A discipline reflects a particular object of research that produces a body of accumulated knowledge. This body of knowledge gives rise to theories and concepts that become subjects taught at academic institutions and have professional associations connected to it. As Marketers and proponents of Marketing you are part of a rich discipline. It is believed that the Marketing discipline’s roots go back to the late 1800s. Let’s explore some of the major milestones and how these led to the creation of the Marketing Performance Management (MPM) discipline.

The Roots of the Marketing Discipline

In 1893 Joseph Johnson of the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, developed the first curriculum in journalism that included information about advertising. Marketing courses were offered in the late 1800s and early 1900s at institutions such as the University of Michigan, the University of California, and the University of Illinois. The Alexander Hamilton Institute published one of the first books on Marketing in 1914, Marketing Business: Marketing Methods and Salesmanship. (I’m the proud owner of a copy).

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In these early days of Marketing the primary focus for both academia and professional associations was advertising. The American Advertising Federation formed in 1905. The Association of National Advertisers was founded in 1910. At a 1915 convention of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, a group of advertising teachers established the National Association of Teachers of Advertising (NATA). By 1927, 18 of the 20 Schools of Journalism offered courses in Advertising. Eventually, Marketing began to expand beyond the notion of advertising. In 1937, the National Association of Marketing Teachers and the American Marketing Society merged to form the American Marketing Association. Today, in the US alone over 1000 academic institutions offer degrees in Business, Management & Marketing.

By the mid-60s new theories and Marketing sub-disciplines emerged. Many of today’s senior marketers were classically trained in what is referred to as the four Ps of Marketing, first proposed by Edmund Jerome McCarthy in his 1960’s book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach. Advancing these theories and sub-disciplines increased the need for data making research and marketing science essential to the discipline. The Marketing Science Institute formed in 1961 with the mission to bring the best of science to the complex world of Marketing. In the 1970s, buyer behavior became an integral part of the discipline and the catalyst for the Academy of Marketing Science.

Adding the P of Performance Management to Marketing

Speaking of the Ps of Markeitng, one additional P of that emerged in the early 2000s is Performance Management and Measurement. Marketing performance management, is the systematic management of Marketing resources and processes to achieve measurable gains in return on investment and efficiency, while maintaining quality in the customer experience. Marketing performance management has been one of the most prominent streams in recent marketing research and practice. MPM has made it way to front and center for many Marketing organizations and appears on track to becoming a sub-discipline. A sub-discipline that has been decades in the making and one we’ve had the privilege to to help pioneer.

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With Six Sigma and its data driven approach as part of our backgrounds, we founded VisionEdge Marketing in 1999 to apply data, analytics, metrics and processes to the work of Marketing to ensure Marketing served as a strategic engine of growth. At the same time, Christine Moorman & Roland T. Rust published a seminal article on the Role of Marketing which addressed the importance of accountability in Marketing.

As we delved deeper in the world of Marketing accountability and measurement, we established our MPM practice. In 2001 we initiated our first MPM study. In 2003 we spoke on the topic of Marketing Accountability and Metrics at the Business Marketing Association’s International Conference. In 2004 we published our first book, Measure What Matters: Reconnecting Marketing to Business Goals and identified the importance of outcome-based metrics and dashboards. Our concept of the metrics continuum and the basis for our work in formulating metrics chains made its way into scholarly journals in 2007. This fundamental concept of metrics chains serves as the basis for our patent-pending methodology, Accelance®.

We were honored to be among the initial pioneers which included Pat LaPointe and his work on dashboards, Dr. Koen Pauwels, S. Srinivasan. Marc Vanheule who wrote on “Mindset Metrics in Market Response Models: An Integrative Approach“, and Paul W. Farris, Neil T. Bendle, Phillip E. Pfeifer, and David J. Reibstein who authored the book in Marketing Metrics: 50+ Metrics Every Executive Should Master, published in 2006, and Jim Lenskold for his contribution to MPM. Associations such as the CMO Council founded in 2001 brought the topic to the front burner for CMOs. The MPM sub-discipline continues to gain traction with the help of firms such as Allocadia (launched in 2010), Origami Logic (founded in 2012) and Hive9 (established in 2015). We’ve appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with these organization on events and white papers related to metrics and dashboards.

The annual Marketing Performance Benchmark study gleans insights from industry on what Best-in-Class (BIC) Marketing organizations do better and differently to prove and improve the value of Marketing. A key part of this work is the identification of the 6As employed by the BIC Marketers who are setting the pace for the implementation of MPM. Over the years we’ve had the honor of having our MPM benchmark study findings added to the body of knowledge published in peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Applied Marketing Analytics and the Journal of Creating Value.

Many Marketing Organizations Remain Challenges to Prove Their Contribution and Impact

mpm discipline, perforrmance management, performance measurement, marketing management, metrics, measurement, accountability, researchThe challenges Marketing organizations face in demonstrating impact persists. Whether your specialty is brand marketing, research, outbound marketing, inbound marketing, integrated marketing, influencer marketing, social marketing, search marketing, email marketing, direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online/digital marketing, or content marketing, the purpose of Marketing remains the same, “find, keep and grow the value of customers.” The discipline of Marketing continues to evolve as both academics and practitioners focus on how business can best meet the needs of its customers and simultaneously create value for both the organization and for the customer.

As you can see, creating a discipline takes expertise, communities, and research. Research, associations, and the exchange of ideas are vital to identifying and developing best practices. We hope you will join us in continuing to build on the MPM discipline.


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