ANA Finds Most of Its Members Maintain Supplier Diversity Programs
ANA CEO Bob Liodice
But only 40% have such strategies in place for marketing & advertising 
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A large majority (75 percent) of ANA (Association of National Advertisers) members have strategic plans in place to hire suppliers with diverse backgrounds for their overall organizations, but only 40 percent have such strategies specifically for marketing and advertising services.

Those are two of the key findings in a new ANA study, “The Power of Supplier Diversity,” which also revealed that among those with a supplier diversity strategy, the top segments targeted are women-owned (98 percent), ethnic/minority-owned (95 percent), veteran-owned (90 percent), LGBTQ-owned (88 percent), and disability-owned (80 percent).

The biggest benefit of a supplier diversity strategy is community empowerment and positive social impact (for the community), which were cited by 84 percent of respondents.

“This important report shows that overall supplier diversity programs have existed at a significant majority of ANA members for quite some time, and that’s good news,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice.  “However, our industry needs to improve the number of programs directly impacting advertising and marketing services to reflect changing demographics and to do what’s right for our communities.”

The report cited the challenges companies face in establishing an effective diversity strategy; 62 percent cited identifying opportunities for diverse suppliers and 54 percent reported difficulties finding diverse suppliers.

In the report a supplier diversity strategy was defined as “a proactive business program which encourages the use of women-owned, ethnic/minority-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ-owned, disability-owned, and small businesses as suppliers.”

The study, which included qualitative and qualitative research, was designed to gain an understanding of the incidence of supplier diversity programs as well as benefits, challenges, spend, goals, measurement, and influence, among other elements.

A majority of respondents (57 percent) characterized their supplier diversity strategy as “established,” which was defined as an “active program, traction within the business and with leadership, winning on goals, minimal business integration.”  Twenty-three percent indicated their programs were “advanced” while 20 percent described them “beginning.”

Conclusions, Recommendations

  • There is a strong connection between diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity, the report said. Those companies demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion are also likely to have more mature supplier diversity strategies.
  • U.S. Census figures confirm that today’s consumers are increasingly diverse. A strong supplier diversity program helps ensure that a company’s suppliers reflect the communities it serves.
  • The top challenge in supplier diversity is finding opportunities for diverse suppliers. As such, companies should follow the “rule of one” — ideally including at least one diverse supplier in every RFP, if relevant.
  • Another key challenge is finding diverse suppliers. To address this issue, ANA plans to curate a list of diverse suppliers that work in the advertising/marketing industries and solicit additional contributions from others.   

The survey was sent to members of the ANA’s marketing and media committees in February 2020. In total, 105 client-side marketers participated.  To supplement the quantitative results, twelve in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted, which provided additional insights and perspective.

Regarding the respondents:

  • 66 percent worked in marketing/advertising for at least ten years, and 40 percent for at least 15 years.
  • 52 percent work at organizations with a 2019 media budget of $100 million or more.
  • For 33 percent of respondents, their businesses are primarily business-to-consumer, while 22 percent are primarily business-to-business and 45 percent are both.

Click here for a copy of the complete study.


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