Reason for Existence?
Reviewing some of the more interesting players in any industry, one can see a wide range of reasons:
- Google: Publish the world’s information in an easy and relevant manner
- Crispin Porter: Be the crazy underdog that pushes boundaries
- Microsoft: Bring a computer in every household (This is more or less achieved which might explain some of Microsoft’s identity problems)
- Wal-Mart: Bring affordable products to the masses
- Starbucks: Enable people to enjoy good coffee in a European style relaxing coffee house atmosphere
It is amazing that still most marketers don’t seem to be able to define and rally their firms around such a clearly expressed and motivated cause. It is sometimes a lack of realizing the deficit for such a critically needed reason for existence, but most often the ineptitude of executive marketers to agree and live by an unifying cause. This cause needs to be more than just a brainy tag line, it needs to move and grab people, it needs to be true, and it needs to be lived every day. Then the cause becomes the critical filter for any strategic decisions and any important hiring decisions.
Looking conceptually at different reasons for existence, I think they can be categorized in several core categories (not necessarily mutually exclusive):
- Original leader or founder sees a problem and drives to solve it with a new offering (e.g. Wal-Mart, Starbucks)
- Be the underdog who fights against the establishment and breaks category rules (e.g. Crispin Porter)
- Vision of being a global dominant player with an unique value proposition or solution (e.g. Microsoft, Google)
The marketing industry definitely lacks passionate leaders who have strong personal reasons of building something unique beyond their desire of being famous and satisfying their egos. I think the Scientification of the Marketing Industry is changing this deficit. Scientists are much more cause driven than traditional marketers.