What Comes First? Marketing Strategy or Business Objectives?

What comes first?  It's the chicken v the egg debate.  Marketing Strategy vs Business Objectives.

This is often confused.  And, particularly for SMEs this is a great challenge with people employed to be the marketing manager. 

Generally, the practical marketer says 'Business Objectives always come first'. However, the strategic marketer disagrees.

Since we're a strategic firm, we take the later point of view.

It's a little naive to think business objectives come before marketing strategy.  

The key to answering this supposed debate is to not get confused with marketing strategy execution vs strategic marketing principles.

The reality is the principles of marketing; purpose, value, brand, positioning, competitive advantage etc are the foundations on which the broader usiness is built. 

These are marketing functions which are central to the business and are no more owned by the marketing team than, for example, any other team owning the accounting principle of Revenue less Cost equals Profit.  

To set business objectives you much first engage your marketing mind and determine how you will bring value to a customer.

Strategic marketing thinking comes first, building the business model comes second and executing a marketing strategy follows close behind.

I think this is why Drucker famously said;

"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

Don't get confused with marketing strategy or business objectives.  Keep your eye on the customer and deliver value.

You'll find you'll think like a marketer, empower your marketing team to execute on the strategy and you'll set yourself up for success.