Marketing in the Key of A(J) Minor

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The University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management offers minors to full-time M.B.A. students in Finance, Strategic Innovation (“S.I.” for short), and marketing. Upon learning of this possibility, I decided to jump on the proverbial bandwagon. As a Badger, we didn’t have minors at the UW-Madison, so this seemed like an especially novel opportunity. (For the record, I would have probably minored in Geology.)

The saying that “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing people” is attributed to David Packard, one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard. This is especially true in light of Peter Drucker’s assertion that “the purpose of a business is to generate new customers, and only two functions do that, marketing and innovation.”[1] As someone majoring in “Strategic Management and Innovation” under the majestic banner of the SI Academy here at Tippie, this is of course delightful music to my ears.  If it is good enough for the likes of Dave and Pete, it is good enough for A.J. (By the by, the unofficial slogan of the Strategic Innovation is It’s Better Here…It’s Better Here.)

From the vantage point of a former participant in the TV business (I’ve since regressed to the College Radio business, albeit temporarily), the potential synergies between marketing and innovation should be the guiding light for that industry, especially given the explosion of value creation in such businesses as Netflix and other streaming video services. Apple and Google are trying to crack that nut as well, and for good reason given the number of potential eyeballs on the ever-expanding and changing World Wide Web. As traditional cable customers continue to “cut the cord,” they will gravitate to some other place, right?

But the importance of both marketing and innovation, always and necessarily applied strategically, holds true to all industries and businesses, no matter what their size, location, etc. Today change is the norm (as it always has been) and it seems that the pace of change is on a geometric growth curve, at least to my relatively young eyes. As these eyes and ears age, it is my sincere hope and belief that my M.B.A. degree, with its emphasis on strategy, innovation, and marketing, will assist me in making wonderful (and profitable) “music” long into the future.

At this point, it would be advisable to find a recording of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and play it at the maximum allowable volume.


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