ORLANDO, Fla. — Marketers came from companies of every category and size to gather at the annual Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference.
Attendance this year is expected to reach almost 2,700 -- slightly less than last year (which was a record), but better than previous years, according to the ANA.
“The Masters is a very unique gathering -- bringing together the most senior marketers to tell their stories of success – success generated through the very best marketing we have in the industry,” says ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “However, the universal truth is that great marketing isn’t great unless it is validated by superb business results, well developed brands and, most importantly, enduring business growth.”
Speakers include such notables as Uwe Ellinghaus, CMO of Cadillac and Tony Rogers, CMO of Walmart. As of late Wednesday, Lili Tomovich from MGM Resorts was still scheduled to present on Friday. Her original topic was “From the Inside Out: How MGM Resorts Transformed Itself.”
Attendees such as Alan Schulman, director of brand creative and content marketing at Deloitte Digital, noted that while there is always a focus on growth, this year there is also a focus on efficiency as more CMOs are being asked to do more with less.
“Secondly, there is a lot more focus on holistic customer experience,” he notes. “Not just brand. Brand purpose has become table stakes and the challenge for many marketers now is how to activate on brand purpose and it have it carry through the customer experience, both digitally and face to face.”
Although there is a lot of “noise about digital transparency,” the bigger topic is -- in an economic climate that is forecasting minimal growth -- the imperative for more agile creative, more agile content and more agile marketing, Schulman tells Marketing Daily. “These are the trends people want to hear about, and how other marketers are doing it. Data-driven decision-making is also a huge topic and well beyond a trend, but a business driver.”
Another attendee noted there is a positive energy in the air. “People love this conference,” says Alastair Duncan, chief strategy officer of Splash Worldwide. “One CMO I met described it as 'oxygen' to take in what's going on in the industry.”
Duncan says he is looking forward to hearing Ellinghaus talk about Cadillac.
“I'd like to see less of previous years' obsession with digital metrics and hear more about the considerable efforts required to excel at brand building with intelligent content deployment and the renewed focus on customer experience,” he says. “Brands aren't in crisis, though they do worry about connecting with those consumers who 'don't want to be measured. It feels like brands that can connect data, content and technology will win.”