The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has announced that it is acquiring the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). Founded in 2004, WOMMA supports ethical word-of-mouth marketing practices through education, professional development, networking opportunities and knowledge sharing with industry marketers. Its membership is made up of companies committed to progressing the word-of-mouth marketing industry through advocacy, education and ethics.

“This is an important day for the ANA,” says ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “Just as our previous acquisitions allowed us to increase member services in disciplines where we found ourselves wanting, this opportunity allows us to focus more on word of mouth marketing and social media than we’ve been able to do in the past. It’s a boon for our members and a significant step in our evolution as a national trade organization dedicated to serving all facets of the marketing community.”

Liodice says the WOMMA agreement will enhance the ANA’s benefits portfolio through additional professional development opportunities, webinars, conferences, local events and an awards program dedicated to word of mouth marketing.

“All of us at WOMMA are thrilled to join the ranks of the ANA,” says Spike Jones, chair of the WOMMA board and VP of strategy at Spredfast. “We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished for the word of mouth industry in the research, ethics and influencer/advocacy spaces, and now the next evolution of WOMMA begins. Becoming a division of the ANA allows us to take full advantage of the resources, diverse member base and thought-leadership the ANA has carefully cultivated.”

The move marks the latest step in the ANA’s evolution and long-term growth plans and follows similar acquisitions made in 2014 and 2015. In December 2014, the ANA acquired the Business Marketing Association, which was founded in 1922. Five months prior, the ANA acquired the Brand Activation Association, which was founded in 1911 and was previously known as the Promotion Marketing Association. Both the BMA and the BAA have since become ANA divisions. In addition, in 2015, the Advertising Educational Foundation joined the ANA as its educational arm and is now known as the ANA Educational Foundation.