Many manufacturing businesses have traditionally relied on a direct or distributor sales force to generate growth. The founders, especially 50+ years ago, were essentially inventors – solving customers' pain through developing innovative solutions to problems in a way the competition couldn't. They did not need a marketing department to succeed, just pure guts and determination.
This traditional approach has continued through the decades with the role of marketing failing to evolve much beyond product brochures, maintaining the company website and tradeshows. It is not surprising, therefore, that many CEOs do not understand what marketing can do to help grow the business.