Accountability Tops Marketing Executives' Concerns

"Accountability" was ranked number one on the list of the top 10 concerns senior marketing executives expect to face in 2013, according to a new survey released by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).This is the third year since the survey has started being conducted, in 2006,  that accountability topped this list.

The survey's findings show that the marketing community's top five issues—accountability, integrated marketing communications, aligning the marketing organization with innovation, building strong brands, and media proliferation—have remained consistent since 2006, although their rankings have shifted over the years.

"Accountability continues to be a relentless quest to ensure that marketing dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective way. There is definitely a link between many of these top categories—particularly media proliferation, integrated marketing, and accountability," said ANA Group Executive Vice President Bill Duggan.

According to the ANA survey, in 2007 and 2008, integrated marketing communications was the top area of concern for senior marketers, while accountability ranked number two. Media proliferation remained the top fifth concern in all ANA surveys.

"There's just an increasing number of media platforms available, and the good news part of that is that with these increasing numbers of platforms, marketers can specifically target their messages, " Duggan says. "But that also complicates life because there are many more potential media platforms to evaluate and it takes a longer time to accumulate reach than back in the old days."

Being ready for innovation and being able to integrate it and monitor it in an effective manner is another challenge companies face when building stronger brands. Many companies are setting up specific job functions and/or internal teams/departments to tackle integration, innovation, and social media.

"I think that now more than ever, the client needs to lead integration. An interesting trend that we've seen with integration is that there are more ANA member companies that are setting up specific integrative marketing departments or job functions to help lead the integration process," Duggan noted.

Another notable shift seen in the survey is that the "globalization of marketing efforts," ranked the No. 10 concern in the 2006 ANA survey, is now the sixth top concern for marketing executives, as more companies look to emerging markets for growth opportunities.

"I think that the globalization of marketing efforts will be one concern that will only increase for our members, because ninety-five percent of the world's potential customers are outside the U.S.," Duggan added. "Another trend we've seen is somewhat of a decrease in very specific multicultural targeting— my Hispanic effort, my African American effort—and a greater increase in targeting an increasingly multicultural nation more holistically."

Filling out the list of top concerns were getting great advertising creative that achieves business success (7), attracting and retaining top talent (8), consumer control over what and how they view advertising (9), and growth of multicultural segments (10).

The ANA Senior Marketers' Top Concerns surveys were conducted in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013. The 2013 survey was taken by 155 marketing executives online in December 2012 and January 2013. Respondents averaged 18 years of experience in the marketing/advertising industry.

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