Marketing & Innovation

It must have happened while I was watching The Wolf of Wall Street (one of the best movies of 2013 apparently) with my dad. The thought occurred to me (or did it happen in the movie?) that the two key functions necessary for any business operation are marketing and innovation. The balance is not important.

Stratton & Oaks was clearly a marketing-heavy firm, but there was a hint of innovation in Belfort’s ability to recognize the shortcomings of the other idiots manning the telephones and to turn this into a script designed to close the deal.

Come to find that a search for marketing and innovation brings up an article on Forbes entitled Peter Drucker on Marketing, written by Jack Trout (

Long ago Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, made a very profound observation that has been lose in the sands of time:

“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.”

Today, when top management is surveyed, their priorities in order are: finance, sales, production, management, legal and people. Missing from the list: marketing and innovation.

Funny enough to find that not only is my casual observation a very big deal, the article also blasts the popular business book Built to Last by James Collins and Jerry Porras. You know, all that spiel about the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)? Trout writes: “The companies that the authors of Built to Last suggest for emulation … didn’t have to deal with the intense competition in today’s global economy … they had the luxury of growing up when business life was a lot simpler. As a result, these role models are not very useful for companies today.”

Woah. Deep.