Business Message Is Clear: Innovate, Market or Die

Business Lesson From The Big Boys

Peter Drucker, the father of business management, didn’t use those exact words.  Decades ago, his words were:

Innovation and Marketing

Innovation and Marketing

Business has only two basic functions – marketing and innovation.

Today’s headlines demonstrates few companies have taken Peter Drucker’s words to heart.

HP to ax 27,000 Jobs in Overhaul

Dell Profit Falls 33%

Best Buy to Close 50 Stores

While others were innovating and embracing new marketing techniques, HP, Dell and Best Buy continued to operate out of an old playbook.  HP’s management was too busy dating company contractors to notice that mobile and notebook technology would ultimately erode PC usage and demand.

Dell hung on to its business model and was hit the hardest among the technology giants during the recession.  It too ignore or were passive about the growth of smart phones and notebooks.  As with HP, to stimulate growth, Dell has resorted to acquisitions, slashing of thousands of jobs and plant closures.

Best Buy stood by and watched Amazon totally alter consumer behavior and substantively the retail game right under its nose.  To regroup, it will slash jobs, cut space where it can and try to become more nimble and more specialized.

The bottom line for HP, Dell and Best Buy is these companies became complacent.  But this tendency isn’t unique to large companies.  Many small business owners fall into the same complacency trap and are lulled into a sense that what has worked before will continue to work.

But using an old playbook has never really worked – not for the long haul.

The world we live in is in a continuous state of change and flux.

Just look at all of the innovation that has occurred in the last 5- 10 years when it comes to the way we communicate with one another!

The Information Age is about as trans-formative as was the Industrial Revolution.

Social media and online marketing have completely transformed the discipline of marketing.

No more glossy ads or celebrity endorsements that say nothing.  Transparency, responsiveness and earned trust are today’s marketing levers.

Yesterday’s traditional advertising is ignored and muted while word-of-mouth referrals from online buddies holds sway and clout.

Look at the way we shop.  Consumers have become smarter and more discriminating.  They no longer are forced to pay what you ask or be limited by your shelf selections.  They can shop online and find whatever they want, in whatever color they choose and for whatever price they want to pay.

Today’s Innovation and Marketing Requires Customer Connection

Over paid CEOs don’t have a choice.  Neither do over worked small business owners.  Both must become innovative and both must adapt to the new world of marketing.  This means big and small business owners alike need to be connected to their customers.

They need to bond with their customers in a way they never have before.  Business owners of all sizes need to pay attention, watch, listen, ask and learn from their customers in order to survive.


How old is your marketing playbook?

When is the last time you tried something new, offered something different?

What is the status of your marketing?  Are you where your customers are or are you still hanging on to the way you’ve always marketed your business?

Will your business grow and prosper over the next 12 or 24 months or will it die?


Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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