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ANA Report Shows Marketing's 'Red Flags'
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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It won't come as a big surprise to anyone in AdLand that a report found that the way marketing operates in Corporate America is more than a little troublesome. We all know that the best companies that engage in marketing are proactive, while the majority of companies and businesses use marketing as a reactionary method to band-aid an issue marketing wasn't meant to fix.

We realize that our industry still resembles the business of cat-herding, with everyone running around everywhere without clear objectives.

And this report done by the ANA's Marketer's Edge arm in conjunction with GfK is no exception. McKingsey & Company provided the ANA with a little write-up and press release about some of the key findings. Below are the five "red flags" identified that marketers need to work on in order to keep pace in the marketplace.

1. Lack of focus. Again, no surprise. The writers suggest brands clearly identify where the value is that they provide for customers and then develop a coherent strategy.

2. Capabilities. Marketers continue to invest and try out the next best and better things. Though adapting new technologies isn't new for the smaller marketing agencies and companies, we can see adopting new ways to do things in a large company being a big deal.

3. Customer experience. According to the report, 13 percent of managers said they were successful at focusing on customer experience, and knew the factors that affected it. Yikes.

4. Data, data, data. Though marketers know that data is incredibly important, only 10 percent of them believe that they are using it effectively enough to drive business performance.

5. Too slow. A marketing initiative takes about six months to make it to market. In this business environment, that is truly a little on the slow side. Our consumption-based economy created consumers who are conditioned to be satisfied instantly, so failing to deliver instantly puts businesses at a disadvantage. 

The report highlights some pretty cool things, but all in all, it is telling us what AdLand already knows: things need to change. We need to get faster. We need to invest more on the front end rather than the back and be proactive so brands aren't always playing catch-up.

But being proactive involves risk, and sometimes the C-Suite doesn't like putting money where it doesn't already see results. 

That's how we fall behind.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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