ANA Reports No Progress in Racial and Ethnic Diversity of the Marketing and Advertising Industry

December 9, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

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

ANA Lack of Diversity Among CMOs Dec2020Not much has changed this year when it comes to ethnic and racial diversity in the role of CMO or its equivalent. A survey of members of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) shows that although women have made strides in the role of CMO, the same cannot be said for racial or ethnic groups.

Of the 870 ANA client-side marketer members identified as CMO or CMO-equivalent, an outsized 88% were White, while just 5% were Asian, 4% Hispanic and 3% African American. Indeed, there has been very little noticeable change in the representation of race or ethnicity in the role since 2018, with the report noting that “there remains significant work to do in attaining ethnic diversity”.

There is better news when it comes to gender. A little more than half (52%) of members in the role of CMO are now female. This is up from 47% in 2019. Research from Spencer Stuart likewise has revealed similar growth for women in the role of CMO.

Overall Membership Not Much Better

Looking at the ANA membership as a whole, there is somewhat less of a gap in the representation of ethnicity, though diversity remains lacking. Among the close to 28,000 members who responded to the questions about ethnicity, about three-quarters (74%) identified as White. The next-largest ethnic group was Asian, which represented 10% of the overall membership, followed by Hispanics (8%), African Americans (6%) and those identifying as Other (2%).

Again, there has been no noticeable change in the representation of ethnic groups across ANA membership in the past two years

There has also been little change in the representation of women in the fields of marketing and advertising, though, the scales fall in favor of women in this case. In fact, the ANA has twice as many female members (67%) than male members (33%).

What Lack of Diversity Means to Consumers

There are consequences to this lack of diversity in marketing. As seen in separate research, the amount of advertising spend allocated to media that focuses on Black Americans is merely a small fraction of total US ad spend and disproportionately small to Black Americans’ share of the population.

Horowitz Research has found that about one-quarter (23%) of multicultural consumers believe that the ad industry ignores them. The same report shows that close to two-fifths (38%) of all respondents believe that ads that portray diversity are a reflection of the true essence of the US. Separately, a survey from Adobe found that a large portion of African-American (53%) and Hispanic (40%) respondents have walked away from a brand for not representing them in its advertising. And of course, editorializing here, ethical considerations should be even more important than the bottom-line impact for companies; note that for consumers themselves corporate social responsibility is increasingly important, according to GlobalWebIndex.

Finally, research also reveals the future holds an even more diverse population that marketers and advertisers will need to recognize, as about half of the Millennial and Gen Z populations in the US are either Hispanic, Asian, or African American.

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

About the Data: Findings are based on 30,940 of ANA overall members who provided diversity information. Data on ANA member CMOs is an analysis of the 870 CMO or CMO-equivalent client-side marketer company members.


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