Many companies are linking their corporate strategy to worthy causes, and studies show their philanthropic endeavors are being rewarded with brand loyalty. But what about your company's mission? Why does your company exist? While it may not be as compelling as some charitable causes, your company's mission and vision should resonate deeply with customers, resulting in more leads and brand loyalty.
Consider shoe manufacturer, TOMS® Shoes. While traveling in South America in 2006, founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed children without shoes. The experience spawned the idea to start his company—for every pair purchased, another would be donated to a child in need. The brand quickly became a cause marketing phenomenon.
While not all companies are founded on a philanthropic basis, a company's mission or cause plays an important role in driving marketing results. The mission is the heart of your organization; it inspires your people, meets a need, delivers on a promise, provides motivation for content creation and generates brand loyalty that lasts for years.
Buyers Aren't Looking for Your Products and Services
No, really! So what are buyers looking for? They're looking for a solution to a problem. Period. Your mission is to identify the problem and position your product or service as the best possible way to solve it. Then, deliver on that vision and promise. When I bought a pair of TOMS Shoes, I wasn't necessarily attracted to the style or quality—I was sold on the mission. The shoes were a bonus.
Remember that B2B marketing is still human marketing, and humans are looking for a vision for the future they can get on board with. Are you a financial firm with an emphasis on providing home mortgages? A technology firm? Perhaps a manufacturer? Sure, the product or service you sell may not change the world but, at the heart, you're ultimately providing a solution to someone's problem. Every company has a cause to change the shape of an industry or improve the lives of buyers. Focus on that.
I see so many companies instead focusing on their features, benefits, quality, service or how they're the best in the business. Sound familiar? Granted, those aspects of a business are important, but they also echo the claims of nearly every other company out there, including your competition. So, why should someone choose you over them? Mission. Purpose. Promise.
Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to craft a promise to your buyers and employees that your business isn't just about making money; it's about creating change. But, remember, transparency and sincerity are key. A mission can't be a marketing ploy; buyers (and employees) can see through efforts that are merely meant to garner attention and make the company look good.
Why Your Mission is Critical to Creating Compelling Content
An effective inbound marketing strategy is directly linked to your mission, and it begins outside the marketing department by building a culture of caring. The most successful companies are filled with employees who are passionate about the impact their products or services have on customers—from the assembly line to the CEO. Invite employees from all levels into the brainstorming process as subject matter experts, and make sure they hear your customer success stories so they feel like they're part of something bigger than their to-do list. It's not just the marketing department's job to create compelling content that drives leads. Many employees are eager to contribute content when they have buy-in, so let them know they're invited and encouraged to do so.
Also survey your customers to stay on top of their needs and wants so you can create custom content that directly addresses the concerns and questions they have. Chances are, there are client prospects like them who have similar needs. When they search for a solution, your content will be there with exactly what they're looking for (maybe an eBook, tip sheet, blog post, etc.). When they engage with your content in exchange for their contact information, you'll be one step closer to converting them into leads.
Create content that compels and celebrates solutions, and use inbound marketing tactics to reach them. Consider looking for an outside agency to help you tell your story and develop an inbound strategy that gets results.
After hearing the TOMS Shoes story, I purchased a pair, and they weren’t even on sale! For those who know me, they can attest this is quite remarkable. Every time I wear my shoes, I envision a young child in a far away country stooping down to slip on a pair of her own. To me, I didn’t buy a pair of shoes; I bought a mission and a story. What’s your story?