Thought Leadership

A strategy built around perceived value setting you apart from your competitors.

What do you do in fiercely competitive markets to elevate your message above the clutter? What do you do when you know the competition is bigger and you can’t come close to meeting their advertising and sponsorship budgets? Give media and trade associations a reason to talk about you or feature you and your team. Develop a perceived value that is greater than the competitors in your market, thereby building a brand leveraging other people’s platforms and followers.

“How?” is the question.

Take an inventory of your assets. What are your obvious strengths? What are your hidden strengths? On what topics is your team considered experts? (If the answer is none then blow up the company!) Who is in your network of contacts, customers, and trade partners that might be open to a promotional partnership?

In the end, generating your own original content and knowing how to exploit it is a tremendous advantage over competitors.

Identify your expertise and then leverage it to your advantage across all marketing channels.

Case Study

When developing the marketing strategy for our start-up, Spend Management Experts (SME), we knew the budget would not support a traditional advertising spend. Not even a B2B ad budget! However, we had some assets ripe for exploitation – namely, the CEO John Haber, who had a strong finance/technology background coupled with a charismatic personality. Secondly, the supply chain analytics SME had created was cutting edge and enabled us to identify hidden transportation costs that were largely overlooked in the industry. John had scored well in early interviews in both print and on-air, so, we decided to position him, and by association the SME team, as the premier thought leaders in the transportation industry.

Bold, right? Now how to back it up.

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Identify internal assets capable of germinating your subject matter content. In the case of SME it was CEO John Haber

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But, CEO time is valuable and limited so we identified alternatives including other internal staff and, eventually, hiring a freelance writer. Early content generation was modest: one article per month supplemented by one industry trade show speaking engagement per quarter.

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Our key breakthrough was securing a monthly by-line article in the industry leading “Parcel Magazine”. We achieved instant credibility via this partnership

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With increased growth over a few years we were able to bring the free lance writer on-board as a full-time asset and significantly increase our content generation. We began developing more articles, quarterly industry updates and annual reports.
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To expand our Thought Leadership footprint to other media and trade outlets we hired an outside Marketing agency to manage the content placement and John Haber interview process. We expanded this is include other SME executives and managers.
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Finally, we expanded the placement process to include applying for industry awards for both our company and executives. When we achieved recognition we gave the company and the individuals the full press release and public relations treatment. Eventually, we approached the industry leading trade show “Parcel Forum” with an idea to create and host a major industry award. They embraced the concept and SME became the exclusive sponsor of the award.

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Eventually we had an active contact list of over 80 media outlets and journalists we contacted every month for content placement or interviews with our Thought Leadership team of executives. We also became pro-active in our content generation by creating a content calendar that coincided with industry events and key editorial windows.

Ultimately, all the above was included in a proprietary formula we developed to measure our Thought Leadership ROI. The return quickly became exponential to the investment.

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