I've just been fortunate enough to spend a fascinating day in the bosom of the biggest advertisers in the US. The ANA's Master of Marketing conference is a gathering of the great and the good of the Fortune 500, many of whom control multi-million dollar budgets. It's a mouth watering opportunity to observe, learn and network with the industry's finest.

In his opening remarks, the ANA CEO Bob Liodice seemed in robust mood, laying down a challenge to the attendees to show some guts and courage to drive growth across all industry sectors. He pulled no punches in saying that the declining after-tax profits of the Fortune 500 were a sad indictment on marketing as profession.

Coming as I do from the UK, it's fascinating to watch both the self-congratulatory presentations mixed with highly introspective and critical comments from the industry. So much cool thinking and creativity was showcased that one can only be inspired by the quality of the work on display. But at the same time, it would seem that despite this wonderful creativity, the US marketing industry is at a cross-roads. 

Clearly, the ANA feels more needs to be done. The ultimate measure of marketing and therefore of the industry is the ability to drive growth. And if profits have declined then Liodice's call to action must be heeded. I only hope that the fine work of the ANA does not paralyze creativity and that it truly does unlock the potential that every speaker highlighted during the day.