Does the “official” marketing definition define you?

Does your marketing have any semblance of humanity?

If you want to keep it that way, you should avoid the American Marketing Association’s definition for marketing.

They say the definition for marketing is,

“the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for s, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Did you stop reading after, “institutions?”

They continue to define marketing as

“an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to s and for managing relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

As a consumer, you should take issue with marketing defined as (or by) generating value in order to benefit an organization or stakeholders.

As a content developer, hasn’t it been drilled into your head that everything you do should be to benefit your ?

That with the right offer, the benefit for your company take care of itself?

Maybe that’s why in the movie where the main character is a marketer, he’s portrayed as charming, cold and pretty devious. ( See: How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, What Women Want, all other chick flicks I’ll deny watching if you try calling me out.)

The AMA makes marketing sound soulless.

You’re not soulless, are you?

The New Definition for Marketing

So how would you define the marketing you do?

You know, the kind with soul.

Here’s a little something I came up with, and please feel free to help refine it.

“Researching and understanding the needs of a target market, crafting messaging to raise awareness of the need, and developing products that benefit said target market”

What do you think?

Does that sound a little more in line with how you do your marketing? Furthermore doesn’t that sound like how uber successful businesses like Netflix and Pandora are doing their entire business?

If you do feel more comfortable with that definition, is it because it takes out the “ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.

Marketing isn’t about us

It’s not about the problem you solve. It’s about the problem they are having.

The more you clearly you communicate you understand that problem, the more they trust you to solve it.

You see this in perfect landing page copy (affiliate link), television spots, radio ads, and any other form of marketing you can think of.

The best copy will spend about 75% -80% of it’s time addressing that pain to get you primed for the offer.

Isn’t that why you view someone as “go to” guy/girl on a particular subject?

Doesn’t it seem like they understand your struggles more than anyone else?

That’s why I take issue with the AMA’s definition for marketing, because it makes it feel like it’s all a sham.

I know you provide value not solely because it benefits you, but because you’re enriching lives.

Of course, you have to make money.

But isn’t that easier to create something people know will massively transform their lives, because you understand their needs?

Shouldn’t that become the new definition of marketing?

You tell me.


  1. says

    Great post Tommy – it is about them!

    I’m learning that marketing is:
    Discovering what the people I can best serve, would best respond to. What would trigger them into soaking up what I have to share with them. And in such a way that they can apply what they discover through my offerings, and make the changes they want in their lives.

  2. says

    I like both definitions.

    But also, both definitions miss the point for me, in relation to *internet* marketing.

    For internet marketing, communicating a message and winning mindset and maintaining customer relationships is only part of the story.

    Internet marketing is about the whole process from –

    - identifying who you want to serve and what you can offer to
    - identifying where to find prospects to gaining their attention,
    developing a relationship,
    - making a sale,
    - gaining customers, and building the customer experience and customer relationship to
    - turning those customers in to repeat business and loyal, raving fans who advocate you and your message and build your tribe.

    Internet marketing necessarily includes *sales* (sales pages, product launches, sales videos, sales webinars, etc), and the results of internet marketing include sales outcomes as a key metric.

    For example, the top internet marketers like Frank Kern and Jeff Walker are best known for their multimillion dollar *sales* outcomes.

    This is different to many large organisations, where marketing, sales, and customer support can be neatly differentiated as different functions.

    But I’m sure there’s a lesson in there for big businesses too! ;)

  3. says

    When I had marketing-allergic copywriting clients, I told them we didn’t have to do all that marketing stuff … we’d just figure out what customers the business could best serve, then communicate with those people to let them know how we solved their problems and what to do next to work with us.

    Most of the time I never did let on that that was marketing. :)

  4. says

    I don’t think the official definition of anything I do describes what I actually do. ;-)

    Marketing, coaching, training, consulting – originally psychotherapy. They all look pretty dull on paper. What makes the interesting is they’re all about communicating with people and helping them. And human beings don’t fit into standard definitions.

    • Tommy says

      I would say that’s a pretty accurate assessment. And though it may look dull on paper,

        what you do

      is far from it! Thanks for dropping by Mark!

  5. says

    Yes I agree, in an ideal world, all marketing should be like this- creating something that really benefits the customer. However, a lot of the time marketing is simply used as to manipulate a target audience into buying things they don’t need.

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