The world of connected consumers is a marketer’s biggest challenge and opportunity. We have more ways than ever to reach our customers but everyone in the market has the same opportunity. How does a brand get a message to resonate? To become a trusted source of information? To be a thought leader? Recently a few members of our team attended a lunch featuring Laura Ramos from Forrester, hosted by American Marketing and Business Marketers Associations of Kansas City, to discuss Thought Leadership as the Next Wave of B2B Marketing.
Connected consumers are looking for more than savvy marketing, they are looking for solutions to their problems. Brands who look to meet customers needs are better able to have conversations, share insights, and exchange value are more likely to be perceived as thought leaders. For grocery retailers this can be translated in both the store and online presence. Have a large volume of afterwork customers? Consider setting easy meal solutions throughout the store and focusing promotions on them. Take a step beyond the in-store execution by sharing meal solutions online, make them a feature in a weekly email, or share a recipe on social media. Simple steps can show customers that their store understands their problem and is knowledgeable enough to provide a simple, complete solution.
Consumers are inundated with brand messages all day, every day. When visualizing content marketing as a pyramid, Thought Leadership sits at the top. Simple brand advertising and messaging acts as the base, it is the bulk of content but has little meaningful impact on the consumer. Moving up the pyramid marketing content becomes more complex, and more impactful. The pinnacle is Thought Leadership, but like a pyramid, content marketing must have a strong base to support the top levels. When developing a content marketing strategy aimed at Thought Leadership brands must be sure to fully develop the entire pyramid.
When starting on the path to Thought Leadership Ramos suggests:
- Understanding current state, where you are in content strategy
- Focus on the consumers’ issues, be relevant and proactive
- Create conversation, not sales
- Commit, as an organization
- Be disciplined and strategic
- Look at the numbers
Acting as a Thought Leader won’t happen overnight. It takes time to build the strategy, conversations, and content hit the top of the pyramid. And just like an actual pyramid it takes not only careful construction but also time.