This is material is unique enough to be sold, yet it is free. Learn how to develop your marketing vision and position your brand for years to come.
When it comes to starting up a new business, there are different kinds of statements – a vision statement, a mission statement, and (hey, why not?) a bank statement. I’ve covered that topic pretty well in my previous articles – “What Is a Vision Statement and How Is It Different from a Mission Statement?” and “ “.
However, there is one kind of vision, which not everyone is aware of and which is often dismissed as something irrelevant. I am talking about a your vision of your own business.
There are quite a few ways to define the vision and none of them is sufficient enough for me. That is why I created my own and would like to share it with you before we move on to the practical stuff.
A marketing vision is a document, which defines the future positioning of your company and brand on the market.
A great document should give answers to the following questions:
- Where is your brand now? How would you define its current state?
- Where do you want to go with your brand? How people (customers, partners, employees) should perceive it? What emotions should your brand evoke in those people?
- How are you planning to get there? How does your document align with your company’s vision and mission statements?
Creating Your Own Marketing Vision: Basic Principles
Whenever creating a your own vision, you should keep these things in mind. Everything that is to follow will be based on them.
Principle 1. Vision Should Be Revised at Least Once in 5 Years
The digital market changes way too fast and there is no way for you to predict what is going to happen even next year, let alone next decade.
Therefore, try not to look too far ahead of your time and come back to revise your vision once in a few years – even if you feel that everything’s fine. A second thought has never hurt anybody yet.
Principle 2. Vision Should Define the Company’s Day-to-Day Business Activities (and Not the Other Way Around)
Make sure you have spent enough time to think about your vision, as this is the document you are going to live by the next few years.
All your routine daily activities, short-term goals, and objectives should align with your own vision. Before you become tempted to do something rather extravagant and seemingly profitable, check it against your own vision – how well it fits the vision.
This is the best kind of audit you’ll ever come up with.
Principle 3. Vision Should Come From the Top Management (Owner) of the Company
You, as the owner of the business, should define where this business is heading, and no other person.
Of course, you can get some advice from the side but the final decision is up to you – not a digital marketing agency or some influential, experienced friend of yours.
Principle 4. No Marketing Agency Can Create a Name for Your Brand – You Should Do It Yourself
There is no sense in employing someone to do the dirty work for you – brands are born in sweat and hard work, which effectively means there will be fails along the way. You have to go this way alone.
You can have all the information and data you need but the actual process of creating a marketing vision is your own responsibility. If it was just a question of who hires the best consultant, there would millions of great brands around, which is not the case.
You only get as much as you put into it.
Principle 5. Center Your Vision Around the Customer – and Never Around Your Product
Products come and go. So do trends and technologies. People, however, stay the same. Hey, even Apple have changed their name from the original 1977 “Apple Computer, Inc.” to simply “Apple, Inc.” in 2007 to reflect its shift towards the rapidly growing market of consumer electronics rather than personal computers.
That is why you should build your detailed vision around the basic needs of your customer. Read more about the customer-oriented approach in this article “How to Create Buyer Persona for Your Business and Get More Clients.”
Creating Your Vision: Template
Let’s take the five aforementioned principles and expand on each of them to give you the ideas for building your own vision.
1. Revision of Your Vision
It’s plain and simple – to see if your vision is still relevant, you need to check it against the current situation using these 5 points.
- Does your brand appeal to the basic needs of your customers?
- How loyal are your customers to your brand (in all segments)?
- How much extra money are your potential customers willing to pay for the brand, not the product itself?
- Are there any similar brands/products on the market?
- How do customers differentiate your brand from the others?
- Do your customers trust your brand, in general? If not, what should you do to change it?
- How well do you live up to your customers’ expectations?
- Is your brand going to develop successfully during the next five years?
- Are there any signs that it might be copied by your competitors?
- Are you going to be able to sustain the brand inside the company and out on the market for the next 5 years?
- How well does the current document correspond with the long-terms corporate goals?
- Will your employees embrace this document the way you do?
- How well does the current document align with the current daily business activities of the company?
2. Vision Defines What You Are and What You Do
First, you find yourself a direction and then you concentrate your own and your team’s efforts in order to go the chosen path.
All the money-related and product-related decisions should be based on the document you’ve created.
3. You Are Solely Responsible for Creating Your Own Vision
The best way to understand what customers need is to become a customer yourself. Bill Marriott (the owner of Marriott International, Inc.) spends 80% of his free time in the hotels of his own hotel chain. Why? To see how well the declared values align with the reality.
Steve Jobs tested all Apple products himself as a typical user would – simply because he WAS the user at the time he did it. Why? To ensure the best possible outcome for the customers.
By doing so, these people send a clear signal to the customers, employees, investors, and everyone else – they have a very deep understanding and knowledge of what they do.
4. You and Your Employees Are the Ones Who Create the Brand
It’s one thing that you believe in what you do. Your employees should also share your (marketing) vision. If they don’t, how could they appeal to your customers?
Your employees, your own company should be one of the most dedicated “adepts” of your product. They should believe in your brand to the extent when they won’t hesitate telling other people how good your product is – it’s called “word-of-mouth” promotion. Therefore, you need to “sell” the product within your company first, and then distribute it elsewhere. To achieve that, you need to ensure the following:
Every person on every level of the hierarchy should be aware of what your own vision is, what your brand represents and stands by.
It’s not enough to tell people what the vision is. You should also rationalize your decision and explain the background logic that led to this decision.
- right direction
Materialize the abstract words and phrases of your own vision into the actual behavior patterns and habits that correspond with your vision.
The most difficult task ever is to light people’s souls with an idea worth following. Provide inspiring examples of how your customers use your product and achieve outstanding results or simply enjoy it.
This is very simple – every employee should feel like his or her actions can actually make a change and influence the output.
No one is smart enough not to learn something new. Give people new knowledge, and they will adore you for that.
5. It’s Always About the Customer, Not the Product
What’s to add? Products will come and go. People will always be people, with their own little weaknesses, temptations, and imperfections. Try not exploit them but rather satisfy them.
Let’s say you run a company, which sells sneakers. Here are some examples of marketing visions, depending on the positioning angle.
- nation-wide reach
We have our own retail representative in more than 1,000 towns across the country, ensuring the best quality and availability wherever you are.
- the highest quality
We never settle for the average. Our sneakers are hand-made from the top quality materials – no two pairs are the same. When you buy our sneakers, you know you’ve got the best shoes possible.
- top-notch service
Our sales assistants are always ready to help you with anything they can – even if it’s a simple chat.
- experts in footwear
For us, sneakers are not just a piece of footwear. It’s a 100-year old culture and a state of mind. Our designers are as passionate about sneakers as you are.
- widest choice
We offer more than a thousand models of sneakers for every occasion. Hey, we even carry sneakers for dogs – buy your pet a pair! 😉
Marketing vision defines the future positioning of your company and brand on the market. It’s a very short but important statement that helps you align your day-to-day activities in order to achieve greatness.
The right thing to do would be share this article with your friends on the social networks – just click on one of the icons of social media, it’s that easy.
If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.