Sunday, May 16, 2010

Marketing and Innovation Produce Results

"Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs." -- Peter Drucker

I was looking at some quotes to use in the CTS Daily Inspirations Blog and ran across this great quote from the management guru, Peter Drucker. It got me thinking about that and businesses that I have worked for and worked with over a long period of time. Here are the thoughts as a result.

I love this quote because I also agree with it; however, almost every business that I have been associated with missed one of the critical two points: innovation.

All of them got the first part--marketing--well, sort of. They talked like they were all about marketing. But their marketing was stereotypical and stale. They might use brochures, flyers, specials, newspaper advertising, specialty publication ads, yellow pages. . . you know. . . marketing--or is it? Some would "target market" and others would "mass market," all in the hopes of increased sales and revenue. Same old stuff which didn't much make a difference in the past and maybe they just didn't do it enough. You know, repetition is the name of the game and all that.

To me, marketing is so much simpler, yet so broad in scope. In my experience, marketing is fastened at the hip to innovation and when innovation is lacking, marketing goes down with it. I think it is innovation that makes all the difference. Just think Apple: iphone, iride, ipod, ipad, irun, ijogg, ihear, ido. Yes. Innovation.

Okay, so you're not Apple and not Steve Jobs. Maybe you're a body company or a truck dealership. So, you hire an outside sales team and go out and tell the story over and over. Take a demo and show it off, tell them about the specials you got going on and what the incentives are for them to buy today. Boring. Of course, you already know that if Apple did that, they would be an Apple Core. It is the innovation that completely revived this once headed for the heap company. And, there's no question about Steve Jobs being a strong leader, but that can be done in your company too. If you really want to and you start seeing a different picture.

Do you think Apple salespeople have a hard time selling an iPad? or an iPhone? It's a piece of cake in the sales world, but only because of the innovative quality of the product. They have some nice marketing too, but again, that goes along for the ride. In a sluggish economy, their innovation is driving serious profits and new heights. What about your company? Or my company?

As a former 10-year body rep, I can tell you without a doubt that innovation would make all the difference. There is absolutely nothing as valuable in the marketplace as enthusiasm and enthusiasm is driven by innovation. Going out and telling the same tired story is torture--for the salesperson and the prospect. Repackaging the same old stuff is nice, but it is the same old stuff still. All that's left is cutting the price. What we need is new stuff: new solutions, new design, new materials, new effectiveness, new colors, new textures, newer and cooler and greener--in other words, innovation.

The same would be true of truck dealerships. Mass marketing has long lost its results. As a truck dealer, you don't control the chassis design, or body design, but here's the good news: you control everything else! How those two things are combined can be innovative. How the services are offered and performed need not be old, boring, same. They can be innovative services. There are a wealth of ways that innovation can take place and therefore drive marketing to new places in every dealership in the country.

No, you're not Apple, or Microsoft, or whomever is the Hot One at the moment, but you certainly qualify as a candidate, and so do I.

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