ORLANDO, FL: The “lack of effective leadership” is one key factor limiting marketers’ efforts to drive growth, Bob Liodice, the President/CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), has warned.

Liodice discussed this subject during an opening-day keynote session at the 2017 Masters of Marketing Conference held by the ANA.

And the fact that US total business sales had declined in both 2015 and 2016 represent a telling proxy for the recent “effectiveness of our marketing,” he suggested.

“Yes, there has been substantial technological progress. But is that progress getting us anywhere? The answer is a decided ‘No,’” said Liodice. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: ANA’s Liodice: Ineffective marketing leadership cripples growth.)

Drilling down into the reasons behind this trend, Liodice encouraged senior marketers to show clear leadership, particularly in areas such as advertising technology.

“It boils down to a lack of effective marketer leadership. We, as an industry, have refused to make the tough calls – calls that would take us out of the cesspool of sub-optimum growth,” he asserted.

“We, as leaders, should not accept the byzantine, non-transparent, super-complex digital media supply chain. No one can understand it.

“Yet we keep feeding the beast by pouring incredible sums of money into this unproductive, unmanageable abyss. Remarkably, we keep doing so even though we know that only 25% of every digital dollar reaches the consumer.”

Problems like digital fraud, viewability concerns, brand safety worries and ad blocking have also “combined to create chaos across the advertising industry”, while the lack of a common currency have hampered attempts at measurement.

More broadly, Liodice cited issues related to an “overworked and undertrained” talent pool as posing a major obstacle for the marketing sector.

“We are left with inescapable conclusions. Our current situation is unproductive, unsustainable, undesirable and untenable,” Liodice said in summarising the current situation.

“Our industry needs to do better. Our industry must do better. It’s time for marketers to take our industry back.”

Data sourced from WARC