Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Marketing's New Definition

MarketingVox is getting all snarky about it, but the AMA has published a new definition of "marketing."

And the winner 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."

True, I suppose. But I don't really think this definition will resonate with the upper management of Silicon Valley's various engineering-driven and led companies.

Why? Because natural blinders will lead to the following dismissal of the components of the above definition:

Creating the value? Everyone knows Engineers create the product.

Communicate the value? The only ways to communicate value is via a press release or when a Sales guy takes a customer out for golf or dinner.

Delivering the value? What do you think Manufacturing does?

At every step in the long product development process, it's a challenge for Marketing to combat the perception, however unfair, that it is other groups that really "own" a function.

But in truth, Engineering can only create the value, if Marketing has accurately identified and articulated what the market will find valuable. It's Marketing's job to not be seduced by technology alone. (And can we admit that many companies experience their greatest failures when they confuse great technology with a great product?)

And while press releases are nice, and might even have short-term impact on stock prices, they aren't really about communicating value to customers in a way that makes them whip out the checkbook, or submit a P.O. And all externally-facing functions, like Sales, need not only a compelling value proposition to communicate, they need supporting materials for making that compelling argument.

As for delivering...raise your hand if you think the transition from Engineering into Operations is the part of a product introduction process most fraught with peril! It is Marketing that facilitates this transition, and that should be the gating factor.

Perhaps the definition would have more impact if it imagined a world without Marketing, such as:

"Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes, and is the only thing standing between your company's strategy and a tactical reality of shoddy product delivered late to a market that doesn't want it, need it or understand it."

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