Nothing happens in business until someone sells something.Oh, how true. At least, nothing profitable happens in business until someone sells something. Yet most businesses have so many wheels turning within wheels that people can be happily forget that businesses exist to make a profit for their shareholders. Without sales there is no revenue, and without revenue there are no profits. No business can (or should) run for very long without profit.
So businesses need people to sell their products or services. That much is clear.
But does business need marketing? What additional value does marketing bring to the profits party?
To answer that, you first have to understand what marketing is. And in true marketing style, prepare to get anything but a straight answer.
“Marketing is the battle to dominate a market niche in prospects’ minds” say Ries and Trout.
“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably” according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing.You would be forgiven for thinking that marketers run the business, so central is their role. And maybe they should, but they don’t. Far from it. More financiers than marketers run successful companies.
Yet it isn’t the financiers who are tasked with understanding what customers want. They are not figuring out why customers make one buying choice rather than another. It is marketers.
In theory, at least, marketing plays a central role in making sure businesses are producing the right goods and services, pricing them so the business is profitable, and ensuring customers know about them, and are able to buy them (4P’s: Product, Place, Price and Promotion).
Some of these decisions are rightly taken with the input of many aspects of the company: finance, operations, and marketing. Yet without recognising the market-led nature of these decisions, businesses may not give marketing the priority or resource necessary to help the business make the best decisions.
Marketing’s all-encompassing nature is both a strength and weakness in its role within business.
Of course there are some businesses with no need for marketing. These include:
- Businesses with little or no competition
- Businesses whose potential customers know who they are, what they do and why they should buy
- Businesses in industries that do not change