One of our secret weapons to launch Irish based companies in the US that generates momentum is to devise a thought leadership roadmap that exemplifies specific expertise and knowledge of market trends. We have found that thought leadership campaigns, if executed correctly and consistently, can really set a company apart from its competitors, not just in the US, but also globally.
For a successful thought leadership campaign, it is critical to go after a market where you have something authentic and valuable to offer. A thought leadership standing must be developed from the passion you hold within your area of expertise otherwise it’s nearly impossible to sustain. Successful thought leadership positioning is cultivated through ongoing relationships with your market which includes all constituents. One just does not work without other.
“Thought Leaders” are said to be people (or firms) who are recognized among their peers for innovative ideas; who confidently promote those ideas; and who earn recognition from the outside world that they deeply understand their business, the needs of their clients, and the broader marketplace in which they operate. (As paraphrased from www.wikipedia.com)
Thought leadership breaks down into a couple key areas: it must be visionary; it must be provocative and it must put the needs of the customer first. An industry classic example of this was Marc Benioff’s (salesforce.com) advocacy back in 1999 of Software-as-a-Service with the provocative theme that “Software is dead”. SaaS was the forerunner of the cloud computing bandwagon that everyone is now trying to leap aboard.
We recommend that clients look for their individual niche to own. It is important to find something that isn’t being covered and really needs to be addressed.
- Tip: It’s a good idea to see what is not being done well – or at all – by your competitors. Select carefully something that speaks to your passion, something that isn’t being covered and really does need to be addressed for the benefit of customers.
Remember sometimes there’s a good reason why no one is addressing a given niche already. Approach the selection of your position with a skeptical but open mind. Then develop and evangelize your own trend involving the media, analysts, speaking opportunities, social media, networking events, webinars and marcom activities. Thought leadership should be interwoven throughout all marketing activities.
In creating a thought leadership roadmap, time needs to be invested in order to come up with a formidable plan of action. To get a sense of where to start, see how many favorable responses you can come up with to the following questions:
Do journalists and editors come to you as a source?
- If not, what would it take to develop you or your organization as a source?
- Are you generating focused proactive pitch campaigns every month to promote a thought leadership position?
- How are you leveraging the competitive and industry intelligence you’re gathering?
In terms of why you would want to position your company/key executives as thought leaders, here are just a few of the benefits that come to mind.
- Prospects put themselves further into the sales cycle
– Shortening the sales cycle
- Changes occur with the pattern and terms from how people buy from you
- Diminish price resistance
- Prospects experience your value before buying
– View you as a visionary, feel secure they are making the right choice
- Increase in media placements and requests
– The media views you/your company as a source
- Search Marketing “findability”
– Great content works well for search engines and customers
About Valerie Harding
As President of Ripple Effect Communications, Valerie brings a wealth of global marketing communications experience to increasing foreign companies’ market share in the US and bi-directionally increasing US companies’ market share in Ireland, the UK and Europe. The US based PR agency supports businesses in the technology, science and software/hardware sectors. Like Simpson Financial & Technology PR, it is a member of Eurocom Worldwide – The Global PR Network.
Ripple Effect Communications, located in Boston, New York and California, is the PR and marketing communications company that has changed the face of public relations to the benefit of its clients by using an innovative infrastructure, executive-only talent pool with client side experience and unique pricing structure to result in lean, yet target-exceeding performance.
Managing marketing communications campaigns in high technology industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, medical devices, life sciences, biotech, and wireless, our senior team of PR and IR professionals provides strategic direction, council and implementation across the entire range of client requirements.
Ripple Effect Communications produces “big agency” results for less because of our innovative infrastructure, unique pricing approach and complete ROI matrix on deliverables. Our multi-tiered services are versatile, scalable and cost effective.