GlobalSpec’s Industrial Marketing Digital Summit on Wednesday, July 11 brought together industrial marketers from leading companies to host educational sessions covering the hottest topics in B2B marketing for the industrial sector.
This unique online event is now available on demand by visiting http://www.globalspec.com/events/eventdetails?eventId=183.
At the event, Dale Reeves, Manager of Global eBusiness & Marketing at TE Connectivity, presented “Thought Leadership… Leverage What You Know.”
Thought leadership means having a reputation in the market as a company with unique, innovative ideas about your industry, the forces shaping it, the challenges confronting it, and the future awaiting it. In his presentation, Reeves provides insight into what makes an effective thought leadership strategy.
According to Reeves, in developing a thought leadership campaign, you must first create a positioning that aligns with meaningful business objectives. Your goal is have a position that helps you capture mindshare among potential customers so that your company gets placed on prospects’ consideration set. This ensures that your company is in the middle of their conversation, and near the top of the short list of vendors they might purchase from.
To create share-of-mind, your company must be remembered for something, giving you validation in the eyes of the market. Reeves explains that validation comes from your ability to answer this question: What expertise is unique to your company that the market is clamoring for? You want to be able to share your unique knowledge, but not all of your knowledge, because your goal is to build up interest and motivate potential customers to contact you to learn more.
You have an objective and a position that the market values. Now, according to Reeves, you need resources in the form of subject matter experts (SMEs). One of the most important attributes for a thought leader is that the person must be willing to represent your company — and have the DNA to do so. Thought leaders need skills in writing articles, giving presentations, speaking at events, conducting media interviews, and using social media platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
At times you will need to support your SMEs with other writers, PR professionals, and marketing people who can help produce bylined content, but those resources, too, will need to embrace the thought leadership position.
Focus is all about defining your target audience. You likely don’t have the budget to reach everyone in your potential markets, so you may need to pick a segment of your market to focus on. Reeves talks about going deep into a targeted market and audience rather than shallow across a broader spectrum.
Execute through your marketing communications channels. All of the content you produce must be published to your audience. The key is to consistently be found by potential customers when they are searching. That alone can help you rise to the top. To be found, you need a pervasive and regular presence in those places — the industry portals, directories, Web sites, online publications, e-newsletters, and more — where your target audience seeks out information.
Reeves talks about using a “Lean PR” program that can help you get noticed while making effective use of resources. By Lean PR, he means seeking out targeted article-writing opportunities, rather than attempting to write first and place second. To engage in Lean PR, you need to study editorial calendars of online and print publications, contact editors to propose articles, negotiate branding opportunities with them, and engage your SMEs to write.
One type of article that is always in demand with editors is the innovative customer case study. Other relevant topics focus on the industry problems your product or services solves, such as shortening the build cycle, lowering inventory requirements, or improving production processes.
Track & Measure
Reeves reminds viewers that, like with any marketing campaign, you must track and measure the results of your thought leadership experts. Before you launch the campaign, you should define what constitutes success and the metrics you will use to measure it. Metrics could be media mentions, prospects reached, leads generated, conversions, or any other metric that is relevant to your business objectives.
A Case Study
To view Reeves’ complete presentation, which includes TE Connectivity’s “Design Smarter, Faster” thought leadership case study, visit: