Marketers' Constitution Tenet #7

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Association of National Advertisers has created The Marketers' Constitution. Its goal is twofold: to acknowledge the marketing industry's many contributions to our society, and to help the marketing profession move beyond the inefficiencies, limitations, restrictions and unknowns of the past to a new, effective, transparent, economical and socially responsible model of marketing and media for the future.

The Marketers' Constitution sets forth what the ANA believes are ten essential "musts" of marketing for the next 100 years. These will help ensure that the industry thrives and continues to contribute to the growth of the nation's businesses -- as well as to the economic and social wellbeing of our society. Read the entire Marketers' Constitution and show your support for its tenets by digitally signing it.

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The seventh tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states that marketing professionals must become better, highly skilled, diverse leaders. As an industry, we do not spend enough time, energy and effort fostering the talents, skills and continuous development of marketing professionals. To further our goals of building brands and driving business results, we must attract and nurture people who are completely customer-centric in their orientation, holistic in their view of marketing and media choices, innovative and creative in their thinking, and who are articulate and effective in their personal communications.

These people should be results-obsessed team leaders in everything they do. Marketing professionals must be cultivated and encouraged to continue to improve, otherwise, the marketing profession will stagnate and sub-optimize available opportunities. It is important to continuously enhance the skill set of all those who advance the state of marketing, whether it is with marketers, agency executives, or media professionals.

The reason why this must become an "obsession" is that most marketing organizations place training and development at the bottom of their priority pile. With organizations downsizing and time management at a premium, many CMOs have deferred "people development" decisions to a later date. This was most apparent in the MME 2010 study by the IAB /4A's/ANA (conducted by Booz & Company), which indicated that only 25% of marketers considered themselves to be "digitally savvy." Although these findings were released two years ago, it is highly unlikely that those data points have turned up too dramatically. In this environment where "everything is digital", it is confounding why those results were so low.

However, sound organization management doesn't end with training and development. Successful companies also embrace environments that are "diverse." The marketing industry has suffered a number of bumps and bruises over the years for being relatively poor at attracting minorities to the industry and advancing their careers to senior management positions.

Workplace diversity is vitally important to the future success of the marketing industry and its ability to grow businesses. That is why the efforts taking place by the AAF, the 4As and AdColor are so critical. In this increasingly interconnected world, a diverse marketing industry is better able to reach and influence culturally diverse consumers.

Diverse backgrounds, perspectives and persuasions contribute to a more inspiring and creative environment -- the kind that stimulates marketing professionals to produce the best work possible. Furthermore, businesses that support inclusion set an example for their employees and positively influence society at large by broadly socializing the inherent value of diversity.

With better skills management, training and development, and an increased focus on diversity, the marketing community will consistently produce superior professionals. This will go a long way towards building businesses and brands, helping us all to fulfill the seventh tenet of the Marketers' Constitution.

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