Definition of Marketing


The American Marketing Association announces a new definition of marketing

 ARC: Community: ELMAR: Posting


Date: December 17, 2007

To: Academic Community/ AMA membership


Mike Lotti, Chairperson of the Board
Don Lehmann, Committee Chair

Re: New Definition of Marketing

In accordance with its bylaws, American Marketing Association has established a policy for a periodic review of the definition of marketing because, from time to time, it makes sense to reconsider and update the Associations view of its field.

Therefore, on behalf of the Board of Directors, the American Marketing Association is pleased to announce a new definition of marketing

New Definition of Marketing (est. in 2007)

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.

Previous Definition (est. in 2004)

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.

The new definition takes into account input from a broad cross-section of the Association membership. Marketing is regarded as an ‘activity’ instead of a ‘function’ and positions marketing as a broader activity in a company/organization, and not just a department. The new definition also positions marketing as providing long term value rather than narrowly as an exchange of money (short-term) for the benefit of the shareholder/organization.


In accordance with the AMA bylaws, 2007 was the year specified for the review. Mike Lotti, then chairman-elect of the Board of Directors of the AMA and chairman of the Governance Committee, appointed the following distinguished committee, comprised of representatives from all marketing disciplines, to lead the review:

  • Shelby Hunt, Texas Tech University – At-large member
  • Don Lehmann, Columbia University – Committee chair
  • Wayne McCullough, Daimler-Chrysler – At-large member
  • James Piltier, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater – Collegiate Chapters Council
  • Ric Sweeney, University of Cincinnati – Professional Chapters Council
  • Joan Treistman, M/A/R/C Research – Marketing Research Council
  • William Wilkie, University of Notre Dame – At-large member
  • Becky Youngberg – American Marketing Association
  • George Zinkhan, University of Georgia – Academic Council

The committee began the review process by establishing three critical goals for the review and potential revision of AMA’s definition of marketing: transparency, broad participation and continuity.

The process was furthered by publicizing the review and encouraging people to provide input via feedback through Marketing News and email surveys to members. While the committee had the option to affirm the current definition or produce a revised one, they chose to revise the definition based on member input.

The new definition was the subject of two surveys sent to members and 80 percent of them held a favorable opinion of the definition. Lastly, the AMA Board of Directors voted to approve it at the October 2007 meeting.