The American Marketing Association has released a new definition of marketing, a mere three-plus years after their last one!
Supposedly to reflect marketing’s broader role in society the new definition reads:
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients,partners and society at large.
One of the most important changes to the AMA’s new definition of marketing is that marketing is presented as a broader activity,states Nancy Costopulos,CMO of the American Marketing Association.Marketing is no longer a function — it is an educational process.
I think the folks who need educating on this is the AMA. This definition has the inherent look and feel of a committee decision trying to please too many self-interested members. I shudder at the thought that this will now be the official definition of marketing in books and taught in universities across the USA as AMA claims.
And what’s the value to society at large that comes from marketing bubble gum, handguns, child pornography, religious fanaticism, Japanese whaling expeditions in the name of science, and xenophobia? Whether the AMA likes it or not the proponents of all these use marketing processes and techniques.
I wonder which set of institutions are now part and parcel of the definition of marketing. Only those who join the AMA? Every organization that has customers is engaged in marketing. My motto: if it touches the customer, it’s a marketing issue. You don’t need to be an intitution, or use one, to engage in marketing.
The last time AMA came up with a new definition of marketing was way back in 2004! That definition read:
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.
At least the 2004 changes were a huge improvement on the previous one (created in 1985) which read: marketing is the process of planning and executing conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of goods, ideas and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.
If the AMA felt a need to improve on its three-year old definition, I would have personally recommended the following:
Marketing is an organization-wide function, activity and set of process to create and keep good customers by creating, communicating, and deliverying value to customers to the benefit of its customers, the organization and its stakeholders.
Now that’s a definition that wouldn’t need updating and amending any time soon.