I may be getting a bit New Age here, but stay with me. In the same way that a human being is defined by such things as DNA and experience, surely a company is defined by the personalities of the people involved, their structure/relationships and experiences with customers, suppliers, consultants etc.
So company development in one sense is determined by its history (or that of its participants) and it follows that if the internal relationship works well then the company will be able to operate optimally – whatever that may be. So optimal operation may be different for each group of people. We can of course (and do) change the people involved.
We can perhaps look at such a company – its behaviour in the market etc. and consider how it is presently sub-optimal, can we make changes that will positively benefit the company without destroying its inner operation – but actually enhance it?
I would suggest that for many companies one such change would be to grow a marketing function either by internal growth/import or externally by bolting on a consultancy/agency who can work in a compatible way with the company.
Generally what is required is a way to evolve the company – other times such a move may be intended to deliberately provoke change which can develop into the “next stage” of company growth or kick it out of a rut.
So it may well be that to reach its optimal potential a company needs to stimulate new relationships and a serious marketing program is one well proven way to do this.
Active and successful marketing leads to a pull through effect on everyone – sales, distribution, warehousing, manufacturing, accounts, executives, suppliers – an effect that stimulates everyone in the chain, and focusses individuals to do more interesting things better.
Interestingly, while good marketing brings new customers it also stimulates existing customers perhaps to develop new products of their own based on new ideas from their more active supplier.
So in developing a presently sub-optimal part of its own structure a company can also directly stimulate its own customers to develop themselves.
A win-win virtuous circle!