One of the reasons I fell in love with the subject of marketing was that when I did my MBA I quickly realised that marketing is the very heart of every business. Without marketing there can be no business. Non-marketing people often hate it when us marketing nerds harp on about how “business = marketing”. The thing is though, it’s true.
I cannot stress this enough, so I figured it would be good to enlist the help of two of my favourite business gurus in management and marketing in the last century: Peter Drucker and Al Ries, to drive home the message of just how important marketing is.
Peter Drucker says “A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers, to provide the goods or services, which the company exists to produce. Profit is not the primary goal but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence. Other responsibilities, e.g., to employees and society exists to support the company’s continued ability to carry out its primary purpose.”
This is at the core of marketing. Serving your customer. Because it always has to be all about the customer. You have to see things from their point of view. You have to realize what they need and what they want and that’s what you need to be giving to them. So, that’s the primary responsibility. Try to flog junk they don’t want or need and you won’t get anywhere.
Peter Drucker also says: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two-and only two-basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Think about this one. Is he wrong? What else produces results? This is a funny one, because a common theme in many businesses is that marketing is considered a cost, not a production function, and definitely not an investment. That could not be further from reality. Does financial management produce revenue? Nope, it can manage it, but it can’t produce it. Does production produce revenue? Nope, not really, it costs to produce and without marketing there would be no-one to buy the product and hence it would not generate revenue. Does HR produce revenue? Nope, not in itself. IT? Nope. And to top it off, innovation can easily be classified as a subset of marketing. Remember the thing about serving customers being the company’s primary responsibility? Well, good innovation is all about finding better ways of serving the customer so what is that other than marketing?
Al Ries says “Marketing is what a company is in business to do. Marketing is a company’s ultimate objective.”
And he goes on to make another strong statement: “If the entire company is the marketing department [and it is], then the entire company is the branding department.”
This is where it really gets juicy. Why else do you think I harp on about this branding thing? ;)
So that’s what it really all boils down to: Business = Marketing = Branding :)
Do you agree or disagree? Tell us in the comments ;)
Leviticus Bennett says
I have never really considered how important marketing and branding are. I like your point about how marketing and innovation produce results. I have been thinking of opening a business sometime in the future and have been wondering which part of the business to emphasize in the beginning. It sounds like marketing is a good part to focus on.
Thanks Leviticus. Yep, if you don’t do marketing you don’t get customers – and then there’s not much of a business :)