Strategic Marketing Plan Element #1: Making Your Statement

As we head into this series on building a strategic marketing plan, I will describe one element critical to your overall plan in each of the posts. I will be working with a small, custom ski company located in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, Big Wood Ski, to show how these elements can be implemented into a real world business and marketing plan. A link to a blank template follows each appropriate post, ready for you to make this plan your own. Let’s fire it up!

Having a trio of defining statements about mission, vision, and values is imperative in building a solid, strategic marketing plan. Language can sometimes blur them into what seems like one, fuzzy statement. Here’s why that’s wrong: it doesn’t work.

Each of the three statements has a separate purpose, which will become clearer after you’ve done the work, crafting meaningful statements for each. If you’ve already crafted them, take a closer look, comparing them to the Big Wood Ski examples to see how they stack up. If you haven’t written them out, there’s no time like the present.

The mission statement should simply state the big picture for your company. General in nature, it describes the real intent. Dig deep. Communicate the purpose of your organization to leaders, employees, vendors, and stakeholders as a guide for decision making. Big Wood Ski prepared a mission statement[i] that accurately reflected their reason for being, but it needed to be condensed into that one, driving reason. Here’s the streamlined version:

SMP 1 Mission Statement Graphic

The long version that Bex and Caleb of Big Wood Ski started with appears below for those of you that would like to view the distillation and thought process from the initial document to the simple statement above.

Need more examples? Here’s Google‘s mission statement—short, to the point, and easy to understand:

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

And here’s Nike‘s statement, which is also quite short and ambitious, considering the scope:

Our mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.

Harley Davidson Motorcycles uses a few more words, with a little magic woven in:

We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.

And even NASA, presents a straightforward, simple mission statement:

Drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth.

My experience tells me that companies with meaningful, accurate mission, vision, and values statements perform better financially than those who lack them, achieving goals faster and more effectively. If your statement describes what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and what value you provide, congratulations! You’re doing it right.

Big Wood Ski’s First Draft Mission Statement

The mission statement can start out with everything you think is relevant. Reading through and distilling the statement to a clarified version using just a sentence or two is optimum. Here’s what Big Wood Ski™ started with for comparison to the final product:

It is the mission of Big Wood Ski to offer hand crafted custom and customized skis with the latest Computer Aided Design for the most discerning clientele, while also representing a healthy life style with the historical “flare” of Sun Valley, Idaho. While mass-marketed skis are affordable to the individual who wishes to work within a limited budget, Big Wood Ski™ wishes to market to the enthusiast who understands that equipment and quality matters in the level of performance. Using superb hard woods and bamboo cores, Big Wood Ski is able to offer a classic look with cutting edge CAD technology. Priced competitively in the fully custom ski world, Big Wood Ski offers the exclusive one of a kind adult Custom Ski, a children’s Powder Ski, and a Nordic Ski. Big Wood Ski will corner a niche in the boutique ski-making industry of fully custom and customized skis.

Company Profile

Corporate Name: Big Wood Ski™

Location: Sun Valley, Idaho

Product: Custom and customized wood skis, combining the beauty of wood with the performance of high tech racing materials, delivering a product with “soul” and performance as core components.

President and Owner: Caleb Baukol, lifelong skier, master ski tuner and Ski Shaper™

PR/Sales: Bex Wilkinson, experienced start-up guru, film producer, and dedicated “get it done” principal.