Management Meeting

Marketing and Innovation: Two core functions of every business

Every business has two core functions- Marketing and Innovation. Can you guess which one people struggle with the most?

In my current role as a Growth Advisor for the Spark Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, I have the pleasure of working with early stage companies on their digital marketing strategies. I have been impressed by the innovation they display and the passion they have for bringing new products and services to the market.

We are amazing as Canadians in developing products and services. Sadly, we are still quite behind in understanding how to market and sell them.

So I pose this question to all entrepreneurs: Why isn’t your website your very first priority when launching your sales plan? Why are people still struggling with the concept that their website starts, supports and often maintains the buyer journey? Why are we still so behind in using “website as a sales tool”?

Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, proclaimed something fundamental that most entrepreneurs seem to ignore.

“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.”

Wise words but sadly not heeded by a lot of entrepreneurs. They quickly fall in love with their idea or the problem they set out to solve and forget that the only thing that will get them to revenue is marketing.

And today, that starts with your website.

Gone are the days of ramping up a sales team and hope that their tenacity and contact list will land you the results you need. Sales organizations are having less and less impact on the buyer. Our influence to help buyers choose us is directly related to the content marketing strategy we deliver to help buyers in their journey.

Here’s my observation about this problem: if the basic business functions are marketing and innovation, how do we continue to evolve marketing to support these great innovations we create? It’s not about an online brochure. It’s about good content and we aren’t working hard enough to develop good content. If you don’t believe me, take this little test:

  1. Think about 10 things you buy on annual basis for your business – this can range from paper for the printer to new office space.
  2. Go and look at 10 websites associated with the things you buy.
  3. Point to one website that has done a good job of assisting in your buyer journey.

Chances are, you are going to have a hard time coming up with one example let alone 10.

Creating good content is hard. But if you have woken up to the realization that buyer behaviour has forever changed and that your customers are self-serving and self-selecting, then good content should be the cornerstone of your website.

I believe the reason businesses struggle to develop good content versus good enough, is that people are not striving to make the story bigger than their business. They fall back on the strategy of talking about what they do, not why it matters.

So here are my suggestions for way better content that will help your company improve your marketing and sales results:

  1. Tell a bigger story than yourself. Start with the “why” your business exists not what it does.
  2. Tell bolder stories. Disrupt industry fairytales. Talk about tough problems and how you overcame them. Dig deeper than product information.
  3. Tell a different story. Having a different point of view and a different tone of voice is the gutsiest and bravest tool a B2B content marketer can use.

But most importantly, invest in marketing. Make it a core function of your business and use it set yourself apart in your industry. With infinite choice and confusion in the market, the only way to win is through the basic functions of marketing and innovation. In my line of work I see a ton of people competing in the innovation space but very few prioritize marketing to go alongside it.

The two reasons I love working with early stage companies is first their passion to innovation and invention. Starting and building a business is not for the faint of heart. So having passion and a commitment to the problem is a delight to see. The second reason is more fundamental. Those entrepreneurs that listen and are coachable, have the ability to change their fate right from the start when they embrace the concepts of marketing and make it a core part of their business.

So what will you differently today with respect to marketing and innovation? Are you ready to compete?

If you’re still on the fence get started with the Essential Guide to Content Marketing workbook or if you feel like you need our help, jump start the process by participating in an Online Competitive Analysis to see how well you’re doing today!