ANA Survey Results Identify Five Marketing Blind Spots | About the ANA | ANA

ANA Survey Results Identify Five Marketing Blind Spots

The destination is clear for marketers but the path isn’t

NEW YORK (Oct. 16, 2014) – Disruptive forces are changing the business landscape in the forms of complexity, content demands, and customer expectations, challenging marketing organizations to undergo significant transformations rather than incremental change. And while marketing leaders have a good idea of where they need to go, they don’t have a clear vision of how to get there, according to a new survey by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers): “Marketing’s Moment: Leading the Disruption.”

The survey results reveal:

  • Fifty percent of respondents do not have a clearly defined customer decision journey nor do they understand where they need to focus their marketing programs.
  • Sixty-six percent understand marketing disruptions and are building responses into their strategy. However, only 13 percent are taking action and creating measureable impact.
  • Ninety percent believe that active testing and learning is the number one strategy for responding effectively to disruptions. However, only 55 percent employ agile marketing processes (e.g., analyzing and iterating marketing plans and tactics as frequently as needed).

Five Blind Spots

The results uncovered five blind spots that are blocking the path to marketing’s full potential:

  1. Fractured customer experience. Marketers actively collect insights that provide competitive advantage (86 percent) and help shape business strategy (82 percent). Their role in managing the customer experience is limited in these critical areas: CRM and loyalty (66 percent), influencing customer support (66 percent), and managing the entire customer decision journey (67 percent). This reflects siloed oversight and accountability for the entire customer experience.
  2. Content primacy without strategy & operations. Although the need for content is one of the biggest disruptive forces, an astonishing 84 percent of marketers do not have a formal content strategy and distribution process. Developing an effective content strategy and supply chain is key to a broader customer experience strategy.
  3. Leadership/front lines disconnect. Forty-three percent of marketing leaders said they are not empowered and encouraged to experiment and innovate, despite the importance of “test and learn” as a response to disruptive forces. Further, while 70 percent of CMOs said they employ agile marketing processes, just 45 percent of marketing VPs/directors and 50 percent of managers agree.
  4. Hiring talent — but not managing it. While 91 percent of survey respondents expressed significant interest in hiring talent, training and skill development were rated lowest among the choices for how companies are responding to disruption. And only 35 percent are investing in new models for employee/worker management. Without attention to managing talent, companies could find that new talent is wasted or simply leaves for better opportunities.
  5. Decisions without data. Most marketers acknowledge that data and analytics are the key to addressing a more complex landscape; 96 percent said the ability to make data-informed decisions is their most-needed capability to respond effectively to disruptions. However, more than one-third of companies are not using data to make decisions, and almost half say they still don’t have the right analytics in place.

Marketing Focus on Key Disruptors

The survey found that mobile (85 percent) is the top focus today for increased investment to address key disruptors. This is followed by content and new customer experiences (82 percent) and big data/advanced analytics (77 percent), according to the findings. Investing in new technologies (94 percent), developing new marketing models (93 percent), and hiring new talent/developing new roles (91 percent) were cited as the top three strategies for responding to disruptions today.

“Complexity and the speed of change have caused confusion, and that inhibits marketers from moving forward and setting themselves up for long-term success,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA. “CMOs need to take charge and effect change because the marketing organization often trails the rest of their company.”

The survey also found that the networked organization, where cross-functional teams come together for projects under a common vision, is the future of the marketing organization. In fact, over the next one to three years, the number of organizations that are networked is projected to increase from 16 percent to 63 percent.

McKinsey & Company’s overview of Marketing Disruption: Five blind spots on the road to marketing’s potential can be found here.

About the Survey
The survey “Marketing’s Moment: Leading the Disruption” was conducted online between August–September 2014 among a sample of 374 client-side marketers. Respondents were drawn from the ANA Survey Community, the overall ANA membership, and supporting partners. Of those who responded, roughly a third work primarily in B2B marketing, another third in B2C, and just over a third in both. The majority of respondents are senior-level marketers (CMO, VP, Director), with an average of 30 years’ experience in the marketing/advertising industry.

Surveys were completed using IPSOS OTX’s online survey tool. Not all respondents provided answers to all questions in the survey, as such the base varies from question to question and subsets of the full respondent set are used in certain places in order to provide rankings and comparisons. The ANA invited McKinsey & Company to provide fact-based analysis of the survey results. This analysis can be found in an independent McKinsey & Company report titled “Marketing Disruption: Five Blind Spots on the Road to Marketing’s Potential.”

About the ANA

The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.


Duke Fanelli