Constructing A Thought-Management Model | Branding Technique Insider
For B2B brands in particular, market leadership is an important tactic in the marketing and communication toolbox. As the popularity increases, there is new data suggesting a loss in value and effectiveness. Joe Kingsburry summarizes some of the key findings from an ongoing study of thought brands and says: “The popularity of thought brands could actually make it more difficult to impress B2B buyers. It turns out that they are disappointed with the content that the brands give them. "
- Only 32% of decision-makers this year said that they had gained reliable insights through thinking – after 39% in 2018.
- 29% believe that the majority of their consumption in terms of quality is "mediocre to very poor" (compared to 26% in 2018).
- 25% say that reading poor quality thought leadership directly resulted in them not awarding business to the organization that produces it.
- Only 15% of marketers have the opportunity to tie their thought leadership efforts to corporate profits (compared to 19% in 2018).
One of the biggest mistakes brands make when it comes to thinking is to treat tactics as a strategy that requires little effort. A subject matter expert, tutor, or other employee who may have free time is asked to contribute to a corporate blog or to host a webinar. This may or may not be based on an editorial calendar, and there may or may not be a governance or review process. This unstructured approach is not a way to build a content marketing brand, and definitely not customer-focused enough to build and maintain an attractive thought leader brand.
But if done correctly, the thought process has a positive effect on all activities that take place in the bottom funnel: tenders, awarding of prizes, buying additional products or services that were not previously considered, and pricing! 41% of decision makers replied that they were willing to pay a premium for working with an organization that produced (high quality) thought leadership.
Developing a strong brand for thought leaders first requires brands to define what they mean by "thought leadership". They should be written by the brand and backed up either by original research or by evidence highly valued by customers and prospects. It has to be a topic that is new and differentiated. It must contain data or other evidence that is not only cited but also decoded and explained so that the audience understands why this is important. Finally, leadership marketing must include some form of follow-up that answers the question, "What should I do now that I've learned that?" We at Branding Strategy Insider also follow this approach.
Once you have defined, you should create an internal process that governs the elements to be created. Something like that:
1. The pitch: In this first phase, your team should learn something about the idea, ask whether the idea was examined either internally or at competitors, bring together credible experts, make sure there is evidence, or determine what research might be needed. Ultimately, the idea is put under pressure at this stage to meet the criteria that your brand has set for valuable thought leadership.
2. Production: Manage production like any marketing activity. Assign responsibilities, create a workback schedule, and stick to your team. If you can bring creative resources to the fore, a strong trio of designers, writers, and editors can make a big contribution to developing content that customers want.
3. Campaign management: Determine the right channel mix, campaign length, and create content that completes the experience, or link it to content that is on or off the ramp.
4. Measure and learn: Determine who consumed your content. When using ABM tools like DemandBase, there are ways to link multiple interactions based on IP or cookie data to understand how thought leadership has affected pipeline and revenue activity. Don't settle for metrics that are easy to measure / understand. Invest time and resources to uncover a more complete and compelling story.
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