MASB’s online Common Language Marketing Dictionary is marking its 10-year anniversary. The free educational resource is independent, objective, regularly updated by marketing authorities and welcomes input from the marketing community.
In 2009, members of the recently formed MASB identified a lack of agreed-upon marketing terminology as an impediment to communication between functions and across firms, and a hindrance to accountability. The Common Language in Marketing Project was formed to develop a new educational resource that eliminated ambiguity and encouraged trust and collaboration.
The team consisted of marketing academics and practitioners plus representatives from three supporting organizations with a vested interest in clear marketing communication: the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Marketing Science Institute (MSI).
The collaboration was a success, and the Common Language Marketing Dictionary (marketing-dictionary.org) was launched in 2011 with a few dozen terms. The focus was on quality over quantity, with an extensive review process for selecting, researching, defining and – if necessary – revising terms through emails and monthly meetings. The results convinced the AMA to merge its online dictionary with the Common Language Marketing Dictionary, adding nearly a thousand terms and definitions.
In his recent Journal of Macromarketing article (Aug. 4, 2021), Dr. John Gaski, Associate Professor of Marketing at Notre Dame University and project team co-leader, explained why corporate financial management supports a marketing dictionary: “The motivation seems to be simply that better communication within marketing should improve communication between marketing and finance, consequently allowing the more certain accountability that finance seeks in terms of return on marketing investment.”
The sudden influx of terms gave the dictionary its first boost of recognition, the second came when MASB relaunched the website on a better platform in 2018 and a social media campaign began featuring Marketing Term of the Week, written by MASB Director of Communication Erich Decker-Hoppen and available via email, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Another boost came when Google began featuring it in search engine snippets for marketing terms. Snippets display a truncated version of the dictionary definition along with the source URL, introducing millions of Google users to the free resource. Marketing professors around the world started including dictionary links in their lessons, as the online University of Phoenix recently began.
“Marketing is a dynamic field, terms are added every year,” says Dr. Paul Farris, Professor of Marketing Emeritus at the University of Virginia and project team co-leader. “To stay on top of those definitions and the different ways that they are used, you need an authoritative source.”
With the guidance of its esteemed co-chairs and the dedication of the project team, this lexicon has grown to more than 1,800 cross-referenced marketing terms and definitions. Having achieved more than 30,000 monthly pageviews organically without paid promotion, the Common Language Marketing Dictionary is thriving, growing and looking forward to many more decades of being that authoritative source.