Business and brand growth is the new shiny object. A one-percentage point change in industry growth can add, minimally, $500 billion to sales over three years. But we’re leaving a ton of money on the table at both the brand and industry levels. The ANA Growth Agenda identifies four global growth priorities with 12 focus areas to drive business through marketing.

Sopan Shah, chief procurement officer at IHG: Think of procurement as a business partner — passionately build relationships. Be curious. Become a student of the objectives and business plans of your stakeholders. Focus on the enablement and development of others.

Kerstin Benden, CFO, and Laura Knebusch, VP of consumer experience, at Georgia Pacific: To drive value for the organization, the key principles for the heads of finance and marketing are: build relationships, start with a clear objective, proactively communicate, hold yourself accountable to the metrics.

Tara Agen, global head and VP at HP: A “better together” approach between marketing procurement, finance and IT/cyber security led to an easier and simpler way to select and manage agencies. HP reduced their number of agencies by over half. Systems and processes were made more marketer friendly. That included a tool to better connect agency selection to budget, a resource for agency evaluations, and tagging agencies for diverse ownership.

Kevin Farkas, chief risk officer, and Jeff Pappas, SVP of enterprise risk at Active International: Corporate trade is a bridge between supply chain and marketing, restoring value to underperforming assets while creating value from your media plan. Value is restored by having full value paid for underperforming assets to avoid loss and reduce carrying costs. Value is then created by apply the asset value to future media spend.

Matt Weiss, president of HUGE: There’s a huge increase in pitch activity. The single biggest takeaway for clients is to include your budget in the RFP. Agencies need to know the value of the partnership and size of the prize.

Simona Rabsatt Butler, senior director at Visa, and Syndi Craig-Hart, CEO at Smart Simple Marketing: Winning at supplier diversity requires a collaborative conversation. Find allies, not just in your line of business. We each have the opportunity to advocate for diversity – no matter where we sit. Be a change agent. We’re in a unique moment in time. Use the current momentum in a positive way. Leverage your wins to build momentum and align your actions with company goals.

Tracy Allery, marketing business partner at Nestle USA: Procurement should behave as a trusted strategic brand business partner to help drive a company’s growth agenda. Procurement should embrace a transformation from savings to value to support the growth side of the business.

Stacy Marcus, partner at Reed Smith: Maximizing value by using union talent. The JPC represents advertisers and agencies who have authorized them to collectively bargain with the commercial talent unions. They are a free resource, providing advice on claims and contract interpretation, including reviewing creative to help figure out where any waivers are applicable and help minimize costs.

Mark Penn, chairman of and CEO at MDC Partners and president of The Stagwell Group: The five rules of having a great campaign for both brands and politicians: (1) a slogan or theme that everybody knows; (2) a bio or story of your brand or candidate; (3) number of issues/features to identify that are absolutely critical; (4) a target that’s spelled out; (5) a contrast against your competitors/opponents. If you can fill out those five things you will have combined the data orientation of getting the right target with putting together a really comprehensive and successful campaign.

Tom Standage, deputy editor at The Economist: Tom discussed five global business trends that are shaping the world and the business environment right now. One of the most interesting to me is “Tech-celeration.” It’s very clear that the pandemic has accelerated existing technology trends and the adoption of many technologies. This is most obvious in the cases of e-commerce, e-learning, e-health, telecommuting, food delivery services, mobile payments and more. There has been a decades-worth of progress in just a few weeks.

Geoffrey Colon, head of Microsoft Advertising Brand Studio, Microsoft: People are the new solar. They provide a purpose and a mission to what a company does. The skill sets for the modern marketer – IT professional, data strategist, creative, and behavior analyst.

Stephen Robinson, general counsel and chief privacy officer at Extreme Reach: The ROI for production increases every time footage can be used in a new way. The advertisers can only realize this ROI if they have quick organized access to the assets, footage, rights and data in a way that lets them turn on a dime to be effectively utilized.

Keri Bruce, partner at Reed Smith, and Sam Tomlinson, partner at PwC: In the ISBA Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study, 15 percent of programmatic spend could not be directly attributed to any contractual element in the supply chain. The study called this “the unknown delta.” This is estimated to cost brands $31 billion!

Jay Pattisall, principal analyst at Forrester Research: Procurement can’t afford to lose creativity. Creativity needs to be reinvented. Companies are in a consumer experience rut. We have homogenized the brand and the experience. The work looks the same. The digital front door to most brands in a category looks the same. The real problem is the viability of a company to differentiate itself.

Nathan Clark, director at KMPG; Jason Galloway, managing director at KMPG; and Sebastien Slek, executive director of global sourcing at WarnerMedia: Partner ecosystems are a combination of external agencies and in-house capabilities. A partner ecosystem amplifies an organization’s footprint. A redefined model has a focus on integration, specifically between procurement, external agencies, marketing, finance, and channel partners to meet financial obligations and deliver value. It is strategic, focused on overall value, with the goal of maximizing the value provided by each agency.

Greg Wright, VP of content marketing at the ANA, and Matt Kasindorf, SVP of agency management services at the 4A’s: The key benefits of a relationship management program are better communication, greater efficiency, better work, improved ROI, and greater speed. Better communication between marketers and agency leads to better work (which is done at greater efficiency and speed), which leads to an improved ROI.


Thanks to Mark Hudson, global senior procurement manager at Walgreens Boots Alliance, for hosting the event.

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