6 Steps for Building a Purpose-Driven Marketing Strategy
You need a marketing strategy designed around your mission and values.
As consumers, we imagine ourselves to be logical decision-makers. We believe we care about practical things like budgets and product quality. And sure. We kind of do.
It’s “Just Do It,” not “Our shoes are breathable with a lot of cushioned support!”
It’s “Think Different,” not “The most technologically advanced computers you’ll find!”
It’s “Because You’re Worth It,” not “Affordable lipstick that won’t rub off!”
All these brands will tell you what’s great about their products. But the messages they really drive home are things like:
You can make things happen.
Be bold and resist conformity.
Marketing has always been about conveying values and promising a better life. And the matter of mission is now more important than ever as Millennial consumers tend to prioritize purpose-driven businesses.
It’s not just a matter of consumer ethics. Your mission and company culture have a way of making your business feel more personal. Clients feel like they truly know who they’re buying from when they know what you stand for.
So what do you need to do to create a purpose-centered marketing strategy?
1. Understand Your Customer
This is at the heart of any strong marketing strategy. You need to understand your client.
Understand not only their demographics and buying behaviors, but their needs, their dreams, their fears, and their values.
What kind of life do they want to build for themselves? Who do they want to be in the world and for the world? How does your product or service help fulfill those goals?
When we strive to be anything—kinder, smarter, more successful—we think carefully about the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
It may sound strange, but think of your business as a “person” in your customer’s circle. Does your branding indicate that you’ll fit in with the vision they have for themselves?
2. Define Your Values for Yourself
A successful purpose-driven business focuses on the intersection between your client’s values and your own.
Authenticity sells, so don’t pretzel yourself into marketing messages that don’t truly represent who you are.
Instead, set aside your client’s priorities for just a moment and consider the mission that propels you forward each day.
This might mean it’s time to do some deep thinking, especially if you’ve only ever defined your mission as “make a lot of money” or “follow in my father’s footsteps.”
Ask yourself what kind of impact you’d like to make on the world through your business. Do you want to help people find peace in a crisis? Empower homeowners to care for their property? Boost confidence or inspire goodwill?
Once you know what it is, decide how it intersects with your customer’s values.
There is always an intersection. And it should be the focal point of your marketing message.
3. Communicate with Your Team
Make sure every single person your team knows what your company stands for.
My company, 911 Restoration, is built around the Fresh Start attitude. This is our belief that every crisis is an opportunity to rebuild better than before, and our mission is to not only create Fresh Starts for our clients, but to spread that message of hope and positivity.
You can speak with anyone at 911 Restoration, from franchisees to the sales team to accounting, and they will tell you how they contribute to the Fresh Start mission through their role.
When you create that kind of unity on your team, your customers notice. It also helps build a strong sense of brand identity, which is key for purpose-driven marketing.
You’re not just the company who once mentioned the importance of innovating to make your services more affordable. You’re the company who innovates every day because you want to be able to help people from all walks of life.
It’s who you are.
4. Build Your Marketing Strategy Around Your Mission
Ad copy. Social media images. Video marketing. Eblasts.
Make sure everything… everything… reflects what you stand for.
Sometimes it can be direct, like when 911 Restoration ads flat-out tell homeowners we’re here to give them a Fresh Start after disaster.
Sometimes it can be indirect, like when we post social media images like this one:
You don’t have to stop talking about product features and value propositions. Just make sure everything centers around that driving mission.
You’ve created these incredible services because of the impact you’re trying to make on the world.
5. Tell Your Story
One very powerful way to position yourself as a purpose-driven business is to tell the story of your company.
And what exactly is the story of your company?
It could be:
- An event or realization that inspired you to start this business.
- An experience that moved you to change direction or push towards a deeper mission.
- Your personal history in this industry, in the community you serve, or with the problem you solve.
- How you found your team and why they’re the perfect group to fulfill your shared mission.
Share your story on your website. Have it ready when you meet with potential clients or do media interviews. Make sure your buyers know where you come from, how you built your company, and—most importantly—why you built it.
And if you doubt your story holds any power, let me ask you: Where did Microsoft start?
How many times did Thomas Edison fail to create a functioning lightbulb until he succeeded?
You probably know the answers because we can’t stop telling those stories. And those stories define the way we think of the businesses and ourselves.
6. Build Towards Consistency
Unless you’re designing a purpose-driven marketing strategy for a brand new business, you’ll find yourself confronting one major challenge:
You already have a ton of marketing materials that aren’t centered around your values and mission.
You spent money on them. A lot of time went into them. They already exist. And it’s going to take a lot of work to change them all now.
Do it anyway. I promise, consistent brand messaging pays off in a big way.
You don’t have to redo all your marketing materials overnight. Work with the time and budget available to you. Chip away at it over time. But do make the change.
Remember, the ultimate goal here is to make it clear to your customers who you are and what you stand for. This is how you earn trust and advocacy.
Or, as we call it in the business world, revenue.
So, what’s your purpose? What do you stand for? And how will you let your clients know?
Further Resources on This Topic
Blog Post: The Power of Customer-Obsessed Marketing