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Developing an Equitable Supply Chain for Marketing and Advertising Investments

March 4, 2021

By Bill Duggan


To assist in the development of an equitable supply chain for marketing/advertising investments, this week ANA and AIMM have released:

  • An update to our list of “Certified Diverse Suppliers for Marketing and Advertising”
  • The premiere of a companion resource, “Suppliers Serving Predominately Multicultural and Diverse Audiences for Marketing and Advertising, Non-Minority Owned and/or Non-Minority Certified”

Details are at

The list of certified suppliers debuted in July 2020 and has been updated on a regular basis since. The March 2021 update features 221 companies — agencies, production, promotion, research, technology, media, and more. To qualify for this list, suppliers need official certification from organizations including NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council), WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council), NGLCC (National LGBT Chamber of Commerce) and other recognized and accredited certification entities.

We are aware that there are additional suppliers that serve, market to, and reach predominately multicultural and diverse audiences that are non-minority owned and/or non-minority certified. To include those entities, we have created the companion supplier resource list. There are initially 61 companies included.

Investing in diverse suppliers isn’t just a “good thing to do” from a corporate social responsibility perspective. Such investment promotes innovation as diverse suppliers can offer new products, services, and solutions; drives competition between a company’s existing and potential suppliers; and leads to community empowerment and positive social impact for the community (often the community that the marketer is also part of).

Creation of these lists is a follow-up to two important 2020 initiatives:

  • In May 2020, the ANA published “The Power of Supplier Diversity.” That study revealed a large majority (75 percent) of ANA members have strategic plans in place to hire diverse suppliers for their overall organizations, but only 40 percent have such strategies specifically for marketing and advertising services. Furthermore, according to the study, finding diverse suppliers for marketing and advertising services is a challenge.
  • In June, the ANA and our diversity initiative, The Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM), published an open letter titled “ANA/AIMM Commitment to Equality, Inclusion, and Systemic Change.” The letter called for the development of an equitable creative supply chain through strategic investments in agencies, broadcasters, suppliers, and producers owned or run by Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities.

In my almost 21-year tenure at ANA, I have seen dramatic growth in our multicultural and procurement practices. More recently, our focus on diversity and inclusion has substantially increased. But there has only been very limited work on supplier diversity — until recently. Supplier diversity truly sits at the intersection of these other disciplines. Supplier diversity in marketing/advertising, in particular, can be a growth-driver for companies and needs to be elevated and we remain committed to that.

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