2019 ANAFM Conference – Amazing Highlights

I was fortunate enough to participate in the 2019 ANA Financial Management Conference (in Phoenix, AZ) ! It is a record breaking year with over 800 people signing up to attend.  Join me in reviewing the highlights and events at the beautiful location of the JW Marriott Resort and Spa. This definitely was an event to remember!

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JW Marriott Resort and Spa - Phoenix, AZ
Follow the green brick road...
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Networking with Iain Seers

This years’ ANAFM was one for the books.  I made some amazing new connections (let’s not forget the old!). Top that off with entertaining and informative presentations – it made for a good year.  I’m not going to delve into the details for everything, but I will give you an overview of the best-of-class and tidbits of information to digest.

The conference started off with the Media Planning and Buying compensation presentation. There was a lot of information on methods of commissions costs, trends in purchasing along with details specifics commission rates (check out the slides below). It was a bit disappointing to have the presenter start off by saying the data set was on the small side; therefore, the report ran a possibility of being skewed. (A little CYA if you ask me).

[metaslider id=5908]But, similar to benchmarking I’ve seen, it did validate that if you are paying >10.5% Commission on Media buying and planning – you might want to have a serious conversation with your agency. Don’t worry it’s an easy conversation. They’ve been waiting for your call for a while now.

There were two subsequent presentations were that took us to 6pm, and both were supplier driven. A good fun fact I learned, was the average return on ad revenue is $4/ad. Also, the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) Industry leads the industry in $1 Trillion in spending for impact investing. Who knew?

Mastercard Commercial


My favorite presentation was on the Global MasterCard rebrand. It had been over 20 years since they had made a change so you knew it was going to be epic. I mean, removing the name and leaving two circles is genius, am I right? Kidding. It was really insightful to see the amount of work that had to be done for a brand of this size. Nothing was overlooked.

Especially the details around the thing we typically don’t think about. Like that little noise when you check out, or associated sound in a commercial that has to maintain consistency across different regions, cultures, and devices. He spent 20 minutes just going through the adaptations that had to be made. 

You’d think you might be napping, but I was so entertained – I completely forgot to take pictures of the slides! But if you check out their commercial to the left, you can hear the check-out sound bite and branded tone they spent probably tens of millions (if not more) coming up with.


2019 Upcoming Legal Issues 


This was second on my list of favorites.  Let me tell you why…

Now you’d think this subject would be a snoozer, but considering there is an FBI investigation into the Media fraud (on kickbacks) that was discovered back in 2014, it was actually entertaining.

Even the risk regarding the use of social influencers and the “crack-down” so to speak on using ‘#ad’ to ensure the general public is knowledgeable about the information they are receiving was touched on.

Considering Pharma is just diving into this area, there are a lot of legal concerns that need to be addressed prior to moving forward with their use.

Check out the slide show to the right to get further detail on the moving parts from the FTC, UN implications on privacy policy, and best practices to address the issues.


General Overview of other Presentations / Subjects:

  • In-housing of Agencies – Very big this year and in a magnitude of different presentations. They focused on the amount of savings you could produce by in-housing your agency.  Even having a hybrid approach by having staff on sight to expedite the creative process was an intriguing thought. Living in Pharma/Biotech industry, it probably will stay in the “best practices” section of my presentations for awhile.
  • Bot Fraud – I’ve been hearing about this subject since my initial attendance in 2014, when they gave the first download of the study. Honestly, you’d really think they would have a better solution to considering there is about $6.5 Billion in global losses (according to the May 2017 ANA/White Ops study). But, considering the complexity and size of the prize, I’m sure it will be around for a few more years to come.
  • Best Practices for Agency Relationships – You can’t beat partnerships, transparency, success definitions and details around briefs. Seems simple, but it can make a huge impact if you mess any of them up.


Networking – Maybe it was the fact there was over 800 to be in attendance, or maybe it’s because I was more open than usual. Either way this year and event was probably the most fruitful of any networking event I can remember in a long time.  I’ve met long time career stealers, new connections in the Pharma/Biotech space and even some contacts for my blog!  Great people + booze = Good times networking.

2019 ANA Financial Management Conference
2019 ANA Financial Management Conference

New (to me) in 2019

  • The ‘swag’ or promotional items.  From the laptop bag and water bottle, to a charger for an iphone and USB type C, it was better than in previous years.
  • It appeared there were a lot less exhibitors than normal.  But there did appear to  be more “sponsors” so maybe the shift happened for changes in pricing.
  • Commercials. After presentations. From sponsors.  Genius.
  • Very few panels/rountables. *Slowly claps*
  • The ability to download the presentations post-event (if you are a member).  Can’t say they didn’t have this before, but can’t remember them having it the last time either.

Useful Conference / Supplier Links:

Active International  – without them the event would be extremely limited.

Reed Smith LLP – in case you need legal advice.

Beekman Associates / RightSpend – Consulting. RighSpend Tool for agency management, SRM, RFP, etc.

Check out my related blog on the implementation of RightSpend – LINK

Decideware Blog on the Conference – LINK

Don’t have a lot of time to read?  Then check out my weekly blog on Category Management Mondays that gives you tips in under 5 minutes!

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