Thoughts from business guru Peter Drucker

marketing-image“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.” Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker was a well-known, some might even say revered, consultant, teacher, writer and business guru. I remember reading his books and articles during different stages in my career – my pre-writing career, that is. His ideas were always thoughtful and insightful and he was sought out by many huge corporations for advice.

So, what does this quote have to do with me? Or with other authors in today’s world of writing and publishing?

As authors we innovate through our books, bringing new stories to readers or new spins on old stories and themes to help readers think about issues, experience circumstances vicariously, and build new understanding of relationships and the human condition.

As business people – yes, we are business people – we should also concern ourselves with marketing. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Another take on marketing suggests that this function is the process by which goods and services move from concept to the customer. A process that considers the 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion.

Dr. Philip Kotler, Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago, suggests that marketing is “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.  Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”

(For more definitions of marketing, have a look at 72 Definitions of Marketing by consultant, Heidi Cohen.)

Many authors consider promotion as the essence of marketing; some say they hate this aspect of their work and aren’t good at it.

Which of us considers the notion of target markets? Unfulfilled needs of readers? Profit potential? The places where readers in target markets can find our books? Have you morphed from self-published to having a publisher and sighed with relief at not having to do any more marketing?

If, as Drucker says, marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business, I believe we need to address this task more seriously.

End of lecture for the day 🙂


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

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The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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One Response

  1. Right on, Mary! Marketing is not to be feared or avoided by authors; it is to be embraced. At least, that’s how I look at it. In the last year, I probably spent 50 percent of my time on marketing, which included all sorts of things like launching my website, discovering my best target audience groups, et al.

    I think one thing that puts off authors to Marketing is those long, obtuse definitions of it. It’s really very simple (for me) — and I didn’t see this in that linked list of 72. Here’s my definition: “Marketing: getting and keeping customers.” That’s it, plain and simple.

    A final point Mary raises (“Have you morphed from self-published to having a publisher and sighed with relief at not having to do any more marketing?”). Unless things have changed, authors will NEVER be divorced from marketing, with a publisher or without. That is, if they want to be successful in writing as a business.

    And that’s my lecture! 🙂

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