How will writing a marketing strategy contribute to the success of your enterprise? By putting your mission, vision and core values into words, you create focus and guidance for your organization’s employees—but also all the products, services and marketing tools you develop for the outside world. Without this, it is difficult to gauge what the right direction or call is. So let us consider these important elements one by one.
What is a mission?
The mission describes your organization’s raison d’être from the perspective of your own values and identity. The underlying question here is “what do we stand for?”
A mission is the foundation for a company and something that tends to develop on its own throughout the years, often linked to its founder. This person started with a dream to achieve something in the world. “Give everyone access to the internet” for instance, or “end slavery in the cocoa industry”. It could be anything. When the mission is clear and clearly communicated, it will eventually be embraced by the whole company.
Are these pretty words only? No. A mission serves as a deeper motivation for people to contribute to an enterprise. With a clearly defined mission, a company can weather the roughest storm and keep every employee on board. They are words that keep you standing in tough situations.
Questions for determining a mission
- What do we stand for?
- What are our norms and values?
- Which beliefs motivate us?
- What is our reason for being?
Keep in mind: a mission is an enduring thing, it doesn’t change yearly.
What is a vision?
To clarify the difference between mission and vision: where the former asks you the question “what are our values?”, the latter asks “what are our goals?”
This pulls your company’s dream of the future into the real world. What, specifically, will be your contribution to society? In contrast to the timeless mission, a vision is written for a particular period only. You evaluate and adjust it when necessary. Times and market realities change; so you had better check frequently if what you do is still in line with what you are trying to achieve.
Questions for determing your vision
- What do we want to achieve?
- How would you like to achieve this?
Finally, that brings us to…
What are core values?
If the mission is your “why” and the vision your “what”, then your core values are best described as your “how”. This usually takes the form of a list of points or terms that reflect what your company deems important in treating customers.
For an insurance company it can be crucial to be “available 24/7”, as an incident requires immediate action. A housing corporation might have “solution-oriented” and “social responsibility”, or a bank “transparency” and “financial stability”. Each enterprise places its own accent.
Questions for determining core values
- Use your mission and vision to think about which core values would logically follow from them.
- How exactly would you like to do business?
How all of this leads to your strategy
The mission is crystal clear. The vision is right there. The core values are determined. Now all that needs to happen is for this dream of the future to come true. To ensure all the earlier work wasn’t done in vain, it is necessary to think about the strategy you will employ.
“Plans are nothing, planning is everything,” general and president Dwight D. Eisenhower said. By formulating clear actions and developing a plan for this, you increase the chances the strategy will actually work. But how to put this to paper?
A strategy consists of:
- The specific details of your vision: what will you do when and why? What are the things you emphatically won’t do?
- Plan of action: which actions will you take?
- Division of tasks: who will do what?