Title: New definition of marketing reinforces idea of integration.
Authors: Schultz, Don E.1 dschultz@northwestern.edu
Source: Marketing News; 1/15/2005, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p8-8, 2/3p
Document Type: Article
Subject Terms: *ASSOCIATIONS, institutions, etc.
*INTEGRATED marketing
Geographic Terms: UNITED States
Abstract: Focuses on the new American Marketing Association (AMA) definition of marketing in the U.S. Discussion on the principles of integrated marketing; Information on customer-based marketing redefined by AMA; Details of methodologies and approaches in marketing.
Author Affiliations: 1Professor, integrated marketing communications, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Full Text Word Count: 862
ISSN: 0025-3790
Accession Number: 15526070
Database: Business Source Elite
New definition of marketing reinforces idea of integration

There's an old saw that goes: "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck."

A wave of recognition of "looks like and quacks like ... " rolled over me when I saw the new American Marketing Association (AMA) definition of marketing, released last August.

To understand my reaction, it's important to understand the new "looks and quacks" the AMA has introduced. For example, since 1985, the AMA had defined their namesake as: "Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of goods, ideas and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals."

That fit perfectly with the traditional marketing mantra of the four P's: product, price, place (or distribution) and promotion. This concept was formalized by Jerome McCarthy, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, in his 1957 marketing management text. And since, has been proselytized by legions of marketing writers, professionals, and certainly academicians. Just try to find one marketing textbook that isn't structured around the four P's.

But, times change, although seemingly not very quickly. Now, the AMA, like so many other organizations, has discovered the customer and customer relationships. So, the new AMA definition is: "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." (See Marketing News , Sept. 15, 2004, cover story.)

It looks like and quacks like something that has now been around for more than a decade. In fact, it sounds a great deal like the principles of integration I've been writing about in this column since 1999.

Naturally, I'm pleased to see the AMA redefining marketing. The new focus on "customers," not on "goods, ideas and services" is a welcome shift to who is really important in the discipline. I'm also pleased to see a shift from "planning and executing" to an "organizational function and a set of processes," which hopefully will take us from finding ever more exotic "tactics" to developing more effective "strategies." And, the shift from "exchanges" to longer-term "relationships" is a welcome addition, too. But, the most critical change is the recognition that marketing is about "the organization and its stakeholders," not just about "creating exchanges." It was this focus on "exchanges" that has always bothered me since these usually took the form of short-term, promotionally driven activities at best, and deals, discounts and price-offs, at worst.

So, marketing is seemingly headed in the right direction. And, that direction seems to be integration or at least more integrated, aligned and systematized approaches than the four P's were ever able to deliver. So, where does that leave integration?

First, it seems to say the integration folks were way ahead of their time. Or maybe the traditional marketing folks were just slow to change.

Either way, it's good to see marketing finally being recognized for what it could have or should have been, but unfortunately, for the most part, never was.

Under this new definition, marketing is a process. Marketing is focused on customers, and hopefully this is understood in the broadest sense of the term. Marketing is an organizational activity, not just something a small group of self-defined experts do. Marketing is a process that provides returns, not just seeing who can gather and spend the most marketing dollars in the shortest period of time. Marketing is communicating with all relevant audiences, not just the next billion-dollar 30-second television commercial. Marketing is a deliverer of value. All these are things many of us have been advocating all these many years.

So, today, marketing, based on the new AMA definition, sure looks like and quacks like integrated marketing or IMC.

So, where does that leave me?

I doubt my work is over. Take it from someone who knows: Implementing the new definition of marketing won't be easy. There are simply too many embedded methodologies, approaches and people who will be loath to give up what they believe is marketing. They will fight like tigers to defend what has become their traditional turf. They will challenge and balk at moving from exchanges--which are based on short-term sales increases, market share and the like--to "relationships," whatever that means.

They will argue and delay any moves toward processes as they attempt to maintain the separate and isolated internal silos that have grown up around pricing, new product development, sales channels, trade promotion and advertising. And they will scream like banshees when the measurement of benefits to the organization and stakeholders suggest that marketing must be accountable.

I know this, simply because I have heard all this resistance and professional and academic moaning and groaning and foot-dragging before. But if the new marketing looks like integration and quacks like integration, I've got lots of content and contests still to come.


By Don E. Schultz

Don E. Schultz is a professor (emeritus-in-service) of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He can be reached at dschultz@northwestern.edu or at news@ama.org.