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AMA's definition of marketing stirs debate

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The American Marketing Association's recently updated definition of marketing has sparked a bit of a brouhaha. The definition, the first update in four years, reads: "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 universities nationwide, according to the AMA. Big mistake, said Mike Smock, managing director of marketing consultancy vSente, who blogs about marketing. In a post, Smock wrote that the definition may lead marketers down the primrose path. "Marketers can hardly get it right in small enterprises; how are they going to extend that to society at large?" he told BtoB. "The bottom line is CEOs are disgruntled with marketing, and this definition doesn't help," Smock said. The new definition gets away "from the fundamentals, like sales, revenue, margins and market share." 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." Still, Smock is less than impressed. In response, he posted his own definition of marketing: "Marketing is ideas and actions that generate increasingly profitable market share." Read more on Smock's blog.
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