Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan
Defining the Vision
An organizational vision should be made up of two fundamental components: a core ideology and an envisioned future.
Examine the characteristics and purpose of corporate vision
- The core ideology defines the character of the organization, which should endure beyond any external or environmental trends and changes.
- The envisioned future should be laid out as a 10 to 30-year audacious goal with vivid descriptions that include the result of achieving that goal.
- If the organization in general, and its chief executive in particular, has a strong vision of where its future lies, then there is a good chance that the organization will achieve a strong position in its markets (and attain that future).
- 5 Whys technique: The 5 Whys is a question-asking technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem.
- vision: An ideal or a goal toward which one aspires.
Perhaps the most important factor in successful marketing is the “corporate vision. ” Surprisingly, it is largely neglected by marketing textbooks, although not by the popular exponents of corporate strategy — indeed, it was perhaps the main theme of the book by Peters and Waterman, in the form of their “Super-ordinate Goals. “. Corporate vision begins with a clear and concise understanding of who will buy the product or service produced by the company and what they want and need. It is paramount to defining the company’s vision and to creating a vision statement.
The bestselling book “In Search of Excellence” written by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. states: “Nothing drives progress like the imagination. The idea precedes the deed. ”
If the organization and particularly its chief executive have a strong vision of where its future lies, then it is likely they will achieve a strong position in its markets (and attain that future). This will not be trivial because its strategies will be consistent and will be supported by its staff at all levels.
For example, all of IBM’s marketing activities were underpinned by its philosophy of “customer service. ” This vision was originally promoted by the charismatic Watson dynasty. The emphasis at this stage is on obtaining a complete and accurate picture.
Characteristics of a Great Vision Statement
A great vision has the following characteristics:
- It is simple and idealistic, appealing to core values. These can be personal core values or a company’s core values.
- It is challenging but also realistic. A vision is usually expressed in a way as to appear far reaching, but people must feel like that it can, somehow, be achieved.
- It provides focus, serving as a guide when decisions have to be made.
- It provides clear benefits. If you want people to follow your vision, you’ll have to provide one in which they can invest (emotionally at first and actively later on).
One can find a lot of resources online and offline on how to write compelling vision statements. However, we’re much more interested in the process of crafting a vision. That introspective process that helps people and organizations alike to define a Vision.
In the 1996 Harvard Business Review article titled, “Building Your Company’s Vision,” authors James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, outlined a framework to define organizational vision, suggesting that it should be made up of two fundamental components: a core ideology and an envisioned future.
According to the authors, the core ideology defines the character of the organization, which should endure beyond any external or environmental trends and changes, while the envisioned future should be laid out as a 10 to 30-year audacious goal with vivid descriptions, including the result of achieving that goal.
The core ideology is made up of core values and a core purpose. These are the guiding principles and tenets of the organization and its most fundamental reason for being.
Core values are the enduring guiding principles of an organization. They are timeless and not necessarily expressed in the mission statement because the wording might change over time. Rather, the core values are the underlying ideology that remains constant. These guiding principles should be intrinsic to all members of the organization providing a common frame for everyone and do not require external justification (“this is why we do what we do”). They provide the internal motivation to stay the path and keep on going, even in spite of adverse external circumstances.
The core purpose of a company is it’s “raison d’tre”. It expresses the soul of the organization, usually through a mission statement. The core purpose should be expressed in a timeless and unattainable way. It should be a tantalizing objective, driving change and progress but never completely realized.
To uncover the organization’s true purpose, the authors suggest using the 5 Whys technique.
A vivid description should help all of us visualize a greener, brighter future resulting from the successful completion of the quest.
This description should enthuse and excite the listener. It should be passionate and emotional and should convey these feelings through its message. Business people tend to shy from conveying emotional messages about hopes and dreams, but that’s exactly how to motivate others. Great leaders know this and, as any student of rhetoric knows, have used it time and again throughout history to gather support around an idea or a course of action.