What is Mission-based Marketing?

Mission-based marketing involves putting together (then adhering to) an accurate mission statement that
conveys the mission and purpose of your organization, with the focus on the customer, not the

Who are our customers?

Your customers are all those involved in achieving your mission, including all the groups listed in this
table. Each of these groups has different wants or reasons for supporting your organization.

How do we go about satisfying all these different groups?

To satisfy all of the wants of these groups, you need to analyze your mission statement carefully from the viewpoint of each one. To do this, you have to know what your customers want.

How do we go about getting that information?

One way to accomplish this is to survey your customers to find out exactly what they want. Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts to keep in mind as you set out to gather these vital facts:

# DO determine what you want to know. Don’t waste your time or your customer’s by fishing around
with no particular goal in mind.
# DO decide who is best equipped to give you the information you want. Target your questions to
specific groups. For example, don’t ask volunteers questions that only clients can knowledgeably
respond to.
# If you’re planning to ask the same question of many individuals, DO make sure the question is
understandable and specific. W hen determining what to ask, try the question on four or five people to
see if their answers tell you what you want to know.
# DO determine how and when it’s best to ask the questions of your customers. Should you use
email? Phone calls? Meetings? Often, this depends on how many people have to be asked. If you
can get all members of one group together in a meeting or luncheon, you may be able to get answers to
your questions and obtain additional input as well.
# DON’T ask too many questions. Be sensitive to your customer, and don’t take more of his or her
time than you really need. If it looks like you’ll be pressed for time (or your respondent is getting
impatient) get your most important questions out of the way quickly, then stop.
# DON’T give your respondents too many responses to choose from B it just makes it harder for them
to make a decision. Asking a respondent for a reply on a A scale of 1 to 10" probably won’t give you
any better information than the same answer on a scale of 1 to 5.
# DON’T assume that the answers to your questions will be the same every time you ask them. You
should sample your customer’s feelings and opinions continually on an informal basis, and conduct
formal sampling at least once a year before your annual strategic planning session.
# Since you have to ask these questions periodically, take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.
Using your experience, improve your questions until they give you just what you want to know.

How often should we to gather this info, and who’s responsible for doing so?

The Board of Directors’ annual strategic planning session should always start with defining and updating
the mission statement and goals. Since the most important aspect of the review should be whether your
mission statement applies to all of your customers, the Board and its representatives should have been
gathering this information all year long, at least on an informal basis. If that is not possible, it should be
gathered at least once a year before the start of your strategic planning. The Greater Knoxville SCORE
Chapter is available to counsel the Boards of non-profit organizations with regard to creating accurate,
customer-oriented mission statements.

The material in this publication is based on work supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration under cooperative agreement SBAHG-04-S-0001. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Updated May 2006 George Hannye,
Revised 4/26/2013 Richard Jenkins