Universal Marketing Dictionary Project

A Universal Language for Marketing

A significant hurdle in the drive toward marketing accountability has been the lack of agreed-upon definitions for commonly used marketing terms. Because a singular authority for marketing terms and definitions encourages trust and collaboration, marketing’s top industry associations, leading academics and subject matter experts have collaborated to produce this free educational resource – with input from the global business community.

A project of MASB, the Universal Marketing Dictionary was developed with support from and in collaboration with the AMA (American Marketing Association), ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and MSI (Marketing Science Institute).

Project Objectives

  • eliminate ambiguity and definitional differences among functions within and across firms
  • encourage trust and collaboration within and across functional areas in organizations, the marketing industry, and the broader business community
  • enhance marketing measurement and accountability through a commonly understood language of marketing


In 2011, the Common Language in Marketing Project was assembled by MASB, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board. Comprised of marketing association representatives, MASB staff, and MASB members representing both academics and marketing practitioners, the team used the American Marketing Association’s online dictionary as a basis and launched the Common Language Marketing Dictionary, marketing-dictionary.org, initially incorporating the AMA Dictionary and other sources and then adding new terms through project team curation.

In 2022, this free, educational resource was renamed The Universal Marketing Dictionary.

Thanks to the project team’s diligence, the number of curated terms has grown from a few hundred to nearly 2,000. With no paid advertising, UMD usage has increased remarkably fast on organic promotions like Marketing Term of the Week and Google‘s use of the dictionary for marketing definition search snippets.

Project Team

The UMD Project team meets monthly online to review new terms and consider term revisions. Current members are:

Erich Decker-Hoppen
MASB Director of Communication
Dictionary Editor & Webmaster
Paul Farris, Co-Lead
Landmark Communications Professor of Business Administration
University of Virginia
Darden School of Business
John Gaski, Co-Lead
Associate Professor
Notre Dame University
Mendoza College of Business
David Reibstein
William S. Woodside Professor of Marketing
University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School

Allan Kuse
MMAP Center
Former MASB Executive Director

Earl Taylor
Chief Knowledge Officer
Marketing Science Institute
at the Advertising Research Foundation

Todd Kaiser 
Segmentations and Strategic Research
Joanna Seddon
Chief Executive Officer
Frank Findley
Executive Director

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