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 concern or question raised by a prospect to a salesperson.
The desired or needed result to be achieved by a specific time. An objective is broader than a goal, and one objective can be broken down into a number of specific goals. Like goals, objectives serve to provide guidance, motivation, evaluation, and control.
objective method
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objective-and-task budgeting
An advertising budget method in which advertising expenditures are determined on the basis of a specific audit of the resources needed to achieve the specific objectives and tasks outlined in the advertiser's media plan.
A method of data collection in which the situation of interest is watched and the relevant facts, actions, or behaviors recorded.
observation error
A nonsampling error that arises because inaccurate information is secured from the sample elements or because errors are introduced in the processing of the data or in reporting the findings.
The act or process of a product's becoming out-of-date, discarded, no longer in use. The rejection is for some reason other than being worn out or inoperable. It may apply to an individual item or to all of the items in a given class or group. The active verb form, less widely acceptable, is to obsolete or to make obsolete.
occupancy functional expense
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odd lot
Dealing with broken lots or unbalanced assortments reduced in price for quick turnover.
odd price
A price ending in an odd number (such as 57 cents or 63 cents), or a price just under some round number (such as $98 instead of $100).
odd-even pricing
A form of psychological pricing that suggests buyers are more sensitive to certain ending digits. Odd price refers to a price ending in an odd number (e.g., 1,3,5,7,9), or to a price just under a round number (e.g., $0.89, $3.99, $44.98). Even price refers to a price ending in a whole number or in tenths (e.g., $0.50, $5.00, $8.10, $75.00).
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The terms and conditions (price, quantity, delivery date, shipping costs, guarantee, etc.) under which a product or service is presented for sale to potential customers in direct response advertising.
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  • infomercial
  • office equipment
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  • equipment
  • office error
    A nonsampling error that arises in the processing of data because of errors in editing, coding, tabulation, or in some other part of the analysis.
    off-invoice allowance
    A type of trade sales promotion in which the manufacturer offers the retailer a price reduction on the product price at the time of billing, generally for a limited period of time.
    off-price shopping center
    A shopping center specializing in off-price retail tenants such as T.J. Maxx or Burlington Coat Factory.
    off-retail percentage
    The markdown as a percentage of the original price. For example, an item originally retails for $10 and is marked down to $5; the offretail percentage is 50%.
    Acronym for Online Analytical Processing, which allows the user to quickly analyze information that has been summarized into multidimensional views and hierarchies.
    oligopolistic competition
    A market condition in which only a few large sellers vie and collectively account for a relatively large market share.
    oligopolistic environment
    A market situation in which only a few large firms compete in either buying or selling in the market.
    A market situation in which there are so few sellers that each anticipates the impact of its marketing actions on all competitors. The products can be either differentiated or undifferentiated.
    A market situation in which there are so few buyers that each anticipates the impact of its marketing actions on the others.
    omnibus panel
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  • panel
  • omnibus
  • on order
    When the retailer has ordered merchandise and it has not been received, it is considered to be on order and thus a commitment against a planned purchase figure. Thus, the open-to-buy figure is affected by the amount of the on order dollars
    one hundred percent location
    The retail site in a major business district that has the greatest exposure to a retail store's target market customers.
    one price policy
    A policy that, at a given time, all customers pay the same price for any given item of merchandise.
    one price retailer
    A store that offers all merchandise at a fixed price, the same to all customers, as opposed to bargaining or negotiating a price.
    one-stage area sampling
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  • area sampling
  • one-stage cluster sampling
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  • cluster sample
  • online marketing
    Term referring to the Internet and e-mail based aspects of a marketing campaign. Can incorporate banner ads, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, e-commerce and other tools.
    on-pack premium
    A gift attached to the product or product package in some way such as banding, taping, or other adhesive. It is used to influence product purchase or reward the purchaser.
    The result of multiplying together the complements of a given series of discount percentages. To find the net merchandise price, the list price is multiplied by the on-percentage.
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  • chain discount
  • OPEC
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    open account
    The sale of goods on credit. The seller gives the buyer no written evidence of indebtedness.
    open bid
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  • bidding
  • open credit
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  • open account
  • open dating
    The practice of putting onto a product information that reveals the date beyond which it should no longer be sold or used. This applies primarily to perishable products, those that lose some important attribute over time while awaiting sale in the channel between maker and user. Open dating is common to certain industries (for example, dairy products and pharmaceuticals) and is sometimes mandated by law.
    open order
    An order sent by a store to a market representative to be placed with whatever vendor the latter finds can best fill it. In department store buying, it is the authority granted to a resident buyer to purchase merchandise required by the store.
    open rate
    The highest rate charged for space or time by an advertising vehicle.
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  • flat rate
  • open stock
    The items kept on hand in retail stores and sold either in complete sets or in separate pieces-e.g., china, glassware.
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  • closed stock
  • open-code dating
    A date marked on food products to indicate the last day that the food can be sold in the store. It sometimes indicates use dates.
    open-date labeling
    A date marked on food products to indicate the last day that the food can be sold in the store.
    open-ended question
    A question characterized by the condition that respondents are free to reply in their own words rather than being limited to choosing from among a set of alternatives.
    open-to-buy (OTB)
    The residual balance of current purchase allotments; total planned purchases for a period, less receipts and merchandise on order.
    open-to-buy report
    A statement of existing or expected relations between dollar inventory and sales, used to calculate open-to-buy amounts.
    operant conditioning
    The process of altering the probability of a behavior being emitted by changing the consequences of the behavior.
    operating items
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    operating leases
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  • leasing
  • operating margin
    Operating margin is the ratio of operating income divided by net sales, usually presented in percent. Source: The MASB Common Language Project. http://www.themasb.org/common-language-project/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_margin
    operational definition
    A definition of a construct that describes the operations to be carried out in order for the construct to be measured empirically.
    A belief or emotionally neutral cognition the individual holds about some aspect or object in the environment. Those things he/she "knows" to be true have been defined as knowledge and those things he/she "thinks" are true or he/she is "pretty sure are true" are defined as opinions.
    opinion leader
    Not all individuals in a group or all consumers in a society wield equal personal influence on the attitudes, opinions, and behavior of others. The most influential are termed the opinion leaders; the ones to whom others turn for advice and information.
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  • AIO
  • life style
  • opportunities and threats analysis
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    opportunity cost
    The cost attributable to doing a thing caused by foregone opportunities that are sacrificed in order to do this one thing.
    optical character recognition (OCRA)
    An industry-wide classification system for coding information onto merchandise. It enables retailers to record information on each SKU, when it is sold, and transmit the information to a computer.
    optimization models
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    A program where membership is restricted to users who specifically requested to take part such as a newsletter.
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  • opt-out
  • option
    A contract that allows the holder to buy or sell a specific stock at a fixed price at or before a stated maturity date.
    Option to Renew
    Contractual right to renew a sponsorship on specified terms. Source: IEG
    options pricing models
    A class of models designed to calculate the value of an option. Comment: The empirical adequacy of these models is an unresolved issue in financial economics.
    A type of program that assumes inclusion unless stated otherwise. The term also refers to the process of removing one's name from a program.
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  • opt-in
  • order entry
    The order entry phase is the beginning phase of the order cycle process. Order entry refers to the process of actually entering an order into the seller's order processing system. This may be done by a salesperson writing an order, a customer ordering by phone, a telemarketing solicitation, or by the buyer's computer communicating directly with the seller's computer, as in an electronic data interchange (EDI) system.
    order needs
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    order processing
    The system of the firm that generally refers to the way orders are recorded by the firm and how this information is used to provide customer service and manage various functional elements of the business. It includes the management of the order entry process as well as the information flows that surround and support the order fulfillment objectives of the firm.
    order register
    A form or computerized record of orders placed with vendors. It includes the date of each order, the name of the vendor, the total amount of each order, the month in which shipment is to be made, the amount to be delivered each month, and a serial number.
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  • channel flows
  • ordering procedures
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    order-shipping-billing cycle
    This describes the paperwork or information cycle of the order processing system.
    ordinal scale
    A measurement in which numbers are assigned to attributes of objects or classes of objects to reflect the order (for example, more than, greater than) of the objects.
    ordinary dating
    This is illustrated by such terms as "1/10, net 30" of "2/10, net 60." The two specified time elements are the cash discount and the net credit period. The cash discount may be deducted if the bill is paid within the discount period (10 days in both examples); otherwise, the full amount is due at the end of the credit period (30 and 60 days in the examples given). Both the cash discount and the net credit periods are usually counted from the date of the invoice.
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  • advance dating
  • Organic Results
    Listings on SERPs that were not paid for; listings for which search engines do not sell space. Sites appear in organic (also called "natural") results because a search engine has applied formulas (algorithms) to its search crawler index, combined with editorial decisions and content weighting, that it deems important enough inclusion without payment. Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid advertising because paid inclusion content usually appears on SERPs mixed with unpaid, organic results. Source: SEMPO
    Organic Search Listings
    Listings that search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear solely because a search engine has deemed it editorially important for them to be included, regardless of payment. Paid Inclusion Content is also often considered "organic" even though it is paid for. This is because paid inclusion content usually appears intermixed with unpaid organic results. Source: SEMPO
    Organic Search Rankings
    Search engine ranking of web pages found in SERPs. Source: SEMPO
    When used as a noun, organization implies the framework or structure within which people are assigned to positions and their work coordinated in order to carry out plans and achieve goals.
    organization by selling function
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    organization by type of customer
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    organization by type of product
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    organization chart
    A visual representation of an organization structure. It identifies the organizational unit and portrays each position in relation to others. Positions are usually represented by squares or rectangles (although circles or ovals are sometimes used) that contain the position title; they may show the name of the incumbent as well. Each position is connected by a solid line running to the immediate supervisor and to positions supervised, if any. Broken or dotted lines may be used to show other than line relationships (e.g., advisory or functional). Comment: Some managers eschew organization charts because they like open and informal relationships among persons of different rank. They believe that an organization charts is inhibiting in this respect. Others believe it is the manager's style and not the organization chart that determines the degree of open and informal relationships. They see the organization chart as a useful device for assisting employees in understanding the organization and their role in it.
    Organization of Economic Cooperation and Developme
    An organization that came into being on September 30, 1961, succeeding the OEEC with the objectives to promote policies designed to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in member countries while maintaining financial stability.
    Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPE
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    organization structure
    The formal and informal framework within which people work to achieve organization objectives. It includes the establishment of positions along with descriptions of their duties, responsibilities, authority, reporting relationships, and assignment to groups. Organization charts are used to show where positions fit within the structure.
    organizational behavior
    The management theory and practice relating to how and why people behave as they do within organization structures and how managers can bring about improvements in individual and group performance.
    organizational buyer behavior
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  • buyer behavior
  • organizational buying behavior
    The buying decision-making process of an organization rather than by an individual customer. Organizational buying behavior differs from consumer buying behavior in that (a) normally, multiple individuals are involved, (b) buying decision rules or standards may be applicable, and (c) purchases occur as a result of derived demand.
    organizational buying sales promotion
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    organizational climate
    The general internal organizational environment that is determined by the organization's structure, leadership, philosophy, technology, people, and culture.
    organizational market
    This market consists of industrial markets, reseller markets, and government markets. Industrial buyers buy goods and services to aid them in producing other goods and services (derived demand). Resellers buy goods and services to resell them at a profit. Government agencies buy goods and services to carry out mandated governmental functions.
    organized market
    A group of traders operating under recognized rules in buying and selling a single commodity or related commodities; a commodity exchange.
    original equipment
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  • parts
  • original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
    This organization purchases industrial goods in order to incorporate them into other products that are sold in the industrial market (business market) or ultimate consumer market. For example, IBM, acting as an OEM, buys microprocessors for its personal computers from Intel.
    original retail
    The first price at which merchandise is offered for sale, accounted for as the retail value of receipts.
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  • over
  • short
  • damage
  • OTB
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  • open-to-buy
  • other-directedness
    A mode of conformity to the culture in which one draws values and beliefs from the peer group rather than from the family group. Tradition-directedness, inner-directedness, and other-directedness are part of the conceptualization of David Riesman in his monograph The Lonely Crowd.
    out sizes
    The sizes that are either very large or very small and, if offered at all, are offered in very limited depth because of the thin market demand for them. Some stores specialize in fringe sizes or out sizes-e.g., tall women's shops, petite size shops.
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  • end sizes
  • out supplier
    A firm not currently supplying the company nor currently on its approved vendor list.
    outcome evaluation
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  • cash flow
  • outlet store
    1. A store specializing in job lots and clearance merchandise. 2. A store controlled by a vendor to dispose of surplus stocks or for other reasons to be in the retail business.
    An observation so different in magnitude from the rest of the observations that the analyst chooses to treat it as a special case.
    outlined presentation
    A systematic sales presentation that lists the most important sales points that a salesperson needs to make.
    out-of-stock costs
    The costs that can be directly or indirectly attributed to not having a product available when the buyer wants to purchase the product. They may include cost of lost future sales.
    output evaluation measure
    An objective measure of sales force performance including number of orders; average size of orders; number of canceled orders; and number of active, new, lost, overdue, and prospective accounts.
    A practice whereby residents of smaller communities travel to larger communities to shop when prices become too high or assortments are not available in the smaller communities. A situation in which customers are shopping in other areas because their needs are not being met locally.
    outside salesperson
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    over, short, and damage (OSD)
    A traditional term used in transportation and warehousing to describe an inventory situation. After a physical inventory, it is possible to be "over" (have too much in inventory), be "short" (have a shortage of inventory), or have damaged inventory that is not usable. The same term may be applied to a shipment received by the buyer or an intermediary. It may be an accounting adjustment in some systems.
    The amount by which a physical inventory exceeds the book inventory figures, as opposed to shortage. It also may refer to cash excess.
    1. A condition in which a buyer has become committed to purchases in excess of planned purchase allotment for a merchandising period. 2. The purchase of merchandise in excess of demand.
    overcoming objections
    The process of successfully handling reasons given by prospects for not buying the salesperson's offering.
    overcoverage error
    A nonsampling error that arises because of the duplication of elements in the list of sampling units.
    overhead costs
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  • common costs
  • overprivileged family
    A family in a social class that has more than enough money to purchase the necessities, i.e., shelter, clothing, and transportation, appropriate for its class status. An overprivileged family is able to acquire luxuries above and beyond daily living expenses and usually is defined as having 25 to 30 percent greater income than the median for the social class.
    A market condition that exists when a geographic market area has too many stores to yield a fair return on investment for many of them.
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  • understored
  • over-the-counter remedies
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  • channel flows
  • ownership utility
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