US Marketing and Advertising Industry Still Lacks Racial and Ethnic Diversity

December 5, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Asian-American | Business of Marketing | Demographics & Audiences | Hispanic | Staffing | Women

Although there seems to have been significant progress in lessening the gender gap in marketing, with the number of female CMOs compared to male CMOs reaching near parity, the same cannot be said when it comes to diversity. Indeed, when the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) surveyed [download page] its members, it found no progress since last year in the multicultural representation among CMOs.

Of the more than 13,700 ANA members who responded to the question of ethnicity, one-quarter (25%) identified as an ethnicity other than white. Asians (9%) make up the largest non-white ethnicity, followed by Hispanic/Latino (8%) and African-American/Black (6%), with the remaining 2% identifying as ‘other.’

However the multicultural gap widens in leadership positions, as only 12% of member CMOs identify as African-American/Black (3%), Asian (5%) or Hispanic/Latino (4%). This percentage has actually slipped slightly from 13% in 2018, when 5% of member CMOs were Hispanic/Latino.

Lack of ethnic diversity in the role of CMO is not unique to ANA members. Indeed, in an annual analysis of CMOs of the most advertised brands in the US, Spencer Stuart found that only 9.6% of the CMOs were multicultural, a percentage even lower than the two years prior.

When it comes to gender, the outlook is better, although it hasn’t reached complete equality. Only 47% of member CMOs are female. This is despite the majority (68%) of overall ANA members being female.

Lack of diversity goes beyond CMOs and advertisers and into how much is spent in advertising to multicultural consumers, with a study from PQ Media and ANA finding that advertising directed towards various races and ethnicities is significantly below their population share. Nonetheless, consumers do report seeing more diversity in advertising than they did a few years ago.

To read more, the full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on 13,781 of ANA overall members who provided diversity information. Data on ANA member CMOs is an analysis of the 820 CMO or CMO-equivalent client-side marketer company members.


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