Peter Drucker believed that business had two primary functions: marketing and innovation. And he was very clear about this is his various writings.
“A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers, to provide the goods or services which the company exists to produce. Profit is not the primary goal but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence. Other responsibilities, e.g., to employees and society, exist to support the company’s continued ability to carry out its primary purpose. And 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 business.”
Here’s the takeaway: If the main responsibility of a company is to serve its customers, innovation and marketing are the means by which that can be accomplished.