“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
It will be used as the official definition of marketing in books and taught in university lecture halls nationwide, according to the AMA.
“One of the most important changes to American Marketing Association’s new definition for marketing is that marketing is presented as a broader activity,” said Nancy Costopulos, CMO of the American Marketing Association. “Marketing is no longer a function—it is an educational process.”
Having been in marketing since 1976 I don't have the slightest f$cking idea what any of this means. This kind of mental masturbation is exactly why marketing drives most CEO's up the wall.
PS: Is there a typo in the definition? Or is it just really tedious? Maybe its me...
Update 01.17.08: This post is getting a bit of traction so I wanted to elaborate just a touch...
Marketers can't get marketing right in a small enterprise - how do they expect then to have any success expanding to society at large? Before AMA broadens the role of marketing they need to narrow it first, and master the basic fundamentals that generate enterprise profit. Any notion that marketing "is no longer a function" is silly. Most importantly marketing is not an educational process - it is a competitive enterprise that generates marketplace winners and losers. Last, any marketing definition that does not include the words profit, share or sales is functionally bankrupt.
Update 01.21.08: Having criticized the AMA definition of marketing I wanted to offer up my definition. This is a work in progress but substantially represents my notion of marketing based upon 31 some odd years of actually "doing it":
Marketing is ideas and actions that generate increasingly profitable market share.
There, that's Smock's definition of marketing. I'm not imposing it on anyone - if you hire me to do a campaign and want to know what my definition of marketing is - that's it.
Update 01.22.08: Laura Patterson has a good article up at Marketing Profs describing how CMO's can thrive. She uses CMO Anthony Palmer's quote about the role of marketing which is timely, based upon the AMA's new definition of marketing. This is what Anthony says:
"the role of a CMO is really pretty simple. You can't ever lose sight of the fact that your role is to sell more stuff to more people for more money more often.
Update 02.05.08: Putting the AMA definition of marketing into context...
A CEO is interviewing two candidates for the CMO slot in his mid-sized enterprise. He's running a typical American enterprise - limited resources, cutthroat competition, dwindling margins, etc., etc. The CEO asks each candidate "how do you define marketing?".
Candidate one answers:
"Marketing is ideas and actions that generate increasingly profitable market share."
Candidate two answers:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Marketing is not a function—it is an educational process.”
So you're the CEO - who do you hire?
BtoB's Matthew Schwartz interviewed me and AMA CMO Nancy Costopulos recently about my postings on the AMA's new definition of marketing. The interview is in the current BtoB Magazine. You can read it here online. In a nutshell this is what Costopulos said about my comments:
Nancy Costopulos, CMO of the AMA, said the association had anticipated some dissent. "We think it's healthy for the profession to have a dialogue and a conversation," about the new definition, she said. She added that 70% of 1,000 marketers responding to queries about the new definition said it was an improvement on the prior definition. Of the revision Costopulos said: "It's not just about marketing in management but marketing at a higher level."
So marketing in management is at a "lower" level? Than what?
Former President of the AMA's Boston Chapter John Cass is having an interesting conversation over on his blog about the AMA's new definition of marketing. Click here to read his blog. Highly recommend it.
Bob Sullivan has a good post up describing the blogosphere reaction to the AMA definition:
Of course, I’ve read a few (very few) positive comments. Unfortunately, those read like the new definition itself – wordy, vague, and difficult to understand. I quit reading after the first sentence or two.
Read his post here.
No offense to anyone personally at the AMA, but jeez. This is the kind of stuff that makes it so hard for non-marketing people – technical, sales and operations types for example – to take us seriously.
Bill Ward, Collegiate Relations Chair for the RAMA board likes the new definition:
I was pleased to see that the AMA announced an updated marketing definition. The AMA reviews the definition every few years and makes changes if necessary to reflect the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of marketing. I believe the new version more accurately reflects the interaction and control of the marketing process at the individual level (not just organizational) with the growing influence of online social media and consumer created content on society at large.
Read his post here.
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