What’s in a business name? To me, Marketing to Mission encapsulates what I set out to help business owners do.
The name itself sounds pretty catchy. It’s got that alliteration going for it. But what am I really trying to convey with it?
The process of naming a business these days is quite challenging. Once upon a time, a new business owner simply used his or her own name (or the name of a town) followed by the product or service being offered. Plenty of businesses, particularly in the trades, still do this. But when it comes to modern services, most companies prefer to go with a creative or descriptive name.
Now, a new business first must make sure that no one else has that name. Then the domain must be available. The social media handles must be available. The name should lend itself well to internet search, it should be easy to say and spell, and it needs to be memorable. That means it can’t be too long, but it has to be long enough to be meaningful. That’s a lot of planning!
With all that pressure, it’s amazing anyone gets past coming up with a name. Three years ago, when I set out to start my own business to fill the needs I recognized in the field and in my community, I had to think through all of the above to come up with my name. What name would define what I do and tell people how I can help them before I ever say a word? First, I had to define the problem I could solve.
Identify the Struggle: Marketing Madness
My observation has been that many organizations, from small to large, nonprofit and for-profit, have become frantic - almost desperate - in their marketing efforts. This leads them to launch a flurry of activities that may or may not ever actually benefit the business or help them accomplish what they’ve set out to do.
Business owners and marketing teams feel like they need to do something, so that leaves them trying to do everything. Regardless of whether the campaign supports their business priorities, has a way to be measured, or has been thoroughly vetted strategically, they’re going to do it.
We are all prone to this struggle. I have fallen victim to this mentality, as well! I do not profess to be superior to others, but rather sympathetic, because I know what it’s like to have that gnawing feeling to just get something out the door.
But is this really the best way to do marketing? (Spoiler alert - it’s not.)
How to Keep Mission Top of Mind
Why do people start businesses? Many entrepreneurs go out on their own because they have a particular skill or passion that they want to share to help others. They feel as though they can provide something valuable to people with a real need. They have a mission.
1a: a specific task with which a person or a group is charged
c: a pre-established and often self-imposed objective or purpose
While these businesses start with the best of intentions to fulfill this grand mission, how well do most keep it at the forefront of everything they do? Running a business is overwhelming, challenging, and sometimes even maddening! There are so many balls to keep in the air, wheels to keep spinning, ideas to brainstorm, and clichés to wear out.
Eventually, business activity becomes just that: activity. The mission is still there, of course, but it’s in the background, more of a nice plaque on the wall instead of being the motivator of all the day-to-day work. Somewhere between a networking meeting, reconciling accounts, and listening to a customer complaint, work just becomes work.
Marketing, the thing that should show people why an entrepreneur is passionate about what they do and how they can help, falls right into the work pile alongside paying taxes and returning emails.
That right there - the part where marketing is just part of the madness - that’s the need I want to meet in my business.
Marketing to Mission: Keeping Mission Top of Mind
When I came up with the name Marketing to Mission, my intention was to help my clients do their marketing in a way that honors their mission. Together, we’d put the mission first and let that inform all the next steps.
When we design marketing around the owner’s mission, the business can grow in the ways the owner wants it to grow. It reaches the audience they want to serve.
Furthermore, I’ve come to believe that not only can marketing support the mission, but it can actually be a means of being on mission.
I mentioned earlier that most business owners get started in order to use their skill or passion to help others. They have a mission. What if marketing is just another way to use those skills and exercise that passion? My own marketing efforts, things like this very blog post, are designed to provide value for people reading it - even without having to become a client of mine. The marketing piece itself becomes a service to others. When I plan a marketing activity, I try to think about how it will help me serve my target audience. I’m Marketing to Mission.
So what about you? What’s your mission?
Do you feel like you’ve been able to stay focused on it? Or does it often seem like a hazy mirage in the distance that you can’t reach while in survival mode? If you want to start aligning your whole business around your mission so that everything is more purposeful, I’d like to connect. Let’s chat so that I can learn more about your mission!