If a single word could represent the U.S. marketing industry in 2016, what would it be? According to the members of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), that word is "transparency."
During the week of Nov. 28, ANA surveyed its members online, asking them to vote on the Marketing Word of the Year from a list of final selections prepared by ANA staff. A total of 267 members participated, and “transparency” received the most votes.
The selection reflected the June release of a transparency study ANA conducted in conjunction with K2 Intelligence that showed widespread allegations of various non-transparent business activities by ad agencies and media agencies throughout the U.S. media ecosystem.
Other top choices in the 2016 Marketing Word of the Year voting were "customer experience," "content marketing," "influencer" and "programmatic." It was the third consecutive year for which ANA announced a Marketing Word of the Year. Previous winners were content marketing (2015) and programmatic (2014).
“It’s no surprise that our members chose 'transparency' as the Marketing Word of the Year,” ANA chief executive officer Bob Liodice said. “Our media transparency study was one of our most important initiatives, and it sparked fundamental behavioral changes among marketers and in the industry here and around the world.”
A representative selection of verbatim comments from ANA members who voted for transparency as the ANA 2016 ANA Marketing Word of the Year included:
- (Transparency) is the single most important issue in marketing and has the greatest potential benefit in terms of improving marketing ROI (return on investment).
- Transparency, or lack of transparency, defines all media agency relationships and provides a new perspective to consider these relationships.
- The K2 findings have served as a milestone encouraging change in how clients and agencies partner on media deals.
- Fraud and lack of transparency are killing the digital ecosystem for advertisers.
- Because of the important K2 report and the light it shed on the broken agency/client model, coming to a common ground that works for marketers is crucial to the future of this relationship.
- Transparency affects everything we communicate in marketing, from our product formulations and labels to how we communicate in all channels to our internal culture.
- Consumers want to do business with brands they can trust. That goes to the heart of transparency.
- Trust between agencies and clients has never seemed worse, especially in the world of programmatic and data.