Why You Need a Success Statement

By David Allred

Why You Need a Success Statement

What is success for your organization? While a Marketing Action Plan (MAP) is a “road map” designed to lead your organization to success, it is critical to first determine what success is. Here we discuss the elements that need to be included in what we call “The Success Statement.” Read time: under 2 minutes

Over the last 15 years, we have engaged hundreds of clients—and taught thousands of others through seminars and conference presentations—the process of developing Marketing Action Plans (MAPs). They are exactly what they say they are—a “road map” that will lead your organization to success. However, to determine if you are succeeding in your efforts, you have to define what “success” is for your organization.

Believe it or not, there is a formula for building what we call “The Success Statement.” This process involves defining:

  • What we will achieve—this needs to be a quantifiable metric (think overall % desired occupancy).
  • When we will achieve it—this is generally 2 to as many as 5 years out.
  • Where we are today—this also needs to be a quantifiable metric that corresponds to your desired achievement (in this example, think current occupancy).
  • What we will do to achieve it—consider your deliverables and programs of work.
  • Who we will achieve it with—your primary target audience/s.
  • How we will achieve it—consider who will deliver it and how.

Note that 5 out of 6 of the statements in this formula contain “achieve” because success is something we must strive for. Keep in mind that, just like one of the fundamental rules of developing a MAP, everything included in your Success Statement should be some combination of two things: Realistic AND Aspirational.

Realistic = it is pretty much already happening or, with sufficient effort and available budget, it is possible.

Aspirational = we want it to happen, and we agree that it is not currently happening or not happening the way it should.

Realistic AND Aspirational is an important metric to use as a measurement as you develop your Success Statement and corresponding elements of your MAP. If it’s only realistic, you are probably already achieving it. If it’s too aspirational, you likely could never achieve it. 

Developing a well-thought-out Success Statement and corresponding MAP for how you will achieve success for your organization, or even for a section or division of your organization, should not be an exercise to set you up for failure. It’s an exercise in developing a plan that will lead your organization to your next desired point on the “success continuum.” 

Why should MAPs (including your Success Statement) be reviewed and updated on an annual basis? Because your MAP might need to be adjusted based on market conditions (i.e., the current state of the Travel and Tourism industry during a global health pandemic); a strategic partner or staff hire or departure that has the potential to respectively accelerate or decelerate your marketing efforts; as you consider a branding or rebranding initiative; an acquisition or disposition that affects a portion or all of your organization; organizational and strategic direction changes implemented by a new board of directors; etc. These are all events that are excellent times to revisit and edit your MAP, including your Success Statement. 

If you would like to get started on your organization's MAP development process, you will find free resources here. If you would like help to develop your MAP, we have several levels of MAP development services that we can provide. If you have any additional questions, reach out to Susan Bryan.