ANA takeaway #5: Equality for Quality

ANA takeaway #5: Equality for Quality

When attending events, within marketing and across other sectors, it often feels as though on the planning check list there is a ‘must have at least one female speaker’.

“Listening to the talks at the ANA I was inspired that we are at least starting to move in the right direction”

I know that this really is often the case, and I also understand why. It is important to drive these things. 

However, this enforcement emphasizes the infancy of equality within that particular industry. 

Whilst marketing has always done better than other industries, across B2B with sectors like construction and finance, it has trailed behind. 

And so it was refreshing to reflect back after the ANA event and take note of the high number of senior women with key speaking slots. And they had them because of the strategic, unique and creative work that they are driving. Not just because a box needed to be ticked. 

I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that this increase in gender equality is happening at the same time marketers and their peers are questioning the current default and highlighting the importance of emotion and purpose within B2B. 

Because I believe with more diverse people, comes more diverse work. 

The narrative of diversity within the industry, and workforce seems quite understandably focused on equal opportunities. A valid and important rationale. 

But diversity is also essential to the quality of our work as marketers. 

Not only should we be more reflective of society – we should be respectful with the role our work plays in shaping our society. 

If the imagery across your finance campaign is predominately one type of person – that perpetuates the image of who that industry is for. And who it’s not. 

It is our purpose and responsibility to be the voice of the customer. In order to do so, we must accept the diversity within our world and be willing to both understand it and reflect it.

It’s impossible to truly do that if your company is built up of the same type of person.

Because if that is the case, it’s going to be impossible for you to spot any unconscious biases you may have.  

Listening to the talks at the ANA I was inspired that we are at least starting to move in the right direction – and doing so with amazing work. Rather than just box ticking. 

I was also surprised to see the balance within the ANA membership. Considering the sectors, the below stats surprised me; 

  • 47/ 88 Banking and finance CMOs are female 
  • 23/ 50 Technology CMOs are female 
  • 27/ 45 Sports and Entertainment CMOs are female 

But we must acknowledge that gender equality is only one part of the diversity puzzle. And as an industry we do pretty badly on the bigger picture.  

But the more we are cognizant of these things, the greater the speed of change. Which will benefit us all. 

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This is the third in our series of key takeaway posts covering the 5 main themes that came out of the ANA Masters of B2B Conference in Chicago

[Header photo: Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash]