Top Two Reasons Why Your B2B Thought Leadership Fails
Thought Leadership when distilled is content marketing, however, it has a differentiated core insight as an innate feature. Thought Leadership wins hands-down because enterprises and business leaders aren’t looking to buy products/services they are looking for strategies to solve their problems and when your product/service communicates that strategy you are a clear winner. However, a lot of B2B marketers and CMO’s aren’t leveraging this and still resort to using the traditional methods in the modern noisy context.
Creating content that’s persuasive, useful, contextual and relevant is not an easy job. Understanding your client’s business, pain points, challenges, hopes, aspirations, fears, and frustrations matters because you need to address them head-on. Your content shouldn’t be overwhelming nor too stretched. Optimum is the word. Optimum would simply mean – Just for you, just in time and just enough. This article aims to help you as a B2B marketer or owner learn the nuances of how this works.
Here’s why most B2B Thought Leadership fails:
Reason 1: Lack of original core insight:
When we think of products or services in a B2B context we have our own preferences, for a moment think of an email app that you use for your business, why did you think of this certain app or software while the market is flooded with new and established players. Inherently you will find that you have strong reasons, for example, it could be deliverability, security, ease of use or pricing and this ties into your business model. That would be a value proposition, however, and what distinguishes two similar value propositions is how the certain app works and the core insight or strategy that solves the problem.
Deliverability: ISP technology
Security: Encryption technology
Ease of Use: User Interface and experience design
Pricing: Economies of scale
When you help your clients understand how and why you are different in the way you solve a problem and how this impacts the customer directly you have communicated your core insight.
When a customer searches for an email app there do not have a twenty parameter search criteria, it is simple and straightforward, it is a problem they are struggling with or an inbuilt perception if they are new Startup. As a B2B company, your focus should be to help them solve that problem.
If they struggle with email deliverability show them how your email software has high deliverability rates and ensure that you explain this in layman terms.
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This is how you help customers understand and learn how your product solves their challenges.
To begin, start listing your customers:
- Fears and Frustrations
- Hope and Aspirations
- Pain points
- How are they presently solving their pain points?
- How do you solve the primary pain point?
- Can you break it down in layman terms?
- What content forms (text – blog, article, eBook.., Images – memes, tips….video, audio) can communicate this really well?
- How will you distribute this content form?
Now you have a strong plan forward.
Reason 2: Overt promotion of the Seller:
Selling to a diverse target audience is always challenging especially when you have to consolidate an online asset such as your website where people land on the same homepage. So the usual approach is to be generic and talk about all the great stuff your product and your company can showcase. Maybe this worked earlier. It doesn’t anymore, you need to shift the focus from your product/service/company to your client’s need/challenge.
What does a client usually look for? What are the big questions looming in their heads as they scroll and check your marketing collateral?
1. Who else has bought this product/service?
2. How has it helped them?
3. How do they truly perceive this product/service?
4. Is this easy to use?
5. Will it be cost efficient in the long run?
6. Will this be aligned to our budget?
7. Do these people provide support?
8. Do they really deliver what they promise?
The B2B sale involves a lot of stakeholders and no one wants to look bad in front of their bosses and peers that’s why they want to make sure they choose a product/service where there are least resistance and hassles.
When you help them see how relevant you are to them and focus the limelight on them, it increases your trust and authority index.
What increases your trust and authority index:
Index 1: Rating Index
How clients value and give you ratings, using a trusted third party site that reaches out to your existing clientele to ask open-ended questions, is a great way to establish trust and authority.
Here are some of the sites where you can create an account and reach out to clients to rate you:
3. Review Box
4. Verified Reviews
Index 2: Reference Index
Would your existing clients be ready to provide references to you on their network? The way to measure it is the Net Promoter Score.
You can run a survey directly or engage a trusted third party company to help you understand your audience and then publish the results
Here are some good questions to consider asking:
1. Now that you’ve received your [product], how likely are you to recommend [company name] to a friend or colleague? (0-10 )
2. “What was missing or disappointing in your experience with us?”
3. “How can we improve your experience?”
4. “Which features do you value/use the most?”
5. “What do you like most/least about (company or product name)?”
6. “What is the one thing we could do to make you happier?”
If your net promoter score is high and you have more promoters than your detractors you are on the right path.
Index 3: Reach Index:
1. How many mentions does your product/brand have on social media or press?
2. How many people are engaging with your brand?
3. Is your relevant target audience engaging with your brand?
Here’s how you can measure mentions:
- Google Alerts
- Sprout Social
- Social Mentions
Index 4: Results Index
How your company has helped your clients improve their profitability or saved costs with your product/service.
The best way to capture this is to reach out to your clients and ask them for honest feedback. Some of the questions you can capture are:
1. How long have you been using our product?
2. How many different people in your company use our product?
3. What was the most obvious advantage you felt our product offered during the sales process?
4. Where are any other advantages you discovered after using the product more regularly?
5. By using our product can you measure any reduced costs?
6. By using our product can you measure any improvements in productivity or time savings?
7. By using our product can you measure any increases in revenue or growth?
8. Have you thought about using our product for a new use case with your team or at your company?
9. Have you ever talked about our product to any of your clients or peers? What did you say?
Take a quick minute and audit to see if your product/brand/company has an original core insight and secondly is the focus of your content generation based on your core insight on the ‘customer’ and not on your company/brand/product/service? This can make a huge difference and you can win with Thought Leadership.