Bob Liodice urges CMOs to "take their industry back"

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The ANA president kicks off annual gathering by unveiling marketers' "Masters Circle"

In the opening remarks of the 2016 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Fla., ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice told 2,700 attendees that marketers are facing many problems. Their talent is "overworked and undertrained." They’re plagued by transparency, privacy and regulatory issues. Sales growth is in decline. Systems are too complex and convoluted. Thus, the ANA announced the creation of the ANA Masters Circle, a group of CMOs aimed to fix the advertising industry.

"Our industry needs to do better; our industry must do better," Liodice said. "It is time for marketers to lead."

To do this, they’ll focus on four primary objectives: strong media business system, responsible marketing, advocacy and talent. The first platform challenges CMOs to take leadership roles in industry programs like Trustworthy Accountability Group, Making Measurement Make Sense and similar groups with the goal of making media measurable, accredited by neutral third parties and most importantly, free from fraud.

"How we conduct business is as important as the business we conduct," Liodice said as he introduced the second platform of responsible marketing.

Marketers need to diversify their workforces, he added, touching on the creation of another ANA group, the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing. They also need to feature diversity in ads, Liodice said, citing the Ad Council’s "Love Has No Labels" commercial as an example. He also encouraged marketers to think of the children in their messaging like the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids did in its ad that showed children asking their parents questions about illegal substances, which served as the perfect transition into the Masters Circle’s third initiative: Advocacy.

"Specifically, we call upon the Masters Circle to provide leadership to the Digital Advertising Alliance for privacy, the Advertising Self-Regulation Council for responsible children’s advertising and to support the many organizations that push back hard against the regulatory minded FCC and FTC," Liodice said.

Finally, he revealed the fourth platform centered on talent, which features The CMO Talent Challenge, announced yesterday. Led by Uber President Jeff Jones, General Electric CMO Linda Boff, JP Morgan Chase CMO Kristen Lemkau and Jon Iwata, senior vice president of marketing and communications at IBM, the team will "mentor, market and mobilize" the next generation of marketers. Additionally, Liodice urged attendees to train their own staffs in all things digital and not just look to incoming college students to teach them about new technologies.

Wrapping up, he encouraged all CMOs to join the ANA Masters Circle, whether their companies were members or not.

"Ours is a precious industry. We’re an economic engine for the global community," Liodice said. "Let’s be proud of what we do. Let’s enjoy what we create and celebrate our victories."

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