After its establishment in 1937, the American Marketing Association (AMA) would grow into a formidable organization. The AMA is a professional association catering to people involved in the marketing industry. By 2012, It had 250 collegiate chapters and 76 professional chapters. Its membership stood at about 30,000 across the United States (Source). From 2003 to 2014, the AMA had a dedicated website: MarketingPower.com. From March 2014 to April 2019, the AMA encouraged its visitors to visit a new site, AMA.org. Finally, in April 2019, visitors to MarketingPower.com saw a message that simply says: “www.marketingpower.com’s server IP address could not be found.”
In memory of MarketingPower.com, we identified four of the most important articles that were ever published on the website. To select which articles to highlight, we looked at the number of links that each post received from other sites. We believe that if other website editors link to an article, it suggests that they believe that the article is important, and will be useful to the reader.
We found one of the articles to be especially interesting. It concludes that even insincere flattery can encourage potential customers to buy.
But, before we reach that topic, oh wise, insightful and attractive reader, we must start with the article that may have the longest lasting impact on marketers: the one that defines the very words they use.
The AMA’s first dictionary was a print version published in 1995. Due to the ever-evolving nature of the marketing profession, the dictionary was regularly updated with new terms. With more than 2500 definitions, a printed version of the dictionary is still available at Amazon.
When the AMA started directing its visitors to AMA.org, the dictionary became available on that site as well. One of the most widely referred to definitions in the dictionary was unsurprisingly the definition of marketing, which was approved by the association in July 2013. Today, the online dictionary redirects to Marketing-dictionary.org. Users can also send their comments about any words in the word list to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Code of Ethics
The fact that many companies do their best to operate responsibly is hard to dispute; at least when you listen to their public statements in front of cameras. However, reports still indicate that the number of Americans who see businesses as a source of hope is low. The majority view business in America as selfish, greedy, all-consuming, and impersonal (Source). Hence the need for a statement of ethics such as the one produced by AMA.
In its preamble to the Statement of Ethics, AMA says that it “commits itself to promote the highest standard of professional, ethical norms and values for its members (practitioners, academics and students).” The statement then goes on to say what this means.
Honesty: To tell the truth at all times when dealing with stakeholders and customers. This value involves business living up to its word and standing behind its products even if the goods fail to deliver on promises.
Fairness: To ensure a just balance between the interests of the business and the needs of the buyer. This statement means that when advertising products, sellers should be as transparent as possible. It also directs companies on how they should treat and deal with the customers’ private information.
Responsibility: This means that marketers will not be involved in any practices that coerce stakeholders. It speaks to the protection of vulnerable members of society such as children, the elderly, and the economically impoverished.
Respect: To act in a way that recognizes the dignity of all human beings. This is displayed through valuing individual differences and restraining from dealing with customers based on stereotypes.
Transparency: Involves establishing a spirit of openness in all marketing processes. This involves embracing constructive criticism, whether it comes from stakeholders or customers. If products carry any risk to users, the seller has to articulate such risks.
Citizenship: Business has to understand that it has a responsibility to both the environment and the communities in which it operates. This could involve giving back to the communities through charity and buying from local small businesses in developing countries.
Insincere Flattery Actually Works: A Dual Attitudes Perspective
While many people will vow that flattery doesn’t work with them, this article says flattery works. The writers of the piece, Elaine Chan and Jaideep Sengupta, suggest that “making consumers feel good about themselves can often lead them to evaluate the flatterer positively.”
The researchers note that even though consumers know that there could be some ulterior motives behind the flattery, this does not entirely make the flattery less effective. Imagine someone telling you that they have called to tell you about a specific product because you are a discerning individual who appreciates sophistication and class. Many would be charmed by this kind of flattery.
Evolving E-commerce Best Practice in Retail
This article was written by the Aberdeen Group, an international marketing and sales company. It notes that there are three leading attributes of any e-commerce site during busy times: searchability (the ease with a company and its products can be found), scalability (the ability to grow in size), and personalization (tailoring products or services based on individual or group needs). The article writer notes that implementing each of these can pose enormous challenges for retailers who frequently fail to deliver all three in a seamless manner.
The article advises retailers to pay attention to the increase in both the significance and sophistication of e-commerce. The writers note that the customer of the future will demand such functionality. They warn that those who ignore them should prepare to see their customers flocking to competitors.
The piece also suggests how retailers can follow their advice. The first suggestion is that retailers must know who their most profitable customers are and focus on them. Once these customers are identified, the retailer then has to target them through personalized loyalty programs. The article also advises retailers to focus on applications where customers could search and compare products so that it’s easy for them to make the purchase decision.