Ideally, to be successful in business you need to have mission and vision statements, as well as a marketing strategy. They are all equally important as they are all powerful sign-posts to provide clear and succinct directions. The mission and vision statements are focused on the purpose and aspirations of the company, while a marketing strategy focuses on highlighting what is unique about your company to a targeted audience.
Unfortunately, mission and vision statements are often confusing or too generic, mixing values, aspirations, philosophies, strategies and descriptions. Let’s be clear about the difference between a mission and a vision statement:
- A mission statement articulates the purpose of the company, why it exists, and what it does and for whom. It should serve as an ongoing guide that spells out what the company is all about. The mission should focus on the here and now.
- A vision statement outlines the goals and aspirations for the future. It creates a mental picture of a specific medium-term target and should be used as a source of inspiration.
With those definitions in mind, I have outlined below what I believe to be the reasons why having all three of these documents written down and adhered to is essential to helping you clearly define your goals, objectives, audience and value both internally and externally.
Mission and Vision Statements are commonly used to:
- Guide management’s thinking on strategic issues, especially during times of significant change
- Help define performance standards
- Inspire employees to work more productively by providing focus and common goals
- Guide employee decision making
- Enlist external support
- Create closer linkages and better communication with customers, suppliers and alliance partners
- Serve as a public relations tool
A Marketing Strategy is commonly used to:
- Define what makes your service/product unique (besides price)
- Create a Unique Selling Proposition
- Define key target audiences for specific services or products you offer and where they are
- Define what types of marketing tactics can be used to attract your key audiences
- Define what your company values and how that relates to your audiences’ values
- Define the frequency of the marketing tactics
- Define measurement for each of the tactics for ROI tracking
I find that a good way to start the process of creating these key pieces of business documentation is to ask key people in your organization to answer the following questions:
- For Mission (or Purpose): What is the core purpose of the organization? What do we do and for who?
- For Vision (or Ambition): Where do we want to be in 5 or 10 years time? What are our aspirations?
- For Marketing Strategy: What makes your service/product stand apart from the competition?
Do you feel your corporate mission statements and marketing strategy are useful, or do you disagree with me and feel (even well crafted) vision and mission statements and marketing strategies are not necessary/useful? Please share you views in the comments below!