Marketiing as a Driver of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Yesterday, I attended a public session of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for a discussion on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.
Members of the Council are some pretty high powered folks including serial entrepreneurs, university administrators, and business folks from companies like AOL, Boston Consulting Group and others. The session was hosted by Howard University School of Business and featured Gary Locke, the Secretary of Commerce (pictured).
Among their recommendations are:
- Tax incentives for Investors including a 30% tax credit - Angels and VC
- Capital gains exclusions for money invested in small businesses and held at least 5 years.
- Reduced or no taxes on the profits of small businesses for a short time to allow them to reinvest funds in operations and growth.
- Improved technology transfer from Universities and Federal labs.
- Speeding up the patent application process to guarantee approval within 1 year (for an additional fee).
- Improve federal grant approval processes for SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer).
- Reduced capital gains taxes on later-stage investment in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Missing from this discussion, however, was a discussion of how marketing can help entrepreneurial businesses.
If you think about it, there are 2 ways businesses get the funds they need to operate — financial activities and marketing activities. Unfortunately, NACIE only focused on financial activities in stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.
Even in the early stages, before the firm has a product to sell, there's still a role for marketing to play in driving innovation and entrepreneurship. Most people think of marketing as just advertising, but there's a lot more to marketing and these elements can help new small businesses develop successful models
Think about it. Do you really buy a product — whether its a car or toothpaste? Not really. What you buy is a solution to your problem. You need to get from one place to another — buy a car. You need a symbol of success — buy a luxury car or sports car. Need clean teeth — buy toothpaste. We don't buy these products for themselves, we buy them because they solve a problem (or maybe several problems).Continued on the next page