ANA Report: Diverse Supplier Certification Benefits Everyone | About the ANA | ANA

ANA Report: Diverse Supplier Certification Benefits Everyone

Survey of Diverse Suppliers Reveals Advantages and Ease of Participation

NEW YORK (December 1, 2021) — A majority of diverse business owners (55 percent) believe it is important to be officially certified as a diverse supplier and that certification affords them new opportunities, according to a just-released study.

The report, “And Now a Word from the Diverse Suppliers: The Supplier Perspective on Certification,” revealed that the benefits of obtaining certification include increased participation in RFPs (62 percent). This provides additional exposure to corporate marketing departments (58%), thereby leading to increased sales (52 percent).

Diverse suppliers were defined in the report as women-owned, ethnic/minority-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, disability-owned, and small businesses. This effort surveyed companies on the list of certified diverse suppliers compiled by the ANA and its operating division, the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM).

The new report was designed to understand the importance, benefits, challenges, and complexity of the certification process among suppliers, said ANA CEO Bob Liodice.

“Certification is important to marketers and diverse suppliers and fuels progress toward our industry’s goals of reducing investment inequalities,” said Liodice. “I urge all marketers to give special consideration to certified suppliers and to promote certification as a process to facilitate advancing diversity in our industry.”


  • Survey creators hypothesized that suppliers would find the certification process difficult, but that concern was overstated. While 31 percent of respondents characterized the process as difficult, 35 percent felt it was easy and 34 percent were neutral — almost an even distribution of responses.
  • The time needed to gather all required documents prior to submittal for certification is short: three months or less for 82 percent of respondents.
  • The time to become certified after submitting paperwork is also short: three months or less for 71 percent of respondents.
  • The top challenges for obtaining certification were the time it took to complete the application process and gathering the required documents (although each was cited by less than 50 percent of respondents).
  • Certification helps suppliers be included in more RFPs, which provides additional exposure to corporate marketing departments, which leads to increased sales.
  • Certification maximizes the opportunity for suppliers to be considered and hired, since some companies make certification mandatory for doing business with diverse suppliers.
  • Certification authenticates that a supplier is indeed who they say they are. It removes the burden to confirm the ownership of a company from the marketer, and it is instead handled by a certification organization. Major certification organizations include:
    • NMSDC: National Minority Supplier Development Council
    • WBENC: Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
    • NGLCC: National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
    • MWBE: Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises
    • Once the initial certification is completed, the recertification process is much easier.
    • Cost is minimal. For businesses with over $50 million in annual revenue, fees for initial certification range from $1,250 to $1,500 (depending on the certification organization). Annual recertification fees can be even lower.

The full report can be accessed here.

The survey was fielded between October 20 and November 8, 2021. It was sent to 317 companies on the ANA/AIMM list of certified diverse suppliers; 106 suppliers participated, a 33 percent response rate.

The number of companies on the ANA/AIMM list of “Certified Diverse Suppliers for Marketing and Advertising” has more than doubled since it was established in July 2020. The list currently totals more than 340 entries and includes agencies and media, production, promotion, and research companies. The list was launched following an ANA report, “The Power of Supplier Diversity.” That study revealed that a key challenge in supplier diversity was finding diverse suppliers.

Diversity is an important issue for the ANA’s Global CMO Growth Council (GCGC), which was established by the ANA and Cannes Lions to focus on driving enterprise growth. The GCGC has four global growth platforms and a 12-point industry growth agenda, which includes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. An important mandate for the GCGC is to “eliminate systemic investment inequalities in the media and creative supply chain.” Support of diverse suppliers helps address such investment inequalities. The ANA recently announced a collaboration with Media Framework and its MAVEN enterprise to increase awareness of minority-owned media companies.


The ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) mission 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