There are countless ways to spend your marketing budget – Pay-Per-Click, gazillions of emails, Google ads and advertising. I spent many years responding to client requests to oversee these kinds of activities. And over the course of that work I became less and less inspired. The scattergun approaches never netted the results companies were after, because,
“…in far too many cases, the methods were not truly strategic, nor brand-aligned, nor sustainable, nor effectively measured. I witnessed costly and lengthy attempts at a series of marketing approaches, either as in-house projects or by outsourcing work to expensive agencies, without close to a return on investment. The marketing was activity for activity’s sake, rather than marketing that is from purpose, with purpose, on purpose.” Read the article Expressing your purpose through business
Purposeful marketing is not a logo design, ad campaign or new website; these are tactics that, in and of themselves, won’t produce remarkable, dependable nor sustainable results.
When I sought to redefine my own company’s marketing approach, I almost made the same mistake so many of my former clients were making. I thought I just needed to find a personal branding expert – someone to come up with a clever strapline and catchy messaging for me.
That led me to and through the much deeper process of becoming purpose-driven and purpose-ful. We zero in on the fundamental purpose of our work. We commit to building a business that will fulfill that purpose. We articulate and commit to the values, culture and business model that support it. And then we create the branding and marketing that announces our commitment to the public, which attracts a long-lasting flow of customers, clients, partners, revenue and growth.
My business is now to help other businesses articulate and announce their purpose through truly purposeful marketing. It starts with deep understanding: why the business exists, what the CEO and/or board of directors believe they are there to do, what difference they want their business to make. I apply my ability to join everything up and a rigorous process to ‘find the thread’ that runs from the leadership’s values, their company’s purpose, through culture and strategy, to reveal itself in its branding and marketing.
Every business, any business, can be purposeful
Purposeful marketing is about authentic communication. Unfortunately, “authentic” has become a clichéd word in modern marketing; most people ignore it, or roll their eyes when they hear it. But it really is about digging deep, being true and doing fewer things better. It’s not just about what makes your business different, but more importantly, the difference your business makes.
Purposeful marketing isn’t cause-related marketing. Cause-related marketing communicates the ties a company chooses to make to a specific campaign or non-profit partner. That’s about supporting a cause beyond your company’s foundational purpose. It’s also different than CSR or corporate citizenship. CSR and corporate citizenship show a company’s commitment to make valuable contributions, but are not necessarily the core of what the business does.
Meanwhile, purposeful marketing communicates what your company does beyond making money; how it makes a tangible difference to your customers’ lives.
In the same way that a personal raison d’etre doesn’t have to be “about massive transformations” (read this article debunking common myths around purpose), your company doesn’t need to endeavour to change the world. It does require a reason, beyond profit, to exist.
Tactics alone are never enough
As markets evolve, and marketing tries to keep up, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by new, shiny digital channels, and act on the feeling that you need to pile on tactics to be seen and heard.
Many companies focus on the ‘doing’ of marketing activity without having any cohesive strategy to guide it all. So often this undirected activity continues year after year without any real ROI measurement.
Un-purposeful marketing consists of many activities, ideas, promotions, events and ads – all disconnected from the business’ ‘why’, untethered from its culture. Purposeful marketing, on the other hand, reflects who you are and what you want to be known for, intentionally and unwaveringly. Purposeful marketing allows you to be distinctive and different by being clear about the difference you make.
As a result, purposeful marketing needs fewer tactics for greater success. Through focused investigation, brand and marketing strategies emerge naturally from your culture and values, to align and connect with ideal customers and partners. You’re able to build a thriving business by delivering value. You retain the right employees through shared values and ambitions. And your marketing efforts are focused, strategic, distinct and effective, so you chase less and accomplish more.
If you are a business owner frustrated by the marketing results you’re currently seeing, and who senses, after reading this article, that it’s time to bring more meaning to your work and more truth to your marketing, book a call with me and let’s chat through your approach.