If you own or work for an Orlando marketing agency — or you just love advertising — it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And we’re not talking about the holiday season.
The 2018 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Masters of Marketing conference recently wrapped up in Orlando — and there was plenty to discuss, both at the event and afterward.
Let’s take a minute to review some of the highlights of the event, and some of the most important takeaways for advertising and marketing professionals.
The buzz around in-house agencies is mostly noise
You may have heard recent chatter about the reported trend of brands developing their own in-house agency capabilities — a conversation that dominated much of the discussion at this year’s Masters of Marketing Conference.
At least one observer, however, believes there is less to this than meets the eye. Speaking in an interview with Ad Age, Avi Dan, an advertising consultant with decades of experience on the brand side, said he hadn’t seen “a single brand-building campaign” that originated from an in-house agency.
Dan added that while some work may be best handled internally, the notion that in-house agencies would become a significant player in the near-term is groundless. Other presenters at the conference pointed out that many brands simply lack the expertise and resources (particularly in areas such as programmatic buying and data analytics) to effectively handle operations in-house.
The latest on the FBI and media buying
Another eyebrow-raising topic at this year’s conference was the FBI’s probe into the media buying practices of certain ad agencies. The topic was the subject of a talk given by the ANA’s top attorney, Doug Wood, during the conference.
The probe is exploring allegations that a handful of agencies engaged in deceptive and non-transparent practices, including collecting cash rebates from media vendors and not passing them along to clients. The ANA released a white paper on the topic in November to better explain the issue to the advertising community.
Wood said that the result of the probe (which could potentially spark reforms toward greater transparency in the industry) should be known in six to twelve months.
The word of the week was “purpose”
One buzzword made repeated appearances during conference presentations: Purpose. Marketing execs from FedEx, eBay and Ancestry repeatedly hammered home the importance of “brand purpose” during presentations.
Vineet Mehra, Ancestry’s Global CMO, defined brand purpose as the ability to “enable journeys of personal discovery that collectively inspire a world of greater understanding and belonging.”
Meanwhile, Rajesh Subramaniam, FedEx’s Chief Marketing and Communication Officer, concurred, saying that marketers are only just beginning to “unlock the power of purpose.” Suzy Deering, EBay’s North American CMO, called brand purpose “incredibly important,” also adding that it’s “is not going away.”
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