Most marketers in B2B today have a project to introduce or expand digital, content and social media marketing into their companies.
In the last few years these types of marketing have become extremely important.
I believe it is the solution to the B2B marketing challenges of today, where companies can transcend from fulfilling the basic marketing needs of their customers.
Transcend towards connecting with their audience by creating experiences that lasts. These experiences that provides your customers with the desire to share their experiences, and become your brand advocates.
But how do you move from theory to practice ?
Some time ago, I started using Slideshare as an extra way of putting out content to buyers.
At first it was an experiment, but we must have done something right, because soon we had over 10.000 views on a number of presentations.
Because we passed the 10.000 views mark, we got a mail from Slideshare to try the PRO version of Slideshare, adding lots of interesting functionality. Yeah, nice !
Sneaky free offering
Interesting, as it seemed, I went on to their website and tried to activate the free month trial period.
I got quickly disappointed, as the offering required me to fill in my credit card details. The sneaky bit here is that although they would not debit my credit card, filling in all the details would mean an AUTOMATIC renewed monthly debit subscription to the PRO service. I also saw that at LinkedIn, but hey, aren’t they the same company?
Marketing take-away: if you are offering a free trial period, make sure the terms and conditions do not harm your brand by putting in sneaky or less appealing conditions. Your offering must remain attractive, even during the free trial period.
Resisting to have me as their customer
The number of views kept growing, so I decided to go for it. As our company is not set-up to work easily with on-line credit card payments, I hoped that Slideshare would be able to invoice me fort heir services.
After 2 weeks of publishing a thought leadership presentation on Slideshare, I was blown away with the effect it had.
In only 2 weeks, it had 1000 views. Today, it has close to 4500 views after 3 months. Although for some companies these numbers might not be impressive, for the company I work for and the market we are in, this is great.
Why is this presentation more successful than others?
I believe the real reason to this success is that it is valuable content for buyers because it fulfills a need. B2B companies want to see opinions, and companies that think about the future for them.
Why do you need thought leadership?
Providing thought leadership to your customers doesn’t make sense if they don’t consider it relevant to their business. Customers are faced with lots of questions during the complete buying cycle that need to be answered.
As I wrote before, first customers find answers “in the cloud”, before they turn to you as a vendor for the remaining answers: they visit reviewing sites, read whitepapers of several vendors, and go to conferences or tradeshow to find answers. Based on that they create their shortlist. If you are not giving the answers ‘in the cloud’, you are not going to be on their shortlist!
It is my strong believe that in order to create thought leadership, you first need to incorporate a process within your organisation that listens to the issues and information needs of your customers.
The process should not only allow listening during the buying cycle, but also during the customer life cycle.