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Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth: What Is Purpose and Why Is It Important?

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If people understand where the company is headed (vision), what the company stands for (mission), how they will work together to get there (values), and what must be accomplished (goals), then the strategy to get there can be understood and executed.

These four elements will ultimately define your company culture, the kind of people you hire, suppliers you work with, how you treat your customers, and even the quality of the customers you attract. Ultimately, it is the best way you can create a solid foundation for your business that will set the compass in the direction you intend.

If you are an entrepreneur, your purpose is further refined by the reason you started your business. It's the passion, vision, and opportunity that inspired you to start the company. Company purpose is unique to every entrepreneur, just as personality is unique to every person. The goal in defining your purpose is to get clarity about what business you are in, how it is unique from others in the market, and the value you provide to all your stakeholders. A business does not exist solely to make money (although that is a nice goal). A business exists to provide value to customers who buy its products and services. If you focus on providing extraordinary value to customers, this alone can drive success.

Just to be clear, this section of your marketing plan is not about "fluff." Most of us have been in strategic planning sessions (or have worked at companies) in which considerable time was spent drafting mission statements only to wonder about the significance of what was really accomplished. And surely as a consumer, you have had an experience where you observed a mission statement displayed prominently on the wall of a business only to discover the words in the statement were anything but your experience with the company.

Purpose-Driven Companies Make Higher Profits

If you want higher profits, have a purpose. Writing this section of your plan will increase profits while also creating a business that is more fun and meaningful for you, your employees, and your customers. Companies that clearly define their mission, vision, and guiding principles, and communicate this consistently across the organization, have significantly higher profit per employee than companies who perform poorly in this area.1 Success Profiles, a performance management company, studied 600 businesses and found that the average profit per employee in the survey increased from $7,802 per employee to $27,401 in companies that make this a best practice in their organization.

If you think things like mission, vision, values, goals, culture, and company purpose are merely "soft," nice-to-have attributes for a business, this fact alone should change your mind.

As the leader driving the development of this important effort, you have the opportunity to create the experience people have with your company. If you are the company founder, you will develop the mission, vision, values, and goals to inspire your employees. If you are a marketing or strategic planning executive, you will have the opportunity to drive this process and communicate the messages in unique and creative ways so they are understood and integrated into the company culture. You will facilitate this important assignment and communicate the messages in your internal company brand campaign. As you will learn in the chapters that follow, an internal brand campaign is as important as your external campaigns because it inspires the actions and behaviors that ultimately become part of your brand.

We will explore several examples of companies that have done an exceptional job of defining their purpose. We will also look at a few special companies that have taken the road less traveled to create a company where company purpose is THE distinct competitive advantage for their company. Author Jim Collins defines the characteristics of companies like this in his book Good to Great. CEOs like Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Kimberly Jordon of New Belgium Brewery run companies powered by purpose.

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