At a first glance, your vision and mission statements may not seem a fit with the rest of the sales and marketing acronyms. We all know that visions and missions are vital for you and your staff to get excited about leading to real buy-in to the business. But the ethical and emotional stuff that drives a business is fast becoming a hugely important part of your marketing. Increasingly, buyers are selecting suppliers because they identify with what the brand stands for. So, that brings your vision and mission statements into relevance in a whole new way – as part of your sales and marketing strategy.
Secondly, if you are building a brand, the strength of a brand lies in all these things being synonymous or at least synchronized. A vision is your overall purpose, where you really want your business to reach in the next couple of decades and your mission statement is simply a shorter way of summarizing this, with more focus on the here and now. The big difference is that your mission should be actionable, but both should be absolutely aligned.
So if you were launching a new soft drinks company, your vision might say “To build the biggest soft drinks business in the world that outsells Coca Cola. To sell soft drinks that do not rot children’s teeth, are non-fattening yet still appeal to children and adults alike. To have the drinks be so natural and from local produce that they genuinely provide one of the consumer’s five a day”.
Your mission statement might be “Developing the best tasting and most nutritious soft drinks”, the emphasis being on the constant developed and optimizing of your product. That mission can then be broken down into short phrases or individual words associated with it, and these are what make for good reasons why consumers will buy your brand, rather than standard coca cola – so you might have best tasting, nutritious, one of five a day, kind to teeth, natural, non-fattening.
It is then clear to see what your choices are for your “USP”. Kind to teeth and nutritious are not, to my knowledge, something that Coca Cola can currently lay claim to. There are, therefore, Unique Selling Points to you.
From there you choose a strap line – those snazzy phrases such as Snap, Crackle and Pop, or Beanz Means Heinz. This has to be something distilled from your mission statement, and something that makes sure everyone knows exactly what you do, but also which ideally includes your USP – so “Delicious, nutritious – but still fizzy” would sum up your whole new concept.
There is another check to be made on any tag line you use. It should play into your customers’ needs and desires. In this case, if they crave fizzy drinks no doubt dentist, doctors, and constant web marketing on nutrition will have them convinced they are bad for the health but still left pining for them. The answer you can provide? Something fizzy that is still good for them, that in one hits takes away their pain and replaces it with pleasure.
Key selling points (KSP’s) are all the reasons that the customer may have to buy from you, that match all their needs. If you don’t know what your customer needs, you have no hope of selling to them and that is what your marketing data should be delivering. Without that, you could even waste all of your time and effort in pushing a dead weight product or service which no-one has a need for. Your offering is not in how wonderful it is but instead is in its ability to meet your customer’s needs. Not understanding this is one of business’s biggest pitfalls.
To identify KSPs best, you want to do a competitor comparison every so often, identifying all your competitions strongest areas, be that in their reputation or the quality or what they offer or their price and service. List them out for four or five of your top competitors and include your own company in that list. Add on each company’s weaknesses.
Then, spend time with your customers and prospective customers asking them to score both your competitors and you out of 5 on each of those points. The results may surprise you. Your perception of where you – or indeed of where your competitors – are strong – is not necessarily where you think. And what you think is, on this occasion, immaterial. What matters is what your customers think and how they perceive things.
Only when you know that, can you really start developing your key selling points and pushing them out there to meet your customers’ needs. And, of course, you can then also play on your competitors’ weaknesses, ensuring you offer what they cannot but in a subtle way. Never, ever fall into the trap of running down a competitor.
Value Proposition (VP) is just another marketing acronym for what is special about you and your VP sums up all the very best reasons why people should sit up and take notice of what you are offering. If you haven’t some compelling reasons, then why should anyone buy from you?
You are unlikely to excel at everything, but that is never, ever a problem. Instead, work out what you are great at, and then market it, concentrating on customers who need that particular thing. That is the essence of match marketing at its best. And match marketing makes selling just plain easy.