Marketing IS Business: The Wisdom of Peter Drucker
The timeless wisdom of Peter Drucker is sprinkled throughout the world of management and business. His insightful definitions of marketing and business are quoted quite often – and for good reason! He had a knack for articulating his complex ideas in a way that was elegant and simply put.
We reference his influential thinking often – like in this blog post on our favorite inspirational quotes, and in another on building a customer-driven marketing strategy. One of my personal favorites is as follows:
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself… The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”
In my recent research of Drucker and his influence, I’ve gathered a few key takeaways from his thoughts on marketing, innovation, and business.
- Create a customer because the customer is what defines your business.
- Collaboration creates a successful business.
- Great management inspires new ideas.
- It’s a great time to be in marketing.
Druker on Business Purpose
I’m sure I’m not alone in my thinking that Drucker’s above quote is one of the best descriptions of the aim or goal of marketing overall. You may be surprised to learn that Drucker himself did not actually consider himself to be an expert in marketing – trust me, I was too!
Drucker considered marketing to be the responsibility of the managing leadership within a business, and not a separate function. This is a view that often gets lost in many B2B Marketing strategies where marketing is subservient to sales. When in fact, we should work hand-in-hand to support our buyers through their journey.
Published in his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices Drucker defines the purpose of business. In this definition, he identifies marketing and innovation as being the two chief functions of business, “to create a customer…because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
For my fellow visual learners, here’s a good representation of how one of the ‘founding fathers’ of modern marketing defines business purpose:
Marketing and Innovation: Two Key Elements of Business Success
As the two chief functions of a business, marketing and innovation have to work together for a business to be successful.
Marketing is really important. It encompasses everything that affects the exchange of a product or service for profit. Innovation, then, is finding new ways to do that better.
We know that the most important aspect of a successful business is its customer focus. Druker’s thoughts on creating customer value and satisfaction just make sense. He emphasizes a customer-focused strategy again in this great quote from Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, “it is the customer who determines what a business is… the customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. He alone gives employment”
These values articulated by Drucker continue to be at the core of modern marketing practice today. It’s an on-going, continuous process – and marketing and innovation work together to deliver customer satisfaction at a profit.
Here’s how they do it:
It’s a customer-driven process of discovering and translating consumer wants into products. Things like planning/development, and marketing research help to get the job done.
Successful innovation marketing begins with thought leadership.
The idea behind this strategy is to tap into the talents, experiences, and passions inside your business to answer the biggest questions that are on the minds of your target audience.
Marketing and innovation are overlapping processes – and they need to be treated as such. It’s important for marketers to be included in innovative conversations around development for this reason. Together, marketing and innovation are a business-growing powerhouse.
Creating a Synergetic Environment: Drucker’s Fundamentals of Management
To create a collaborative environment that encourages new ideas, you need strong leadership. Look to Druker’s insights on mangement. In his book, The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done, Druker identifies the following key principles on management and leadership:
- Management is about humans.
- Management should define an organization’s values, objectives, goals, and mission.
- Management must enable the organization and its members to grow and develop.
- Results only exist outside of the organization.
This video here, sums it up pretty nicely as well.
An Optimistic Future
Peter Drucker’s definitions on marketing, management, and business paint an optimistic picture of marketing’s future for me. His thinking stands the test of time – and marketing continues to have a comprehensive role in business today.
Of course, an argument could be made that the role of marketing has diminished in recent years. With the growth of artificial intelligence algorithms and predictive analytics that offer up information and services to consumers, there could be a case for less marketing rather than more.
However, I’d even argue that new methods of search, content, and loyalty strategies as customer generating tactics provide an even larger space for marketing today. And Drucker’s words on the importance of customers to business continue to ring true. How you market your product to your customers can make or break your business. In fact, the 2021 Moengage Report stated inconsistent brand messaging as being the #1 frustration among consumers. Great customer service is among the most important.
Marketing is central to business as the advocate for customers and as the core communicators of a value-based message. According to Hubspot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report, websites were listed as being the #2 channels used in marketing. With so many people heading to websites for information, your content marketing strategy needs to work hand-in-hand with innovative thinking – these collaboration efforts will help you to stand out with fresh ideas!
Using the work of notable thinkers like Peter Druker can help to inspire and elevate the way you are marketing your content.
So, I’ll leave you to ponder the following: Do you agree it’s a good time to be a marketer? Have you been inspired by Peter Drucker and his famous quotes? Have you used them in your own business? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.