What do you think of thought leadership?


Chantal

According to one internet source, it is “… about delivering new ideas and content to your target publics based on deep insights into the business issues and challenges they face.”

Craig Badings, who blogs about thought leadership goes on to say “In the process, the value you deliver should go well beyond merely selling your product or service. Your thought leadership point of view should differentiate you from your competitors, establish you as the ‘go to’ expert in that field and position you as a trusted advisor – all with the intent of underpinning the sale.”

According to another internet source, while five years ago thought leadership wasn’t considered as a marketing tool, today, across numerous B2B surveys, thought leadership is ranked one or two as the area of most significance for marketers.

So why should you use thought leadership?

Thought leadership can be used to grow your business reputation, if you develop your material carefully and plan how you’re going to use it. When it’s used in this way, thought leadership can become your new sales pitch, because no one wants to be sold to anymore. Instead you can use thought leadership to create a value proposition, so that your customers come to you.

But my products and services are so great that we can easily flog them to anyone we call.

Thought leadership is customer-focused; it should concentrate on evidence-based views and opinions that deliver insights and knowledge to your customers or prospects, about the challenges they face today.

Who cares about my customers? I only care about my business.

Thought leadership is not about you and it is not about bragging about how great your products and services are.

But like I said, my products are great, my business is great, we’ve won loads of awards …

Thought leadership is not about charging people for your ideas and advice, but about sharing the information you have with other people. It is about helping other people to overcome their challenges and issues, without them having to pay a fortune for your time.

Why on earth would I want to give away my advice? I’m not going to help anyone unless they pay me.

Thought leadership is about showing people that you know what’s going on around you and looking at what might happen down the line. This helps your clients and prospects trust you as the one who will be able to help their business now and in the future.

I’m not interested in the future. I want clients now!

 Is thought leadership for you?

Thought leadership as a marketing tool is not for everyone. Its ideal for businesses that provide services that need some explaining. It can also be used very effectively for low value products that need to be sold in high quantities. The key is whether or not you think it will work and then how you package it take it to your market. You can use research to generate great content. You can write all sorts of material, including newsletters, blogs, books, articles, web pages and social media content. You can talk about it. The possibilities are currently endless.

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2 Responses

  1. This is a very good article because in it you make the practical business case for why it makes sense to focus on thought leadership. Of note your comments on being more customer focused resonate. It is common sense, but the temptation to talk about your products and benefits is so strong that every business has to constantly refocus on customer needs and issues. Your comments about building trust over the long haul are important.

  2. Hi Chantal, thanks very much for the mention. It’s great to have you adding your voice to the thought leadership debate.

    Thought leadership certainly is catching on as the tried and trusted (old and tired?) marketing and sales practices lose their appeal and traction with audiences, particularly in the B2B space.
    Cheers Craig

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