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Marketing planning - the mission statement

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

Mission

A strategic marketing plan starts with a clearly defined business mission.

Mintzberg defines a mission as follows:

“A mission describes the organisation’s basic function in society, in terms of the products and services it produces for its customers”.

A clear business mission should have each of the following elements:

Marketing planning mission

Taking each element of the above diagram in turn, what should a good mission contain?

(1) A Purpose

Why does the business exist? Is it to create wealth for shareholders? Does it exist to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders (including employees, and society at large?)

(2) A Strategy and Strategic Scope

A mission statement provides the commercial logic for the business and so defines two things:

- The products or services it offers (and therefore its competitive position)
- The competences through which it tries to succeed and its method of competing

A business’ strategic scope defines the boundaries of its operations. These are set by management.

For example, these boundaries may be set in terms of geography, market, business method, product etc. The decisions management make about strategic scope define the nature of the business.

(3) Policies and Standards of Behaviour

A mission needs to be translated into everyday actions. For example, if the business mission includes delivering “outstanding customer service”, then policies and standards should be created and monitored that test delivery.

These might include monitoring the speed with which telephone calls are answered in the sales call centre, the number of complaints received from customers, or the extent of positive customer feedback via questionnaires.

(4) Values and Culture

The values of a business are the basic, often un-stated, beliefs of the people who work in the business. These would include:

• Business principles (e.g. social policy, commitments to customers)
• Loyalty and commitment (e.g. are employees inspired to sacrifice their personal goals for the good of the business as a whole? And does the business demonstrate a high level of commitment and loyalty to its staff?)
• Guidance on expected behaviour – a strong sense of mission helps create a work environment where there is a common purpose

What role does the mission statement play in marketing planning?

In practice, a strong mission statement can help in three main ways:
• It provides an outline of how the marketing plan should seek to fulfil the mission
• It provides a means of evaluating and screening the marketing plan; are marketing decisions consistent with the mission?
• It provides an incentive to implement the marketing plan





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