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What’s the Best Definition of Marketing for Most Businesses?

Author: Charlie Cook   |   May 17th, 2007

Recently the American Marketing Association proposed a new definition of marketing, which reads:

“Marketing is the activity, conducted by organizations and individuals, that operates through a set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging market offerings that have value for customers, clients, marketers, and society at large.”

Is this the best definition of marketing?

Does it even make sense to you?

I’d say its a perfect example of what’s wrong with most marketing. It’s too cumbersome and hard to understand, and doesn’t communicate the message clearly. Here’s an alternative, my definition of marketing. Tell me what you think.

“Marketing is helping your prospects get the information they need so they can get the products or services they want and so they buy from you.”

– Charlie Cook
Small Business Marketing That Works

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5 Responses to “What’s the Best Definition of Marketing for Most Businesses?”

  1. The Newsletter Guru Says:

    Amen Charlie! Most marketing today is way too cumbersome and designed to please management and shareholders. The essence of real marketing is how well is grows your customer list and your profits. Jim Palmer, The Newsletter Guru

  2. Christopher Richards Says:

    Thanks for posting this definition. It’s a wonderful example of how graduate school can damage a person’s ability to write (and think) clearly. Small business cannot afford to carry dead weight of a marketing department staffed by institutionalized minds. I have met marketing professionals (in large corporations) who have never sold anything to anyone. They are so removed from the customer. Small businesses have a huge advantage.

    I was at a marketing seminar of Friday. We were given an exercise to articulate our value proposition (another business-school term, but this time not such a bad one), or in plain English, why someone should hire us. I heard all this bureaucratic language about excellence, providing solutions to x, y, and z. I asked the person I was sitting next to, “Do you speak like that at home?” She admitted she didn’t. I suggested she just be herself and talk normally. She was a bit taken aback. I meant it in the best possible way.

    Corporate language is boring. You know what I mean, ”We are leading world-class providers of solutions that enhance value that blah, blah, blah.” This sort of thing sends you right off to sleep. But one could have quite a laugh if you want to get creative. Imagine two marketing professionals meeting for a date. How would they “communicate?” It makes the mind boggle.

    If you haven’t been to business school, or if you have avoided being infected with corporatespeak, then you have done well. Education can damage learning, and for what passes as education is no substitute for intelligence. We used to call that common sense.

    Marketing is about clearly communicating the value of your offer.

  3. Henri Schauffler Says:

    How refreshing to hear marketing defined so simply! Right on, Charlie.

    As for AMA – the definition you quote is exhibit A at to why,when small business owners try to talk to the “big” marketing agencies, they don’t understand each other.

    I’m going to add your definition on my blog – small business owners need to hear this discussed.


    Henri Schauffler
    The CEO Coach

  4. Trent Mueller Says:

    I agree- a definition of marketing should be simple, as well as any marketing message aimed at customers. I like the definition of: communicating the value of what you offer.

    Another marketing definition: the process of getting people interested in your products/services.

  5. Bilal Safdar Says:

    I think this defination is best for now but the more simply and best defination of Marketing “The process of creating consumer value in the form of goods, services, or ideas that can improve the consumer’s life.”

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