The role of marketing within a company is constantly evolving. For example, consider the American Association of Marketing’s definition of marketing from 1985:
[Marketing is] the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.
Now compare that with the Association’s revised definition from 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.[i]
Not only does the definition shift from the more tactical to the strategic, but its scope also broadens. In effect, AMA now defines marketing in terms of the “Big M.”
What is Big M Marketing? It is about creating value for those you’ve chosen to serve. It is about integrating the marketing perspective into senior-level decisions with a goal of capturing enough value to sustain your organization and continue to serve those parties. It is about defining your promise and how you will deliver on that promise.
Big M Marketing isn’t about creating catchy slogans, choosing where to spend advertising dollars or deciding how to position a particular offering. It requires thinking from the top level about your customers, your company, your competitors and your collaborators. This type of strategic thinking is an executive-level matter that requires alignment across all departments for the best possible results. It requires institution-wide buy-in to your promise and a commitment to back that promise up through unified action.
The NAS Strategic Marketing seminar uses an integrated approach to incorporate programming, development, customer service and operations in addition to marketing and communications decisions. Cross-functional teams including senior-level management and board leadership from across the organization will benefit from the opportunity to have the Big M conversations critical to developing a sound strategic marketing plan and deciding how to implement ideas.