Anyone who has come to one of my workshops will know that I endlessly quote Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting and his views on the importance of marketing and innovation to every business.

The three quotes that I come back to again and again are:

There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer… Because it is the purpose to create a customer, any 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.


Marketing is so basic that it is not just enough to have a strong sales department and to entrust marketing to it. Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business.


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.

So what does Drucker mean and why do I care so much?

Let’s start with marketing. Drucker means that for an organisation to have real value at it has to be focused on the customer’s point of view in everything it does. Too many of the business I talk to don’t talk to their customers. They fail to keep up with their wants, needs and tastes. They do not get to know them as people with hopes, fears and aspirations. They do not find out how they use and abuse your product or service. Moreover, they do not bother to find out how their customers describe their product or service.

Is your business focused on the customer’s point view and what do you do to ensure their point of view is heard throughout the business?

Why did Drucker consider innovation so important? Because without innovation you cannot convince a prospect to buy from you rather than a competitor. Innovation has to be at the heart of the business and marketing helps you decide where to focus your time, money and effort.

Have you bought innovation to the heart of your business? Does your marketing inform your innovation strategy?

And finally, how did Drucker differentiate between sales and marketing? For Drucker, the salesperson influences the customer to buy what the organisation has produced, while the marketer determines out what the customer wants and influences the organisation to deliver it.

Here at Make Happy, we are passionate about bringing the customer’s voice into everything we do for our clients because that ensures that everything we say to them is based on a fundamental understanding of what they need, not what we presume they need. So we make no excuses by stating that business is marketing and marketing is management (with thanks to Frederick E. Webster Jr. and his paper “Marketing IS management: The wisdom of Peter Drucker“, published in the Journal of Academic Marketing Science in 2008)