Advertising Groups Come Together in Blockbuster Acquisition

The Association of National Advertisers will take control of the Data & Marketing Association, creating the largest association in the world devoted to advertising and marketing. The acquisition is ANA’s fifth since 2014.

The Association of National Advertisers has been in the midst of a recent run of mergers and acquisitions as part of its long-term strategy, but the latest addition to its stable is the biggest yet.

It’s so big, in fact, that the addition of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) will make ANA the largest marketing and advertising association in the world. The acquisition, approved by both organizations’ boards this week, will create an organization that represents 2,000 corporations, 20,000 individual brands, and 150,000 people that work within the industry. The two groups also share much history—between the two of them, more than 200 collective years of advocacy work.

As part of the acquisition agreement, which still must be formally approved by DMA’s voting membership, DMA will remain a standalone division within ANA, and the association’s subsidiaries, the DMA Nonprofit Federation and the Email Experience Council, will continue to operate under the new structure.

In a news release, ANA CEO Bob Liodice noted that the merger adds value to both organizations by creating a combined organization that represents nearly every part of the marketing and advertising process.

“The combination of these two venerable institutions brings immense value to both member bases, as they will share a wide array of valuable resources and leadership platforms,” Liodice stated.

DMA CEO Tom Benton, in a letter to existing DMA members, explained that the combination of the two organizations reflected just how fundamental data has become to advertising and marketing.

“DMA and ANA have long shared similar beliefs and purpose, and as advertisers pivot toward data-driven marketing the timing is perfect for these two organizations to combine their complementary efforts to drive growth for individuals, organizations, and the industry that delivers value to consumers, businesses and nonprofit fundraisers,” Benton explained.

Benton’s letter goes on to detail the benefits of sharing the organization’s resources with a larger association.

For both organizations, the move comes after years of recent change. In the case of DMA, the association had rebranded from its former name, the Direct Marketing Association, less than two years ago, citing the growing importance of data in the marketing diet.

Meanwhile, for ANA, this isn’t even its first acquisition of 2018. In January, the association acquired the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Before that, the association had acquired the Business Marketing Association, the Brand Activation Association, and the Advertising Educational Foundation.

(mikdam/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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