It's Time To Take Our Industry Back -- And Drive Growth

  • by , Featured Contributor, February 23, 2023
A consistent message I’ve heard over the past few weeks at industry conferences (I attend a lot -- love them!) is that whether the advertising industry returns to growth is in our hands. It’s not predestined to be tethered to the rhetoric of econ PhDs speaking on finance shows day in and day out.

The message was repeated at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Decisions, NBCU’s One23, BeetRetreat San Juan and the Association of National Advertisers’ Media Conference.

Advertising has enormous power. As former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge noted almost a century ago, “Advertising ministers to the spiritual side of trade. It is great power that has been entrusted to your keeping which charges you with the high responsibility of inspiring and ennobling the commercial world. It is all part of the greater work of the regeneration and redemption of mankind.”

I borrowed the title of this column from ANA CEO Bob Liodice’s opening remarks at last week’s Media Conference, challenging the 600+ attendees to do their part in creating and driving the industry’s destiny: “It’s time to take our industry back and drive growth!!”



Bob is right. Yes, advertising tends to be one of the first major corporate expenses cut when tougher times hit, and also one of the last ones restored. But, as we’ve learned time and time again, those companies that invest in advertising in the downcycle, and proactively use it to take share relative to laggard competitors, exit those cycles with more growth and profits as their sectors come back.

It’s pretty simple. Nothing beats advertising when it comes to making people feel good about products and services at scale, particularly ones they don’t know, or haven’t enjoyed as much recently, or weren't thinking about at that moment. With stronger brand awareness and preference comes not only sales, but pricing power. Just look at what Procter & Gamble has achieved in those areas over the past few years.

My take: don’t sit out this year waiting for someone else to drive consumer economic growth in the U.S. and abroad. If you do, you’ll be watching them from behind as they take your customers, your market and your margins. This is the time to lead and create your own destiny. Are you ready?

3 comments about "It's Time To Take Our Industry Back -- And Drive Growth".
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  1. Chet Dalzell from Digital Advertising Alliance, February 23, 2023 at 4:04 p.m.

    Dave, a toast to Calvin Coolidge!  Nice find!

  2. Bob DeSena from Engagement Marketing Grouproup, February 23, 2023 at 4:07 p.m.

    Dave,  Thanks for a good reminder when times get tough. 

    Sometimes when we say 'advertising' we can fall into legacy thinking about what that means.

    I would add that (real) innovation, in addition to maintaining an 'advertising' presence, can accelerate brand share; including all forms and formats of branded content in communications channels. 

  3. Hanna Gryncwajg from Hanna G, February 23, 2023 at 4:57 p.m.

    Agreed, and yes, we have the tools today to help marketers understand what is working or not working in their campaigns.  Use it, don't wait for others.  You control your own destiny. Great piece Dave.

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