Marketers Beset By Lack Of Growth; CMOs Called On to Revitalize Industry

Bob Liodice Tells ANA Conference That CMOs Need to Adopt Agenda Set by ANA Masters Circle

ORLANDO (Oct. 5, 2017) — The U.S. marketing industry is suffering from sub-optimal growth and a range of other potentially debilitating issues, but the potential for recovery is in the hands of CMOs who must revitalize marketing and overcome barriers to growth, according to ANA CEO Bob Liodice.

Liodice urged CMOs to step up and make the difficult decisions needed to build brands and increase revenue by adopting steps recommended in a 12-point agenda set forth by an initiative launched last year called the ANA CMO Masters Circle. He made his comments in his opening remarks to almost 2,700 attendees at the three-day 2017 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference at the Marriott Orlando World Center.

Liodice praised advancements in technology and creative advertising and showed numerous examples of successful ad campaigns that contributed to significant brand growth. However, he said the industry still faces a myriad of impediments.

"As we acknowledge these samples of our industry's brand-building, we must candidly assess its direction," he said. "Yes, there has been substantial technological progress. But is that progress getting us anywhere? The answer is a decided 'NO.' Pardon my Brooklynese — but growth sucks. Great marketing isn't great unless it is validated by superb business results, well-developed brands and, most importantly, enduring business growth."

He cited figures showing overall U.S. business sales declining for the last two calendar years, and pointed out that in 2016 more than half of Fortune 500 companies — 259, to be exact — had declining revenues despite a continued increase in media spending.

He said the reason for the performance downturn was straightforward: "It boils down to a lack of effective marketing leadership," he said. "As leaders, we, as an industry, have refused to make the tough calls — calls that would take us out of the cesspool of sub-optimum growth."

For example, he said marketers continue to accept a "byzantine, non-transparent, super-complex digital media supply chain" that no one can understand, in which only 25 cents on every digital ad dollar reaches the consumer.

"Yet we keep feeding the beast by pouring incredible sums of money into this unproductive, unmanageable abyss," he said.

He cited several additional factors impeding growth:

  • Talent. The industry's talent pool is overworked and undertrained; about three-quarters of the workforce feel incapable of mastering digital, social, and mobile marketing.
  • Measurements and metrics.Industry issues include:
    • A lack of a common currency
    • Inadequate cross-platform analytics
    • Outdated marketing-mix models
    • Utilization of measures that are not third-party verified and accredited
  • The threat of government regulation. Potential regulatory threats continue to surface from agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Ongoing Issues: Consistent challenges such as fraud, ad blocking, viewability, and transparency frustrate marketers.

To regain leadership and address the issues facing the industry, Liodice urged the CMO community to join forces via a year-old ANA initiative called the Masters Circle, which was established to unite individual CMO agendas and create a powerful force to transform and lead the industry. Currently almost 400 CMOs participate in some level of Masters Circle activity, which has included the introduction of a multicultural program called AIMM (Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing) and the publication of a new CMO playbook filled with case studies from leading national advertisers.

"CMOs can no longer let others do the heavy lifting," Liodice said. "It is time for chief marketing officers to seize ownership of the industry's growth agenda and point us all in the right direction."

The CMO Masters Circle has created a 12-point blueprint designed to:

  • Advance the best brand and business intelligence for better marketing decision-making
  • Develop our industry's talent and create high-quality business and brand leaders
  • Harness the power of the industry's thinkers and leaders to shape the future of advertising and marketing and elevate growth performance

Liodice also said it is essential for marketers and their agency and media partners to restore trust to the marketing ecosystem to help facilitate growth; he cited the Ad Council as an example of how trust can exist in the industry.

"The Ad Council represents the purest intersection of marketers, agencies, media, publishers, and passionate advocates to advance the well-being of society," Liodice said. "If we use the Ad Council as our model, trust will come roaring back. It's very simple. At the Ad Council, we get together, we trust each other, and we get the job done."

The Masters of Marketing Conference runs from October 4–7 at the Marriott Orlando World Center and includes presentations from CMOs at P&G, Samsung, JPMorgan Chase, Cadillac, KFC, State Farm, Walmart, Weight Watchers, Lane Bryant, the Chicago Cubs, and other major marketers. The conference hashtag is #ANAMasters.



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.


John Wolfe
Director of Communications
Office: 212.455.8011
Cell: 914.659.8663