A Good Day For Marketing

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I came across two news items that struck me today.

First up was a news item from BtoB Magazine titled, American Marketing Association Releases New Definition of Marketing.

You ready?

Here it is:

"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."

“’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.’"

What was the old version?

"Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders."

Semantics? Real value? Did anyone know/care that there was a definition for Marketing?

Next up, a news item from Marketing Charts titled, Positive Outlook For Marketing Spend, Better Accountability And Analytics.

Based on the annual Marketing Outlook survey conducted by the CMO Council, over 825 senior Marketing professionals across the world were surveyed and the results uncovered some interesting findings.

“’It’s not just what they’re spending, it’s where dollars are going and how effectively they are being used,’ noted Donovan Neale-May, the CMO Council’s executive director. ‘There’s definitely more attention to the analytics side of the business and the use of more tangible and targeted forms of personal interaction, contextual communication and online demand generation.’"

In looking at the list of where the Marketing dollars are being allocated, here’s the leaderboard:

1. Strategy and branding.

2. Events and trade shows.

3. Operations.

4. Direct marketing (including telemarketing, mailings, email).

5. Sales support.

6. Online marketing (website, SEO, SEM, viral, podcasts/blogs, communities).

7. Advertising.

8. Market research.

9. Systems.

10. Merchandising and promotions.

11. Public and analyst relations.

12. Customer data integration and analytics.

So, we know how to define it and where the growth is going to come from.

Good news for Marketing?


  1. Those definitions exist purely to force first-year marketing students to memorize them and regurgitate them on exams.
    I should know. I was one of said first-year marketing students, once upon a time.
    On that note, anyone remember the 4 Ps?

  2. Interestingly, I am one of those first year marketing students. You soon come to realise marketing is oh so much broader, but you need to start somewhere. And that definition is better than “just selling stuff” which is what most first year students start with.
    Similar case with the four P’s.

  3. Interesting to see that marketing bodies keep broadening the definition of their discipline. The wider remit of communicating and building relationships beyond customers is actually already defined as public relations. If they get much wider though, this will simply be a definition of management not marketing.
    BTW, Christopher S. Penn’s “definition” is that of persuasion. Marketing may be a persuasive function, but that doesn’t make all persuasion part of marketing.

  4. “It is an educational process” is code for propaganda.
    Mind you, my problem lies not with propaganda in itself. Rather, I wish the public was media literate in order to balance the ill-fated intentions that a small minority of marketers have. (Namely politicians and swindlers.)

  5. I agree with Heather. It’s interesting to see the lofty expansion of the activity suggested in the phrase “and society at large”. Dictionaries will need to scramble to recognize that the root word of the activity (market) has shucked its intended meaning.

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