Your Mission: Forget the Statement & Focus on “You”
Mission statements are the opposite of good advertising. I see them when I explore financial institution websites and wonder what purpose they serve. You might wonder what this has to do with marketing.
Businesses in all industries use mission statements. The insurance industry, where I worked for years, is much like the banking industry in many ways. Insurance companies like mission statements, too.
Once, a VP from the group insurance department of the company where I worked decided the morale of his employees needed a boost. One step he took was to install a huge bulletin board encased in sliding glass doors. He formed a committee (of course) to manage the bulletin board and put up cheery slogans, meaningless award certificates, and such.
The VP asked me to write a mission statement for his department that he could display on the bulletin board. After he explained the purpose of the board and why the mission statement was important to it, I asked, “What do you want the statement to say?”
Without a second’s hesitation, he said, “It doesn’t matter. Just make it four or five sentences long.”
That story sums up my belief of the importance of mission statements.
You might think, “What’s so bad about mission statements?”
As an advertising guy, I’d say, “They have the wrong focus.” It doesn’t matter what they say about service, dedication, or any other virtues. Or my favorite, “We’re committed…” I always think of an asylum when I read that phrase.
Mission statements focus on the company and its employees. That doesn’t matter to consumers, the people who you want as your customers. Good advertising, which is basically an appeal to consumers, knows people only care about WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
Mission statements don’t tell prospective customers what’s in it for them.
I see advertising that fails because, like mission statements, it focuses on the company instead of focusing on the consumer. Your advertising — and this includes most website pages, print ads, direct marketing, and all other media — must tell the consumer how he or she benefits from your products or services.
I tell clients their advertising should be “you” oriented, not “we” oriented. Tell your prospect how “you benefit,” it’s to “your advantage,” and “you’ll save” money or “you’re guaranteed” to be satisfied.
Forget “we’ll do this and we do that,” or “we’re dedicated,” or “we serve.”
People only want to know WIIFM — What’s in it for me?
Make sure all your advertising is slanted to tell prospects about the benefits they get by coming to your financial institution.
And take your mission statement off your website.