Marketing leaders in B2B and B2C are confronted with high customer expectations and a trend towards advanced technology that customers use during the buying process.
This is is turning marketing into an extremely complex discipline, providing challenges that need to be faced today. When is this complex future of marketing going to happen? Faster than you think…way faster…
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
Does it feel like you need to invent your marketing message every time you start a marketing action?
Do you feel like your remote marketing teams do not understand what messaging to put in their marketing actions?
And how do you make your messaging consistent across all channels, at all times?
That can be a challenging task…
Changing marketing dynamics and exploding expectations
Compared to a few years ago, marketing has becoming increasingly complex as a result of the exploding number of sales and marketing channels that need to be managed. Marketers need to go from one-way conversations to two-way dialogue with integrated channel activity.
Operational tools that help marketers
In order to successfully manage these changing dynamics and expectations, marketers now must have tools that enable them to:
- Communicate their brand messaging consistently across channels, regions and maybe also different business units;
- Collaborate with internal and external partners through effective scheduling, time and resource management;
- Integrate all campaigns and initiatives into a common strategy, and
- Provide clear reporting and visibility so that sales and senior management and all stakeholders are clearly aware of how projects are delivering versus corporate goals.
There exist many tools on the market, ranging from very simple but adequate project planning tools for small teams like milestoneplanner.com or basecamp.com, towards full fledge marketing resource management tools (see this Gartner Magic Quadrant of 2012 for the most important players). And I am not even talking about the exploding array of marketing automation vendors.
(I am not affiliated with any of these vendors).
But if you are the one responsible to develop communication campaigns or lead generation campaigns, these strategic plans won’t tell you how to translate these elements into tangible messaging which you can use in your marketing activities.