ANA Finds Serious Problem: Marketing Students Just Wanna Have Fun

There's a fundamental disconnect between the goals of the ad industry to become more serious, analytical and both quantitatively and qualitatively "data-intensive" and the culture of American universities educating the next generation of industry professionals.

That's the top-line finding of an in-depth study of marketing, advertising and communications professors conducted by the Association of National Advertisers ANA Education Foundation (AEF).

The report, "Bridging The Analytics Disconnect: Charting A More Data-Driven Pathway To Growth," was released this morning and finds that the vast majority of professors perceive that students see the industry as "fun" and "creative," but not necessarily as "analytical" and "quantitative."

“At my institution, students who gravitate toward advertising are not math or computer skills-oriented,” said Saleem Alhabash, associate professor of advertising and public relations at Michigan State University, who participated in the study.

“The perception is that advertising is not a math-heavy major. These students often lack the confidence necessary to acquire analytics skills," he explained.

The study, which interviewed 150 academics in the fall of 2019, recommends the industry takes steps to:

  • Update perception of marketing and advertising from just fun and creative to include quantitative and analytical. 
  • Build bridges between professors and analytics executives to produce marketing and advertising case studies for the benefit of students.
  • Offer broader softer skills for data and analytics executives and students entering the advertising and marketing industries.
“The use of data and analytics in marketing will only grow exponentially in the coming years, and it’s essential that we develop the talent we will need to use those tools in the most cost-effective and productive manner possible," stated ANA CEO Bob Liodice.

3 comments about "ANA Finds Serious Problem: Marketing Students Just Wanna Have Fun".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 4, 2020 at 10:11 a.m.

    Joe, it really depends on what is meant by "advertising". For many young college students that does not mean media numbers crunching---media planning or buying, let alone media research. Instead, it means copy writing and/or account management---in both cases as stereotyped by the TV series, "Madmen". There's little point in trying to convince a college student who is interested in "advertising" that he or she should be like the numbers grinding media nerd in that series---unless the student's personality and future aspirations fit into that mold---hopefully with more to be accomplished than "Madmen's" media guy who was capable of doing  nothing without some numbers to provide his answers I would guess that many of those who responded to this survey were thinking of the "Madmen" they had seen on TV---not the real people---and jobs---in "advertising". .

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 4, 2020 at 3:55 p.m.

    Ed, the stereo type was there way before the show "Madmen". Worked in agencies for years before. The concept of meeting stars, going to parties, do anything to get into business including scrubbing the floors, easy work, everybody wants to be your friend, beautiful people only, and one of my all time favorites - what does a page in the paper cost? so what are you selling ? doesn't matter, just have to have it to graduate. Maybe the problem is a bunch of teachers of "adverising" with no skin in the business. 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 4, 2020 at 4:39 p.m.

    True, Paula, as I, also know from spending twenty years at BBDO. However, I wonder how many of today's 17-23-year-olds know the realities of advertising's past history compared to what they see in today's media---hence my comment about "Madmen". I tend to agree about what the kids are being told about advertising at the colleges and universities, though I suspect that most of the respondents to this survey didn't take such courses and are looking at the profession in an impressionic manner. It might have been interesting to see what the results would have been if the sample consisted entirely of students who were taking---or had taken--advertising and/or "marketing" courses.

Next story loading loading..