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How to show Thought Leadership in your Industry ?

How to create thought leadership

image source:

It’s interesting to be a thought leader and show thought leadership.

But how do you get organized, from a marketing and company perspective?

Michael Porter or Treacy and Wiersema have learned us about product leadership, operational excellence or customer intimacy, and the relevancy to the strategy of companies.

(Michael Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors – 1998), later revised by Treacy and Wiersema with their Value Disciplines model (The Discipline of Market Leaders – 1997), now taught in nearly all business school programs, and which crops up at least once at every business conference.)

When B2B buyers seek out to buy a certain solution, I believe that in many cases they are not buying a product, but they are buying the vision of the company, and the people behind that vision.

That’s why any company, no matter which “Porter” strategy you have, must have a clear vision about the new solutions of the future. Solutions that give your buyers the competitive edge they need to survive in todays economy, while believing that your company will remain to provide you with future products that will keep giving him that competitive edge.

The objective of thought leadership ? If you get your thought leadership strategy right, customers will see you as a go-to source of expertise, your new products or incremental improvements will find easier acceptance, you’ll stand a good chance of bolstering product price (which is critical in many industries where commoditization is at work), and you’ll attract talent more easily.

The real definition of Thought Leadership

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Failproof Listening method for Laser-sharp Content Marketing

listening to customers

Image source: Flicker @digitalmoneyworld

A turkish proverb says “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold”.  We all know that proverb.

We have so much to say, because it’s important, isn’t it ? No-it-is-not.

But I am in marketing, so my  objective is that my customers listen to me? No-it-is-not.

But I want to speak since I have lot’s of stuff to tell my customers on how to make their business better, more efficient, lower costs, if they buy our products or services !

Our customers would be foolish to “not” listen to us, right? No-it-is-not.

How do we marry these 2 principles of listening and wanting to speak ? Yes you can!

First you listen

brian solis-listeningRecently Brian Solis posted this image on Flickr.

The intersection between listening to what buyers want, and talk about what they want, that’s exactly what you need to do to have him listen to you and start engaging with you.

Before buyers want to listen to you, as anyone in sales knows, you need to understand what makes your buyer ‘tick’: what is currently a top of mind issue today that you can solve?

Only when you can speak to him using the exact same words that he would use to describe his issues, then he will be listening.

So the trick is knowing what to talk about. And the only way to find out is to listen to “his world”. Now often, customers know their issues, or at least feel that somethings not right, but even more often than not, they don’t have a solution. In many cases it’s already hard for them to describe their problem.

So if it’s already hard for them to describe it, how on earth are you going to speak to him?

The answer, my friend, is by UNDERSTANDING HIS WORLD.

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The Ultimate Content Marketing Implementation Plan: Pragmatic, Powerful, and Guaranteed Success


Content Marketing Implementation Plan

Atomium in Brussel by night, or at 5 am…
(picture soure :

If you are interested in a Content Marketing, implementing it, thinking about it, or living it, then this is for you. I can tell you, this is for you because I’ve been pondering about this post for a long time.

Ever when I started this blog, I wanted it to be a blog which give my fellow marketeers information, education and advice coming from real life experiences. That’s why this blog is called B2B marketing experiences in the first place. No bullshit, just usable stuff. I don’t need to see my blog post on Huffington, Financial Times or whatever other big and famous website. I don’t want to use high level talk and difficult concepts or difficult words. No bullshit, just usable stuff.

Imagine what happened this morning when I woke up at 5am.

Yes indeed, ^é#@!, too early. I could not sleep anymore. My mind was spinning like hell, thinking about this blog post. And here I am sitting behind my computer writing this blog post. It’s exactly 7 am. I never thought I would be doing this, because I am usually not an ‘early bird, rise-n-shine’ kind of guy.

I need to get this out of my head, this is powerful stuff.

How to Implement Your Content Marketing in a pragmatic, do-able way, which is acceptable to your organization, which educates your organization on how to do it, which delivers quick win’s and is built to be embedded for ever in your organization? Now that’s a mouthful.

So this is what kept me awake. But I think I’ve cracked it. And I-me-personally, I think it’s powerful. Maybe arrogant, yes, but if it’s useful to you, you probably don’t care.

Ready? I am sorry, this is what you call a #longread…

So here it goes… Read more »


What should happen if you remove Marketing from Social?

removing the marketing department from social media

Source : Flickr @robpatrick

What would happen if your marketing department stopped being active on Social Media? Or what should happen?

When companies develop their presence on social media, it is usually the marketing department taking the lead by creating accounts on social media networks, a social media policy, a digital marketing strategy…

Then they become active on these networks by answering their questions, inspiring them with great content, and listening to their needs.

Smaller companies have only 1 or 2 people developing these social relations, larger companies have whole teams of “conversation managers”.

Limited presence

Although I understand the approach, and support the approach, these teams can only be present at a limited amount of networks, or “circles” as I call them.

  • They just cannot be present in all the social places where your customers, partners, suppliers, investors, or competitors are present.
  • They just cannot be aware of all the different domains of expertise that are required to have a holistic approach to social networking.
  • They just cannot be authentic about every topic they are involved with on these networks.

I probably can think of a number of others reasons, but you probably get what I mean.

Now think of a small company, let’s say 10 people. What’s the impact of one, usually part-time, marketing person, on all of this? You guessed it. Not a lot. He/she just doesn’t have the time to do a descent job with social media.

And now imagine a bigger company, 1000 people. Here you’ll have a team of, I don’t know, 20-50 people working in marketing and being part-time or some full-time occupied with social media. Again, the impact is minimal.

Taking away the marketing department

My point is, I don’t think social media is the sole responsibility of the marketing department. Oh yes, they play a guiding role in aligning the efforts with the company strategy, and making sure all the mechanics like a policy, processes, training, tooling, etc… are available.

But in essence, everyone in the marketing department should be aligned with a number of objectives which could look like this : Read more »


The power of Twitter for B2B marketers – and what it must mean to you personally

Wet_roller_coasterIf you are like many businesses around the world, and not working for a marketing department ;-), the idea of being active on Twitter is crazy.

Let’s face it: why on earth would you want to invest time in a “communication platform” that can only handle 140 characters, and has an average life time of 1 to 3 hours per message? Yep, indeed, crazy. What on earth would you make decide as B2B marketers to start using Twitter for B2B in for your marketing?

Let me tell you my story on how I started understanding Twitter, how I started using it, and what it means for every B2B company out there.

The initial spark

Like many B2B marketers out there, I knew about Twitter. But as I didn’t really see the value of the platform for my job, and for my company, I only shortly looked at it and dismissed it quite quickly. It wasn’t until I read “The Conversation Manager”, a book from Steven Van Belleghem, after which I started realizing that this social stuff is something I needed to investigate (yes, painful to admit it is).

new rulesSomehow, I can’t remember exactly how anymore, I ended up reading “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” of David Scott Meerman (@dmscott). This book literally blew me out of my comfy marketing chair ! It gave me insight into how to do modern digital and social media marketing. It is still one of the best books I ever read, and I can highly recommend it to anyone.

It was time to leave my comfort zone.

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