A majority of B2B executives believe that thought leadership, or the respected status of being known as an expert in a specialty, is a crucial element of their company's reputation to increase revenue. This mainly digital content is the driver of B2B brand equity with brand loyalty as the ultimate prize. But, of course, developing brand loyalty is a time-consuming, nuanced process. Anyone can put words on a screen, but not everyone can create the right words and messaging in the right package. Because there is an art to writing and producing solid brand content that develops and maintains thought leadership to increase revenue, LSV Communications has assembled these guidelines.
Step 1: Connect with the target market
When you produce brand content marketing deliverables, the only goal is to explain an understanding of the target market’s primary pain point and how your technology can alleviate their pain. You’re returning the favor the market has granted by visiting your website, reading the collateral, or attending a webinar. Don’t waste their time with a huge amount of technical information that is full of technical jargon.
"Social media, text messaging, and streaming TV have all changed how we want and do communicate. We live in an always-on mindset."
What we mean is this: Social media, text messaging, and streaming TV have all changed how we want and do communicate. We live in an always-on mindset. The ideal customer has any number of options to spend their budget on. If you speak in a language that proves you understand, that you get their need for a new way to work, they won’t want to do business with competitors. But, you have to be on board with 21st-century marketing tactics that may be out of your comfort zone. Are you familiar with the expression that growth begins when we walk out of our comfort zone?
In this case, we’re talking about leaving the tried-and-true marketing tactics and venturing out into new marketing territory. Borrowing some of the more conservative tactics from B2C marketing, business to consumer, such as dynamic, storytelling video production; easy-to-read web content with creative design; and easy-to-visualize data with colorful graphics are crucial. Maybe the most important: You really don’t have to say everything there is to say about your expertise. The value-driver takeaway and supporting facts are enough in one deliverable.
Step 2: Connect on an authentic level
The goal is to communicate in a voice and tone that shapes your niche by innovating and educating. Connect holistically on an authentic, human level with the target market. Thought leadership requires a variety of information and platforms. There's not a single platform that will catch someone's attention, which means there are an unprecedented number of opportunities to become a leader in a specific format. Not a fan of Twitter? Become a followed resource on LinkedIn. Seasoned digital marketplace consultants who understand verbal and written communication will work with you. There are many ways to say things, but in B2B marketing, typically, there’s only one best way to stake a claim about the technology. And, the best way, is value proposition messaging, but not features and benefits.
We understand habits are hard to break. Like features and benefits, which don’t close the loop on the value proposition and invalidate authenticity. They prevent authenticity because they don’t explain the “so what” or “why should I [the customer] care” to the full degree that will convince the target market you understand their need for a new solution. Let’s look at an easy-to-understand example of features, benefits, and value proposition. For example, windshield wipers are the feature, a clean windshield is the benefit, but safer driving is the value proposition. We’d rather know we’re safer than just having a clean windshield.
"...please consider changing all of the features and benefits...to a value proposition..."
So, in your authenticity, determine where the technology lives on the value chain, and please consider changing all of the features and benefits on the website and in other marketing collateral to a value proposition whose very nature is authentic. Your content does not have to read like a technical paper all of the time. There’s a time and place for a technical paper. But, you do need proof. You must have the data to back up your claims so customers are not turned off by bluster with unsubstantiated claims.
In an age where disbelief is greater than belief, publicize non-proprietary data to support the value proposition. Otherwise, the information will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes, and few people will exchange their contact details for the content. Speak like a customer in terms of money, which a value proposition really is at the end of the day. Of course, money is the real reason we go to work. The professional way to say “money” in the digital marketplace is how the technology reduces cost, decreases cycle time, increases efficiency, reduces risk and, overall, increases revenue, the reason for a B2B marketing value proposition.
Step 3: Enhance technical brand equity
B2B digital marketing thought leadership requires effective communication that is based on differentiating your company from competitors. What does your company do better than any others in the vertical to solve the target market’s primary pain point? This information, gleaned from a deep dive into the buyer persona [target market], competition, value proposition, and product positioning, is how to build and strengthen the envied space of thought leadership. We believe thought leadership isn't transactional, at least not in the long term. As an effective marketing tactic and, even more fundamental as part of the company DNA, thought leadership is relational.
"Show the target market you’re eager to further their knowledge..."
The continuing day-in, day-out communication of your value proposition will move the needle on technical brand equity. Content topics must consistently demonstrate a willingness to educate while minimizing the marketing spin or what’s known as commercialism. In B2B, regardless of the technology, typically, there is something new to figure out all the time. Show the target market you’re eager to further their knowledge by producing technical papers, trade journal articles, case studies, and webinars.
Customer participation in these deliverables goes a long way to furthering thought leadership. Technology summits, digitally or in-person, are another consideration. Choose topics that show understanding of how to solve strategic issues. People relate to people who we know are working in our best interest. Connecting this way in company marketing deliverables will prove you’re easy to do business with. Don’t you like doing business with people who are easy to do business with? Thought leadership is vital to technical brand equity that builds brand loyalty to increase revenue.
We’re very appreciative of your interest in our thought leadership ideas. Thank you.
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