DANA POINT, CA: Brand owners have made “strong progress” in addressing the gender imbalance in the chief marketing officer (CMO) role, but ethnic diversity still requires further work, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has reported.

This conclusion was drawn from the ANA’s first ever CMO “scorecard”, an analysis of chief marketing officers – or people in equivalent positions – from the 747 client-side organisations that are members of the trade body.

Breaking out the precise figures, the industry group revealed that women occupied 45% of marketing leadership roles, compared with 55% for men.

Just 13% of such positions, however, are filled by people of colour. Within that, some 5% of marketing heads were Asian, the same proportion as was recorded by CMOs from Hispanic and Latin backgrounds. 

That number, however, fell to 3% for Black/African-American marketers. And Bob Liodice, the ANA’s CEO, asserted that such numbers should act as a clear impetus for change.

“For too long, we’ve relied on inference and innuendo rather than hard facts and data. We’ve now planted a ‘stake in the ground’ against which we can begin to track our progress annually,” he said.

“But knowing these results is just the first step. We need complete commitment throughout our industry to create lasting change.”

The findings from the ANA’s “scorecard” – which is intended to become an annual endeavour – were unveiled during a session at the organisation’s Brand Masters Conference taking place in Dana Point, California.

In helping tackle these issues, the trade body’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) aims to advance diversity and multicutlrual marketing, with almost 70 companies joining this effort to date. 

“We want to position AIMM as a powerful voice in diversity and multicultural and inclusive marketing,” Liodice said.

“We want to engage senior marketing executives throughout the country in this conversation. That is why it is so important to have diverse leadership at the top of marketer companies.”

Similarly, the ANA’s Alliance for Family Entertainment has been at the forefront of #SeeHer, a campaign that champions accurate portrayals of women and young girls in advertising and media. Sixty companies have joined this movement so far.

Sourced from ANA; additional content by WARC staff