ANA: More Marketing Accountability

A new study from the Association of National Advertisers shows that an increasing number of top-level marketing executives are satisfied with their ability to measure ROI. But hurdles remain in building company-wide unity for putting those metrics into action. Findings were unveiled at yesterday's ANA's 2006 Marketing Accountability Forum.

The study revealed that 32 percent of marketers are satisfied with their ability to measure and act on ROI to drive sales, an increase from 19 percent a year ago.

Yet 24.7 percent of those surveyed said their marketing-accountability efforts are confined to the marketing department--suggesting that finance and other departments are not on board, which slows adoption of the ROI metrics. Plus, only 36 percent of those surveyed said their ROI efforts are accepted by the finance division and/or cross-functional teams, further hindering adoption.

Additional evidence that ROI lacks company-wide fervor: 65 percent of those surveyed said top-level management understands marketing's impact on sales to be a critical metric (up from 56 percent last year.) But only 32 percent indicated that top executives were taking action on the issue.



The ANA believes the most efficacious way to put successful ROI metrics in place is for the marketing group to work in tandem with other departments, such as finance, IT, and strategic planning. The topic is a timely one as marketers--and their counterparts in finance--are increasingly looking for ways to gauge the effectiveness of their ad spending.

"We are pleased to see that marketers are moving up the accountability curve," says Bob Liodice, President-CEO of the ANA. "However, organizational hurdles are still holding back the adoption of accountability. We continue to work with our members to disseminate practical information to help marketers break through the organizational silos that hinder the creation of a true culture of accountability."

Liodice suggested that companies explore a model put in place by Wachovia, which created a "marketing accountability czar." That post serves as an interface between the marketing and finance groups and helps develop metrics that are agreeable to both. Liodice added that it took the banking giant three years to be "fully comfortable" with the role.

The third annual marketing accountability survey, conducted by Marketing Management Analytics (MMA) for the ANA and the ANA's Marketing Accountability Task Force, was conducted in April and May. It surveyed over 100 marketing executives with the rank of vice president or higher. Respondents were from a variety of industries, including automotive, apparel, financial services, and food and beverage.

It is difficult for a marketing group to develop ROI metrics and then convince the finance department to use them as its gauge for satisfactory investment, says John Nardone, an executive who worked on the study for MMA. He says it can seem as if "marketing is from Venus and finance is from Mars."

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