This is one of the first questions I always ask my consulting clients. The answer, or the lack of it, tells me a lot about the mindset of the owners and executives. It also helps me understand how relevant the company’s marketing strategy may be to its customers’ needs. I understand that replying with answers like “to make money” or “to be acquired” may seem fine on the surface, however these types of answers usually point to a disconnect in the marketing strategy plans.
Let me elaborate with an example. A residential real estate agency and its agents may believe they are in the business of helping their clients buy and sell houses. However, they are truly powerful when they realize they are actually in the business of making dreams come true. They exist to help their clients buy or sell homes where their kids will or did grow up, where they will or did make life-long memories.
When you exist to “buy and sell” houses, you may market by listing the usual data; size, number of bedrooms, upgrades, neighborhood and… etc. However when you exist to help people buy their “home”, you start with the customer. You learn about their vision, dreams, needs and wants. Does this mind set affect the agency’s marketing strategy? You bet it does!
Let’s take a look another real life example from Amazon’s vision statement. “Our [Amazon’s] vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” (Quoted from Amazon.com)
You can argue how realistic or practical this vision statement is, however, you cannot deny that it is clear and helps set direction for the company’s various departments. It’s also a clear mandate for the company’s marketing strategy.
The underlying reason for a business’ existence is the foundation for that entity’s vision. The vision sets the ground rules for hiring the right people and the formation of the company’s marketing strategy. It is also the guiding light in times where decisions need to be made and directions need to be set. When you have a clear understanding of why you are in business, it is easier to identify the right choices in moving forward.
So why does your business exist? Whether you are an established business or a Startup, spend some time to figure this out and let the answers guide your product selection, marketing strategy, hiring practices and everything else that help make a business successful.
Frank Kamal — CEO | Principal Consultant