Report From the ANA Conference


ANA Desert Conclave Seeks Solutions in a Fragmented World

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PHOENIX ( -- The annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers has become a must-attend affair for leading marketers. Here at the Biltmore
The Biltmore Resort and Spa is a stunning bit of Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced architecture at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. For the next few days, it is marketing central.
Resort and Spa, you have only to turn your head a few degrees to see that. This year's star-studded lineup is headed by Procter & Gamble Co.'s global marketing officer, and de facto marketing discipline leader, Jim Stengel. It doesn't get any heavier.

Bewildering change
The keen interest that has brought more than 900 executives together in this posh desert resort and conference center has largely been spurred by the rapid and often bewildering changes rippling across the marketing and media landscape. With the traditional mass marketing model either dead or evolving unpredictably -- it depends whom you ask and at what time of day -- marketers must orchestrate a dizzying number of strategies to push their brands. They can’t entrust everything to a single advertising agency any more and none of the parties involved in any brand-building effort can be exactly sure what the market or media realities will look like six months from now.

'Like a tsunami'
“Advertising is becoming digital, personal and controllable," said Peter Sealey, the former chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola Co. and now CEO of Los Altos Group Inc. "These three trends are like a tsunami sweeping away our historical model.” He will be on a panel discussing marketing accountability on Saturday.

It’s difficult to overstate the challenges facing top marketing exectuives today, and here, in this opulent palm-fringed oasis, they are virtually all hoping to glean new insights that can ultimately help their brands.

The Biltmore offers plenty of opportunities for poolside discussions -- the facility has eight swimming pools.

Said Laura Klauberg, senior marketing officer for Unilever: “The ANA provides a forum for advertisers to set an agenda to collectively learn, measure, etc., which would be cost-prohibitive to do as a single manufacturer.”

Common problems
Kevin Clancy, one of this year’s speakers and chairman-CEO of the consultancy Copernicus Marketing, seconded that opinion. “It’s the only organization in our industry that brings together senior corporate leadership to discuss common problems and share ideas for building more powerful marketing and advertising programs.”

To that end, the ANA polled its membership to identify their key concerns before putting together its agenda. The top responses: brand building and marketing accountability.

“There is a great degree of interplay between the two,” Mr. Liodice said. “You have to have the accountability piece in place to understand” how branding programs are working.

This year’s speakers will weigh in on how the branding is changing in an era where people exert more control over their media environment than ever before. And they’ll present tales from the front on the ongoing effort to understand return on investment.

'ROI journey'
Jim Garrity, CMO of Wachovia Bank, on Saturday will break down his institution’s “ROI journey,” looking at the bank’s modeling approach, as well as its organizational considerations, reaching out to partners and getting buy-in from the C-suite.

“I am very satisfied with the progress we’ve made in the last 18 months in building and refining a proprietary marketing ROI model,” Mr. Garrity said. But “we also realize our model is in its infancy and it will be years before we fully reap the benefits from it.”

On Sunday, Julie Roehm, director-marketing communications for DaimlerChrysler, will break down how the car maker is overhauling its media mix to improve effectiveness and accountability.

“We know the difference between the lifestyles of a Jeep Liberty and a Dodge Caravan owner,” Ms. Roehm said. "With wider media choices you can hit prospects in different ways. It is harder, but the more we can understand the consumer, the more we can connect.”

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