Whether you're looking for an obscure phrase or your basic marketing definition, the AMA Dictionary has it all! Originating from the print version in 1995, we're always adding new terms to keep marketers up to date in the ever-evolving marketing profession.

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A learned response to a stimulus that has become automatic and routine, requiring little or no cognitive effort.
habit formation
The process of learning a specific behavior often requiring practice or rehearsal of the response. There is considerable controversy, however, on just how much repetition or how many trials are necessary for learning to occur. It probably differs between cognitive problem solving and simple physiological or muscular reactions.
habitual decision making
The choices or decisions made out of "habit" without much deliberation or product comparison.
halo effect
A problem that arises in data collection when there is carry-over from one judgment to another.
hand marking
The use of grease pencils, ink stamps, and pens to directly mark, package, label, tag, or ticket merchandise.
The term commonly used to identify a promotion piece that is either handed out to shoppers at the store or distributed door-to-oor by a messenger.
hand-to-mouth buying
The purchase by a business in the smallest feasible quantities for immediate requirements.
hard goods
As compared with soft goods, which have a textiles base, these goods mainly comprise hardware, home furnishings, and furniture and appliances. These goods are usually also durable goods.
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Harmonized Tariff System (HTS)
This replaced the Brussels Nomenclature in January 1989 and incorporates a common classification system for all products.
Hart- Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act (1976
This act requires that mergers involving corporations of a certain size must be reported in advance to the enforcement agencies. It also permits state attorneys general to bring parens patriae suits on behalf of those injured by violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
harvest market position
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harvesting strategy
The maximization of short-run cash flow from a business in expectation of a deterioration of market share and eventual withdrawal from the market. The cash flow raised is directed toward other areas of business where it is needed.
Head Terms
Search terms that are short, popular and straightforward; e.g., "helicopter skiing." These short terms are called "head terms" based on a bell-curve distribution of keyword usage that displays the high numbers of most-used terms at the "head" end of the bell curve graph. Source: SEMPO
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  • Tail Terms
  • headline
    The part of the written component of print advertising that is meant to help attract the reader's attention to the ad.
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  • subhead
  • health care marketing
    Marketing designed to influence the behavior of target audiences in which the benefits would accrue to the target audience's physical and/or mental health. Comment: Health care marketing may be carried out by individuals, by hospitals or clinics, or by national agencies such as the National Cancer Institute.
    A graphical representation of data where varying degrees of a single metric are shown using colors.
    heavy equipment
    Products that are typically capital goods, normally purchased by end user customers. They are treated as an asset by the purchasing firm and depreciated for tax purposes. Examples are lathes, drilling machines, and grinders.
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  • installations
  • hedging
    The sale or purchase of a currency in forward markets for future delivery to satisfy a future obligation or obtain a future payment. The purpose of hedging is to reduce risks.
    hedonistic consumption
    A focus on the sensory pleasures or hedonic benefits provided by interaction with products or services.
    Hendry model
    A model representing the amount of switching among the brands in a product category. The model postulates that, for directly competing brands (i.e., brands within the same market partition), the level of switching among those brands should be proportional to the product of their market shares. The exact level of switching (i.e., the proportionality constant) is assumed to be the value that maximizes the entropy (i.e., randomness or lack of information) in this probabilistic system. (The Hendry Corporation 1970, 1971; Kalwani and Morrison 1977; Rubinson, Vanhonacker, and Bass 1980.)
    1. (consumer behavior definition) A proposition that connects an event with an action. Heuristics usually simplify decision making. For example, "buy the cheapest brand" is a choice heuristic that would simplify purchase. 2. (consumer behavior definition) The simplified "rules of thumb" by which decisions are made.
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  • flighting
  • Hidden Text
    (Also known as Invisible text.) Text that is visible to the search engines but hidden to a user. It is traditionally accomplished by coloring a block of HTML text the same color as the background color of the page. More creative methods have also been employed to create the same effect while making it more difficult for the search engines to detect or filter it. It is primarily used for the purpose of including extra keywords in the page without distorting the aesthetics of the page. Most search engines penalize or ignore URLs from web sites that use this practice. Source: SEMPO
    hierarchical business structure
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    hierarchical choice model
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    Hierarchical Elimination Model
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    hierarchical organization
    A classic form of organization which, during the 19th century, was adapted by business from centuries-old religious and military organizations. In this type of organization, authority flows from the person in charge through various levels of supervision (called "chain of command" by the military). Conversely, information and requests for guidance and decisions travel upward through the same channels. Few, if any, modern business organizations follow this strict organizational structure. Rather, they delegate much decision making to lower levels of management. When top management needs to be involved, modern techniques for information processing enable top and lower levels of management to communicate quickly. Decisions are often made during discussions via telecommunications. Comment: Some business media continue to describe business organizations as if they operated in the outdated classical hierarchical manner. It is true that business organization charts often follow the hierarchical pyramid design even though they operate in the less formal manner described above. The formal organization chart shows the corporate management structure that is responsible to government and stockholders for fiduciary, fiscal, and legal requirements. The line of authority from the top down enables top management to ensure that its legal and ethical policies are promulgated and followed.
    hierarchical pyramid design
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    hierarchy of effects model
    1. A concept related to the manner in which advertising supposedly works; it is based on the premise that advertising moves individuals systematically through a series of psychological stages such as awareness, interest, desire, conviction, and action. 2. An early model that depicted consumer purchasing as a series of stages including awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction, and purchase.
    hierarchy of merchandising information
    The strategic placement of in-store messages that lead the customers through the shopping and buying process beginning with the customers entering the store and ending with them looking at specific merchandise.
    hierarchy of needs
    A theory proposed by Maslow (1943) concerning the specific order of the development of needs. He proposed that needs develop in an individual in a sequential order from lower to higher needs, ranging from physiological needs to safety needs (security, order) to belongingness and love needs. Then esteem needs (prestige, respect) and self-actualization (self- fulfillment) follow. Higher order needs emerge as lower order ones are more or less satisfied.
    high income countries
    Countries whose income per capita are high compared to the rest of the world.
    high involvement
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  • involvement
  • high-pressure selling
    A selling approach in which the salesperson attempts to control the sales interaction and pressure the customer to make a purchase.
    hired hand
    A salesperson who receives relatively little support or latitude from his or her sales manager. Hired hands tend to perform basically those tasks that are enumerated in the job description, as their managers perceive them as being unable or unwilling to take on additional responsibilities. Hired hands are the opposite of cadre salespeople.
    Request of a file from a Web server. Formerly, hits were used as a measurement of traffic on a Web site, but since has fallen out of favor.
    hit rate
    The percentage of the desired number of outcomes received by a salesperson relative to the total activity level. For example, it is the number of sales as a percentage of the number of calls. It also is called batting average and conversion rate.
    hold strategy
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    home improvement center
    A store category specialist combining the traditional hardware store and lumber yard.
    home page
    The main page of a Web site.
    homemade diversification theorem
    A theorem that states that (in the absence of synergy) diversification by a firm is not valuable to shareholders because they can diversify their own portfolios more cheaply by purchasing shares of stocks in the market.
    A state of physiological balance within the individual. For example, lack of water leads to the uncomfortable sensation of thirst. The individual seeks products, such as soft drinks, that reduce the ensuing tension to return to a state of physiological balance or homeostasis.
    horizontal buy
    A purchase that is made from a direct competitor. For example, a west coast chemical company may buy a chemical compound from an east coast competitor because of a geographic supply and/or demand imbalance.
    horizontal competition
    The rivalry to gain customer preference among entities at the same level, such as competition among competing wholesalers or competing retailers.
    horizontal cooperative advertising
    An advertising partnership in which several retailers share the cost of a promotion.
    horizontal diversification
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
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  • diversification
  • horizontal expansion
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    horizontal integration
    1. (environments definition) The expansion of a business by acquiring or developing businesses engaged in the same stage of marketing or distribution. The most common approach is to buy out competitors. It is also known as horizontal expansion. 2. (channels of distribution definition) The combination of two or more separate enterprises at the same stage in the channel through ownership, including mergers or acquisitions.
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  • integration
  • horizontal merger
    The joining together or combination of companies in the same industry. The merger may be deemed illegal if it tends to reduce competition substantially.
    horizontal organization
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    horizontal price-fixing
    A conspiracy among competitors at the same level in the channel to set prices for a product.
    horizontal structure of the sales organization
    A sales organization may incorporate an internal company sales force or outside agents. When a company sales force is used, alternative approaches to sales organization include: (1) geographical organization; (2) organization by type of product; (3) organization by type of customer; and (4) organization by selling function.
    Hosting key customers, clients, government officials, employees and other VIPs at an event. Usually involves tickets, parking, dining and other amenities, often in a specially designated area, and may include pro-am spots, backstage tours, etc. Source: IEG
    hot money
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    house account
    An account, usually large, not assigned to a field salesperson, but handled directly by executives or home-office personnel.
    house agency
    An advertising agency that is owned and operated by an advertiser. It is also called an in-house agency.
    house brand
    A private brand, usually associated with retailers.
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  • brand
  • house publication
    An internally developed or produced magazine or brochure designed to communicate the views of the organization to a selected audience without outside editorial restraints.
    Household Goods Carrier Operations Act (1980)
    This act specifies that carriers of household goods may, upon request, provide the shipper with an estimate of charges for transportation of household goods; proposed service charges for such estimates are subject to antitrust laws.
    households using television
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  • sets in use
  • house-to-house salesperson
    A salesperson who is primarily engaged in making sales direct to ultimate consumers in their homes.
    htaccess file
    A file with one or more configuration directives placed in a web site document directory. The directives apply to that directory and all subdirectories. Source: SEMPO
    HyperText Markup Language is a coding language used to make hypertext documents for use on the Web. HTML resembles old-fashioned typesetting code, where a block of text is surrounded by codes that indicate how it should appear. HTML allows text to be "linked" to another file on the Internet. Source: Lazworld
    HTML banner
    A banner ad using HTML elements to provide interactivity, such as drop-down menus or text boxes, in addition to graphical elements.
    HTML e-mail (email)
    E-mail that is formatted using HTML, as opposed to plain text e-mail. Using HTML provides more flexibility with the format and appearance of e-mail, but not all user systems can process it in e-mail.
    Refer to "See Also" column to the right.
    Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol, the format of the World Wide Web. When a browser sees "HTTP" at the beginning of an address, it knows that it is viewing a WWW page. Source: Lazworld
    HTTP Referrer Data
    A program included in most web analytics packages that analyzes and reports the source of traffic to the user's web site. The HTTP referrer allows webmasters, site owners and PPC advertisers to uncover new audiences or sites to target or to calculate conversions and ROI for future ad campaigns. Source: SEMPO
    Stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure." Source: SEMPO
    human ecology
    The application of the concepts of plant and animal ecology to human collective life to seek knowledge about the structure of social systems and the way in which structures develop, paying attention to spatial configurations. It is the human population's adaptation to the natural environment.
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  • sets in use
  • Hyperlink
    This is the clickable link in text or graphics on a web page that takes you to another place on the same page, another page or a whole other site. It is the single most powerful and important function of online communications. Hyperlinks are revolutionizing the way the world gets its information. Source: Lazworld
    An unusually large, limited service combination discount store, supermarket, and warehouse under a single roof. Typically it sells both food and nonfood items at 10 to 15 percent below normal retail prices and stacks much reserve stock merchandise in the sales area. The hypermarket is an innovation of European origin.
    Any text that that can be chosen by a reader and which causes another document to be retrieved and displayed. Source: Lazworld
    A statement that specifies how two or more measurable variables are related.
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