A Call For ‘Masters of Marketing’ To ‘Wake Up’ and Lead


ORLANDO — Today’s marketing industry is unproductive, unsustainable, undesirable and untenable, and it’s up to marketing leadership to display “guts and courage” to drive growth across all industry sectors.

That’s according to ANA CEO Bob Liodice, who addressed attendees of the advertising and marketing world’s most prestigious event, the Masters of Marketing Conference, to “wake up” and embrace steps outlined by the organization’s Masters Circle to lead the way in driving industry growth.

Liodice said Fortune 500 companies, which he called “a reasonable surrogate for the entire business community – including small and large enterprises alike,” has experienced declining after-tax profits for the last three years.

“This is an indictment on our industry,” he said. “It’s also a wake-up call for the leadership in our industry to enact the necessary change to drive better business and brand performance. Even small changes can make a powerful and lasting difference. A one per-cent change in the underlying growth rate is worth, minimally, $500 billion over a three year period for our industry.”

Liodice made his comments Wednesday (10/24) in his opening remarks to an estimated 3,000 attendees at the three-day event, which saw Westwood One sponsor an opening evening concert by Train and performance the next evening by Kelly Clarkson.

As Liodice seeks it, one of the most important initiatives at the ANA is the CMO Masters Circle, which is working on unifying the agendas of chief marketing officers and is creating a powerful leadership force to transform and grow the industry. Through the CMO Masters Circle, “Chief marketing officers are personally seizing responsibility for the industry’s growth and demanding that our entire ecosystem work in unison,” he said.

Launched in 2017, the CMO Masters Circle is guided by a specific, twelve-point growth agenda:

  • Brand Innovation and Creative Excellence
  • Data and Technology
  • Talent Development
  • Marketing Organization Management
  • Measurement and Accountability
  • Brand Purpose and Sustainability
  • Inclusion and Equality
  • Transparency
  • Streamlining the Digital Media Supply Chain
  • Brand Safety and Ad Fraud
  • Advocacy and Self-Regulation
  • The Future of Advertising, Marketing and Growth

Liodice said that the CMO Masters Circle also served as the foundation of a parallel project launched in June in which the ANA partnered with the Cannes Lions to take the CMO Masters Circle global via the creation of the Global CMO Growth Council.

The Masters of Marketing Conference concludes Sunday and includes presentations from CMOs at P&G, Progressive, FedEx, eBay, Cigna, Clorox, Kohl’s, Denny’s, IBM, American Express, Hershey, the U.S. Navy, and other major marketers.