As Lois Kelly notes in her book Beyond Buzz, successful marketing is now about “having conversations and engaging with people in interesting discussions, through new and traditional channels.” In the B2B marketing arena, the new driver of credible and compelling conversations is Thought Leadership.
But in order to be a recognized thought leader, you have to be able to present powerful and relevant stories that are well crafted, well researched and validated with facts and data points.
In fact, I think the emerging discipline of Thought Leadership has all the elements of a compelling story. To cite some of the themes that Kelly thinks are universally interesting and relevant, we can say:
This is a David and Goliath story. Companies in the fields of Business Technology and Professional Services have an opportunity to rapidly level the playing field with their larger competitors in this new era of positioning and perspective.
Whereas vast resources were required to build a brand and establish a presence in prior eras, companies can now leverage the new levers of B2B Marketing to capitalize on their agility and responsiveness.
This is a Counterintuitive story. You realize results not through conventional actions. It is unconventional and counterintuitive to bear down and focus on creating compelling content. It forces companies who are wrapped around their products to instead focus on how they are perceived –- and how they can strengthen their positioning in the customer’s mind. What’s more, rigorous measurement of the impact of thought leadership initiatives and campaigns can reveal counterintuitive insights that drive still higher performance.
And this is an Aspirational story. It’s about how marketing and sales professionals can achieve far more with their resources. It’s about how they can rise to the next level in their careers. It’s about turning marketing into a highly respected and valued force –- a force multiplier that drives profitable growth
These are just some of the reasons companies will increasingly embrace Thought Leadership and recognize it as a critical new discipline. These are some of the factors that will lead to the development of thought leadership strategies and platforms. In an era of deafening noise and blinding distraction, it’s the one thing that can help you cut through and engage in a valuable conversation.