Exploring the Cross compatibility of the Andreasen (1995) definition of social

Marketing and the AMA (2004) definition of Commercial Marketing.

Dr Stephen Dann, The Australian National University

Social marketing is the adaptation and adoption of commercial marketing theory and practice
for social change programs, campaigns and causes. By its very nature, social marketing is
connected to the commercial practice of marketing, and, at the end of the day, social
marketing remains a sub discipline of commercial marketing. When the rules of commercial
marketing change, social marketing needs to adjust, adapt or evolve. In order to survive,
social marketing must be willing to re-examine classic concepts and ideas against the
changing environment of commercial marketing. This paper sets out to examine the impact of
the American Marketing Association (2004) definition of marketing on Andreasen's (1995)
definition of social marketing, to see just how far social marketing needs to adapt the newly
adopted commercial marketing definition in order to stay part of the parent discipline.


One of Andreasen's (2006) four criticisms of the development of social marketing is the
inconsistency between the many and varying definitions of the sub discipline. As with
service marketing, relationship marketing and other sub disciplinary areas of marketing, the
jockeying for the ownership of the “definitive” definition of the twenty five year old sub
discipline is still intense. In light of the opportunity presented by the change in commercial
marketing’s core definition, there is a strong temptation to use this paper to proclaim
ownership of a(nother) new understanding of social marketing. However, in recognition of
Andreasen’s (2006) statement, this paper will not attempt to construct a new definition of
social marketing. Instead, it will assess the durability and applicability of the definitional
work of Andreasen (1995), to see if this classic interpretation of the meaning of social
marketing still holds relevance when applied to the American Marketing Association (2004)
definition of commercial marketing.

Rationale for the Research

In late 2003, the American Marketing Association nominated Dr Robert Lusch to revise the
18 year old definition of marketing, to bring it forward into line with the practices of
commercial marketing. According to Keefe (2004), the process involved considerable
consultation and feedback across a range of marketing sub disciplines and national
boundaries, with the AMA eventually releasing and endorsing the revised definition in
September 2004. At the 2005 Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference,
a full special session was devoted to the discussion of “Broadening the Boundaries for
Marketing: Challenging the New Marketing Definition and Dominant Logics”. Subsequent
calls for papers have issued the challenge to marketers to debate and deliberate on the
meaning, impact and effect of the changed definition. This paper contributes to the ongoing
debate and understanding associated with the new definition by borrowing a method from the
computer sciences industry – examining the level of backwards compatibility between the
AMA (2004) definition, and one of the core foundation definitions of the social marketing

Examining the definitions of commercial marketing

The first official definition of commercial marketing in 1935 defined the concept as:
“the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from
producers to consumers.” (Keefe, 2004).

Over the next fifty years, two reviews of the definition left the original concept in place until
it was revised and updated in 1985, to be defined as
“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’ (AMA, 1985).

Finally, in 2004, the AMA relaunched the definition of marketing as:
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. (AMA 2004).

This paper posits that the shift from the AMA (1985) definition has introduced five shifts in
the role, application and understanding of commercial marketing, expanding it from a process
to include organisational functions, moving from the marketing mix to the value concept,
incorporating relationship marketing, organisational and shareholder benefit, and removing
the explicit recognition of the exchange concept.

Change I: Function and Process
Commercial marketing is now self-defined as an organisational function and process where
previously, it was perceived predominantly as an organisational process. Redefining
marketing as an organisational function alters the use of marketing as a series of techniques
and practices into a more formalised element of the organisation, although there is debate as
to whether this requires the organisation to have a “marketing function” which is a recognised
marketing department or marketing officer, or whether marketing is a function of the
organisation (Darroch et al 2004; Dann, 2005).

Change II: Create, Communicate and Deliver Value, not marketing mixes
The second major change is that the new definition no longer explicitly recognises the
marketing mix and “product, idea and service” trichotomy. Instead, the 2004 definition
merges these components into the broad “value” concept. Value is undefined within the
definition, and appears deliberately open to interpretation. Presumably, value in this context
is meant to be the broader approach of Porter (1985) as “what the consumer believes that they
have gained from the exchange”, rather than the narrow AMA Marketing Dictionary (2006)
definition of value as “the power of any good to command other goods in peaceful and
voluntary exchange”.

Change III: Managing the relationship
Grönroos (1994) defined relationship marketing as “a form of marketing to establish,
maintain, and enhance relationships with customers and other partners, at a profit, so that
the objectives of the parties involved are met. This is achieved by a mutual exchange and
fulfilment of promises.” The third shift in focus is in recognition of the ascendancy of
relationship marketing since the early 1990s, and its replacement of the previous notion of
satisfying individual and organisational objectives.

Change IV: Benefiting the Organisation and the Stakeholder
The new definition broadens the role of the marketing orientation beyond the dynamic
between client/customer and the organisation, to incorporate "any group or individual who
can affect or is affected by the achievement of the firm’s objectives" (Freeman, 1984;
Clement, 2005). Perhaps the most disruptive change in the redefinition of marketing has been
the removal of exchange as understood by Bagozzi (1975) and its replacement with the
concept of benefit to the organisation and the stakeholder.

Change V: The End of Exchange?
As noted above, the initial examination of the AMA (2004) definition appears to end the role
of the exchange as a core of marketing theory. However, it appears that the redefinition has
moved exchange from an explicit element to an implicit and assumed component, depending
on how the concept of “value” and “managing the relationship” are defined (Dann, 2005).
For example, Grönroos (1994) specifies that relationship marketing is achieved by mutual
exchange as does the AMA (2006) narrow interpretation of value and the broader Porter
(1985) interpretation. Exchange, although less visible, remains a functional element of the
marketing process.

Definition Elect: Andreasen (1995/2006) Social Marketing

Andreasen (1995) defined the sub discipline of social marketing as:
the application of commercial marketing technologies to the analysis, planning,
execution, and evaluation of programs designed to influence the voluntary behaviour
of target audiences in order to improve their personal welfare and that of their
society." (Andreasen, 1995)
Andreasen further extrapolates the nature of social marketing as the adaptation, rather than
direct transference, of marketing tools and techniques for social change campaigns. Due to the
substantial differences in the environments within which social marketing operates and the
issues or causes which form the focus of campaigns, it has never been possible to import
commercial marketing practice wholesale into the social marketing environment.
Consequently, Andreasen’s definition of social marketing has been selected specifically for
the meta level approach of applying the internal logic of the discipline (adaptation and
adoption of “commercial marketing technologies”) to social marketing.

The Compatibility of Social Marketing and Marketing 2004

With the significant repurposing of the definition of marketing, does commercial marketing
remain compatible with social marketing, and vice versa? Historically, the fundamental
difference between social marketing and commercial marketing has been a matter of focus.
Commercial marketing has a bottom line of direct benefit measured in dollar values. Social
marketing has a bottom line measured according to whether or not the target adopter changes
their behaviour.

Andreasen (1995)’s definition is broadly compatible with four of the five fundamental
changes to commercial marketing brought on by the AMA (2005) redefinition. The most
obvious point of compatibility is the crossover between “organisational function and set of
processes” with “application of commercial marketing technologies”. Following on from
this, Andreasen (1995) outlines a range of processes for value creation, where value is
assumed to result in the improvement of the personal welfare of the individual, and the
mechanisms specified are assumed to be organisational functions or processes. In addition,
social marketing perspective has historically automatically incorporated somelevel of
stakeholder benefit through the central tenet requiring improvement in the welfare of
society.. Further, the management of the relationship is an implicit component of the
maintenance aspects of the ongoing influence of the voluntary behaviour. Finally, neither
social marketing nor commercial marketing explicitly include the recognition of exchange, as
it was always an inherited component of social marketing – the adaptation of the 1985
definition of commercial marketing brought with it the necessity for exchange theory. Table 1
outlines the definitions of social and commercial marketing into their core component
elements for a brief, and perhaps superficial overview of the areas of compatibility.

Table 1: Social Marketing versus Commercial Marketing
AMA 2004 Social Marketing 1995 Change Compatible?
an organizational function
and a set of processes
the application of commercial
marketing technologies
Change I Yes
a set of processes for creating,
communicating and
delivering value to customers
analysis, planning, execution, and
evaluation of programs designed to
influence the voluntary behaviour of
target audiences in order to improve
their personal welfare
Change II Yes
a set of processes for
managing customer
relationships in ways that
benefit the organization
programs designed to influence the
voluntary behaviour of target
a set of processes for
managing customer
relationships in ways that
benefit the organization’s
analysis, planning, execution, and
evaluation of programs designed to
influence the voluntary behaviour of
target audiences in order to improve
their personal welfare and that of their
Change III
Change IV
Absence of Exchange Absence of Exchange Change V Yes

The Great Divide: Benefit

….influence the voluntary behaviour of target audiences in order to improve their
personal welfare and that of their society." (Andreasen, 1995)
…for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its
stakeholders. (AMA 2004).
The adaptation of the commercial marketing definition creates one possible area of conflict
between the AMA (2004) definition, and the Andreasen (1995) concept. To use the language
of the AMA (2004) definition, social marketing creates, communicates and delivers value
(improvement of personal welfare) whilst managing relationship for the benefit of
stakeholders (society). Andreasen (1995) specifies a one way value flow from the
organisation to the social change marketplace – which effectively removes organisational
benefit from social marketing. The obvious, immediate reaction to the ideological gap
between the AMA (2004) and Andreasen (1995) would be to simply inherit “organisational
benefit” as part of “commercial marketing technology” ambit. However, social marketing has
previously addressed the concept of direct organisational benefit insofar as this outcome is
used to determine whether a social change program is “societal marketing” or “social

Restrictions on Adapting Benefit: Corporate Societal Marketing
Corporate societal marketing (CSM) has been defined as “encompass[ing] marketing
initiatives that have at least one non-economic objective related to social welfare and use the
resources of the company and/or one of its partners” (Drumwright and Murphy 2001 in
Hoeffler and Keller, 2002). In a related area, Maghrabi (2006) saw societal marketing as an
outcome of commercial organisations moving into traditionally social marketing territories –
although they did not question the rationale for the corporate incursion into non profit
marketing. In general, social marketing practitioners have accepted societal marketing, which
is the inclusion of pro-social goals in parallel to profit and/or organisational gain is an
accepted, and acceptable, as part of a “philanthropy for profit” approach that leads to social
change. With that in mind, social marketing has tended to be positioned to occupy the not for
profit sector with a “benevolence for individual and societal benefit” in conjunction with
socially beneficial corporate outcomes.

Conclusion: Resolving the divide

At the core of the conflict between social marketing and commercial marketing is the nature
of benefit. Earlier criticisms of the new definition were based on the notion of “benefit” as a
direct transfer between recipient and marketer (Dann, 2005). However, under the exchange
paradigm, social marketing could lay claim to Bagozzi’s (1975) concept of complex exchange
where multiple parties to the value transfer exchanged with each other in a system (A to B, A
to C, B to A, B to C, C to A, C to B). Whilst no direct benefit was received, social marketing
organisations “benefited” when an individual adopted a socially beneficial product.
Unfortunately, the simplicity of the solution may not be tied to the reality of social marketing.

Although social marketing campaigns may succeed where change occurs, that does not draw a
recognisable benefit in the commercial sense. At the core is the conflict between the long
term objectives of social marketing and commercial marketing. Commercial marketing is
ingrained with the longevity-as-success mantra, where increased demand and broadened
marketshare is a positive outcome. In contrast, social marketing is often directed towards the
provision of a solution to a social problem, where the outcome is to reduce the incidence of
the problem, lowering market demand and/or decreasing the size of a market for a product.
Campaigns aimed at the provision of a solution, the cessation of a problem or a change in
behaviour are ultimately (and optimistically) targeted towards a measure of success that no
longer requires the campaign to continue. Although maintenance social marketing programs
are necessary, few social marketers would look to encourage speeding, drug taking or obesity
in order to continue the demand for their social campaigns.

The uncertainty raised in this paper requires further exploration and debate. Can successful
social marketing, which reduces the ongoing need for the campaign, realistically be
considered as producing a "benefit" to the organisation? At the same time, failure to address
the market need will continue the market demand for organisation's existence, but equally
does not equate to a benefit. Clarification of the meaning of “benefit” in the context of
commercial marketing and social marketing is needed. Whilst benefit to the stakeholders is
clear – deliver value to the consumer, and if society gains, then stakeholders benefit – does
the gain of society, through the solution of a social marketing problem can constitute benefit
to the social marketing organisation?


American Marketing Association 1985. “The definition of marketing”, Marketing News,
March 1, 1985, 2.

American Marketing Association 2004, "Definition" Marketing News, September 15, 2004

American Marketing Association 2006 Dictionary of Marketing Terms, Online:
http://www.marketingpower.com/mg-dictionary.php, Accessed: 30/6/2006

Andreasen, A. 1995, Marketing Social Change: Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social
Development and the Environment, San Francisco: Jossey Bass

Andreasen, A. 2001, Ethics in Social Marketing, Washington: Georgetown University Press.

Andreasen, A. 2002 Marketing Social Marketing in the Social Change Marketplace, Journal
of Public Policy & Marketing, 21 (1), 3-14.

Andreasen, A. 2006 Social Marketing in the 21st Century, Sage Publications,

Bagozzi, R. 1975, “Marketing as exchange”, Journal of Marketing, Vol.39, October, pp.32-

Clement, R. 2005 "The lessons from stakeholder theory for U.S.business leaders", Business
Horizons 48, 255—264

Dann, S 2005 “Social Change marketing in the age of direct benefit – where to from here?”
Social Change in the 21st Century, QUT Carseldine 28 October 2005

Darroch, J., Miles, M.P., Jardine, A., and Cooke, E.F. (2004) “The AMA definition of
marketing and its relationship to a market orientation: An extension of Cooke, Rayburn and
Abercrombie (1992), Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 12 (4), 29-38.

Freeman, R. E. 1984. Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Marshfield, MA7
Pittman Publishing.

Grönross, C, 1994 "From marketing mix to relationship marketing: towards a paradigm shift
in marketing", Management Decision, Vol.32, No.2, pp.4-20.

Hoeffler, S and Keller, K. L 2002 Building brand equity through corporate societal
marketing” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. 21(1) 78-90

Keefe, L. M 2004, "What is the Meaning of Marketing?" Marketing News, September 15,

Maghrabi. A.S. 2006 “Compelling Claims on Multinational Corporate Conduct” Journal of
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Porter, M. 1985 Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New
York, Free Press.

Reviewers Comments Purpose, overall aim – contribution
Score: 8.
Comments: The purpose of the article is clearly stated. However, the
author(s) should consider amending the paper’s tile as it does not talk directly
to the contribution made by the articles. The title is polemic, rather that being
descriptive of the article’s main argument.

Polemic. Polemic. Now where have I heard myself described as that
1. A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a
specific opinion or doctrine.
2. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or
Yeah, I am a bit polemic. Actually, the truth of the matter is that I’m too far
ingrained into the dance music/remix culture to have realised that not
everyone would recognise the “JayZ versus Linkin Park” style heading as a
cultural reference. If I could change the title, I would, but can I? There
doesn’t appear to be an option in the paper upload/edit.
New title:
Exploring the Cross compatibility of Social Marketing (1995) and
Commercial Marketing (2004)
Novelty value - originality, uniqueness:
Score: 6.
Comments: This is topical and has been addressed at recent conferences
(i.e. ANZMAC 2005, ANSM2006).

I confess. ANSM2006 was me.
Conceptual development, grounding in literature method, analysis,
discussion, implications drawn, formatting:
Score: 6.
Comments: The author has overviewed the relevant literature to support the
argument. Using the table synthesizes the literature well.

The conclusion requires some refinement. Specifically the following
“As a social change organisation is more successful, it reduces the longer
term need for its existence, so that ultimate success for social marketing is to
make the market need obsolete and the organisation defunct. Given this is in
direct opposition to commercial marketing, and the success-as-longevity
orientation of commercial marketing, can successful social marketing
realistically be considered as producing a "benefit" to the organisation?

Social marketing is a tool that is used to benefit society and an organization.
This statement needs to be engaged in more detail. Whilst discrete social
change might be successful — I do not think that social marketing is a
panacea that will cure societal problems. This above statement implies such
think as the basis to draw an argument about commercial marketing; it does
not do justice to the early discussion and thinking. There is room to clarify the
point: please do so.

Clarification underway. I’ve remixed the conclusion, drawn together the
request for further research and debate over the meaning of benefit, raised
the commercial marketing growth orientation versus social marketing
reduction orientation. That s

Nominate this paper for the best paper award: No.
Purpose, overall aim - contribution: Score: 3.

Although the purpose of this paper is clear - a comparison of definitions of
commercial marketing and the extent to which a definition of social marketing
corresponds to these - the value of this exercise is less obvious. The paper
seems to make a fundamental assumption that social marketing ought to
have some relationship with commercial marketing, but it is not clear why this
should be the case, or why it might be necessary or desirable.

I guess I have this fundamental assumption in the paper because it’s one of
the core central tenets of the sub disciplinary area of social marketing. The
fact that the paper is engaged in examining a definition of social marketing
that contains the words “the application of commercial marketing” might also
have been a really good solid fundamental reason why the twain are meeting.
In fact, it is seriously tempting to write off the rest of the statements made by
this reviewer on the grounds that they appear to not understand social
marketing in the slightest. However, although tempted to call the reviewer a
moron, !'ll refrain from that temptation, and treat the remaining comments
on their merit.

The emphasis on definitions overlooks the common theoretical traditions
social and commercial marketing employ and it might be more interesting and
rigorous if the authors examined theory, rather than simply definitions.
It might be, but it’s also not the paper that’s in front of you. This comment is
akin to the reviewer going to see Snakes on a Plane and complaining about
the serpent content of the film.
For example, both types of marketing aim to bring about behaviour
(purchasing one brand instead of another, practising safe sex instead of
engaging in riskier sexual habits). Like commercial marketing, social
marketing theory draws heavily on the more cognitive models of consumer
behaviour (trans-theoretical model underpins Andreasen's theory and has
much in common with the Theory of Planned Behaviour). However, both
traditions also draw on behaviour modification theory too.
Yeah, that’s quite accepted territory, and the crossover of theoretical
frameworks and the use of TPB/TRA etc is well established. What’s this got
to do with a paper examining the interaction of the revised AMA definition with
the classic social marketing definition?
It might be interesting to explore how the cognitive-behavioural debate is
played out in social marketing.
Indeed. I suggest the reviewer heads off and does this. There’s plenty of time
before the ANZMAC2007 deadline.
For example, many social marketing campaigns aim to foster attitude change
in the belief this will lead to behaviour change (healthy eating campaigns,
smoking cessation and non-initiation campaigns often follow a cognitive
approach while campaigns involving regulatory change, such as restriction of
smoking environments, adopt a more behavioural approach).
Yes. The ol’ stages of change model covers this, along with perhaps the
education-law-social marketing triangle, and maybe a bit of the upstream
(environment change/regulation) downstream (behaviour change) debate.
So, old and established territory here – you better not be complaining about
my work retracing existing paths.
Given these similarities with commercial marketing, there would seem to be
value in exploring and critically evaluating how commercial strategies might
usefully be employed in a social context; I would encourage the authors to
consider this latter question in more detail. This approach would seem better
oriented to the conference theme (use of theory to enhance practice).

Did I misread this, or did the reviewer just ask me to go off and write a totally
different conference paper? In which case, the reviewer’s suggestions are
very kind, but really, they should head off and do the paper themselves.

The conclusion that "benefit" is at the core of conflict between social and
commercial marketing is not novel and has been discussed in many different
social contexts.
Right. Not novel. The fact you wanted me to go and explore whether there
should be a relationship between commercial marketing and social marketing
hasn’t escaped your mind has it? That debate is over, and it ended it the
1990s. Other novel research suggestions you’ve mentioned include
“exploring and critically evaluating how commercial strategies might usefully
be employed in a social context”. You’re trying to tell me that the exploration
of the components of a definition released in 2004 is less novel than pursuing
the work that’s had three decades of coverage? The core conflict here is not
the composition of benefit per se. It’s the fact that “benefit to the organisation
“ was not previously a core of the commercial marketing definition, exchange
was the core. Hence the novelty of a paper exploring how the 2004 definition
meets the 1995 definition. Something that can’t have had 30 years of
research on it beats a three decade old suggestion for novelty
Exchange!= “benefit to the organisation”. Exchange theory allows for
complex indirect exchange, and that’s fine. The new definition of marketing
requires the management of customer relationships for benefit to the
organisation, and the definition of “benefit” has yet to be fully explored or
Given the Andreasen (1995) social marketing definitions explicitly recognises
the improved welfare of the individual (value) and the society (benefit to the
organisation’s stakeholders), the reason for the paper and the debate to see
where “benefit to the organisation” fits into a structure that traditionally
delimitated its boundaries by not taking benefit from the exchange.
If benefit can be constructed as indirect exchange, then we’re fine. But the
state of play is that we have no definitive construction of “benefit to the
organisation”. So if “benefit to the organisation” turns out to be financial
benefit or direct benefit, there’s a problem.
To argue that the goal of social marketers is to make themselves obsolete
overlooks fundamental issues in both commercial and social marketing (the
need for reinforcement to maintain behaviour change). The conclusions
section is very weak and neither offers insights into how commercial
marketing could be used to inform social marketing nor suggests research
that could examine this question in more detail.

Finally, you’ve said something useful. Agreed, the conclusion needed work,
and the conclusion has been reworked. I’m going to continue to ignore your
request that I revisit dead arguments of the 1990s by asking how commercial
marketing could inform social marketing. That debate is over.

Novelty value - originality, uniqueness: Score: 2.

Because this paper summarises definitions from others' work, its novelty is
very limited and the comparison of definitions is not sufficient to create an
original contribution that would inform theory or practice.
You might want to discuss this with reviewer 1. If I thought you had a credible
word to say about social marketing theory, I’d consider what you wrote here
as valid.
However, examination of how theory does or could inform practice has the
potential to improve the paper's rating on this dimension.
Well, see, there’s this thing called “theory” and the paper is an examination of
the two conceptual domains of the definitions of commercial marketing and
social marketing. Not everything we do in marketing theoretical development
needs to automatically be able to be applied to practice. Over in maths, they
have this thing called “Pure maths” and “Applied maths”. This is a “pure
marketing” paper rather than an “Applied marketing”.

Conceptual development, grounding in literature method, analysis,
discussion, implications drawn, formatting: Score: 2.

The paper is generally well-written, but its overall contribution is very weak.
Opinion logged, noted and totally ignored.
The correct referencing style has not been used.
Changes made

Nominate this paper for the best paper award: No.
No kidding.