Last week, we discussed why thought leadership campaigns fail, and the significance of using third-party content to lend credibility to your ideas. This week, we are going to step back and talk about the initial framing exercises needed to craft a compelling thought leadership message.
Let’s start with the last time you sat down for a marketing strategy meeting. What did you talk about?
Did you talk about how you want customers to view you? Did you discuss your value proposition? Your brand value? The benefits your solution brings to customers?
But here’s the big question: did you talk about your customers?
Take a moment to think about it.
You probably talked about why a customer would use your product, or what problem your product solves, but that’s not actually talking about your customers. That’s talking about you.
The biggest mistake marketers make is framing the customer entirely in the view of their solution: fitting the customer into the benefits of a product, and not the other way around. This can be especially damaging when creating content for an external platform (like an SDxCentral thought leadership webinar).
So let’s, as marketers, make a vow to fix that.
Step 1: Forget about your product, your solution, and your company, and get to know your customer as a separate entity. If you’re creating content for an external platform, talk with your partners about what drives people to that platform and keeps them engaged.
What is going to make your targets give up time in their day to consume your content? Chances are, it’s not that minor feature release you’re pushing (no matter how cool your demo is).
Step 2: Explore the internet. Read every analyst report you can get your hands on (examine the graphs, explore correlations, theorize about causation), but also look at less formal forums.
Read Reddit (the internet’s most honest consumer group). Dig through LinkedIn. Study the comments sections on news articles and posts related to your target audience. Go to networking meet-ups. Get creative. Most importantly, find constant reminders that your target customers are three-dimensional people who exist in the real world.
Step 3: Talk to people! No matter how much you train yourself to look beyond your customers as accessories to your product, it’s really hard. Creating content with SDxCentral? Ask your client services rep about what other content performed well with your targets. Ask them if they’ve noticed performance trends. Ask them for feedback on your slides, they don’t bite! Their job is to help you succeed.
Step 4: Be nice to your partners (see step 3).
Step 5: Be flexible. If you gain new information, adjust your message. If something bombs, figure out why. If you’re doing a long-term integrated campaign with us, talk with your client services rep upfront about what flexibility you have to adjust the campaign as results come in.
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Reply to this email, and your thoughts could be featured in next month’s email (please include your full name, title and company).
Next week: The first in our monthly series “What Our Audience Cared About this Month,” a synopsis of our best performing content from the month.
You know SDxCentral for our coverage of the technologies, companies, and people driving the next generation of IT industry. Many of you have worked with us to create content and campaigns to engage SDxCentral’s audience for marketing purposes. We’ve seen A LOT, and we’ve collected A LOT of data. SDxInsider is our way of sharing our knowledge and data with you to help you succeed in your marketing strategies.