I know, I know this has become somewhat of a buzzword in marketing lately. But isn’t it every marketers “wet dream” to produce that kind of material?
In this post I help you to start building that kind of material.
What is thought leadership and how do you develop it?
The first thing to do is: put away your company head and think like your buyers. Especially in Thought Leadership, the content you create will be a solution to those buyers’ problems. Do NOT mention your company or products at all!
Thought Leadership is content that is seen by our buyers as insightful and providing them with unique information that helps them to better solve their personal professional problems.
An example of an ICT company
As an example, some of the topics that would fit in the context of Thought Leadership for an ICT company:
- What you need to know to fully optimize the potential of your ICT infrastructure?
- What to think of when planning a network upgrade?
As you can see in this example, the ICT company is not in the business of running or implementing networks. But these topics certainly drive the kind of buyers to that Thought Leadership content.
As an effect, these buyers are more likely to consider the ICT company as their technology provider because the company shows that they understand the business issues of building and maintaining an ICT infrastructure.
Yes, that’s the big question in the mind of many B2B marketing executives. Until recently, that included myself.
I did not really understand what to do with this “social media” thing. To put it black and white, I thought
- Facebook was for children and not for B2B,
- LinkedIn is for business only and serves to connect with people that I know or do not know,
- and I had no clue on why a company should use Twitter?
I think that about sums up all the prejudices I had on social media.
The moment I realized what to do with social media
Last year I started reading some great books on social media. I admit, I am a late believer, but around that timeframe it started to become clear to me what I had to do with social media in a B2B context.
As I wrote before in another post on social media, you should be where our buyers are. If your buyers, although they might be there for another reason than doing business (connecting with their friends or relatives), we should be where they are. Your buyers are there joining groups related to your business, and discussing trends, features and products!
B2B marketing organizations create many marketing materials, or execute different types of outbound marketing activities.
As explained in some of my previous posts on the increasing ineffectiveness of marketing materials, for example press releases or advertisements, today’s marketers need to adapt their marketing strategy to fit the needs of today’s buyers who are on-line and make use of search engines and social media networks.
What can you do to make your marketing materials effective?
- Make them relevant: without a listening process, you have no clue what your customers want. Of course your marketing materials need to look good, but the materials and the content of the materials need to be what your customers want.
- Make them authentic: today’s buyers can smell unauthentic materials from miles away. The golden rule is: don’t write anything down unless you immediately can proof it. Don’t inflate numbers, not even when your competition is doing this, because your customers will trust you more because you promise realistic gains.
- Set your content free: too often we are afraid that the competition might steal our ideas of get access to our marketing materials. But at the same time your customers AND Google have no access to it. Set it free, on several platforms, and promote it on all social networks your customers are using.