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The Importance Of Thought Leadership In Today’s Startup Environment

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The Importance of Standing Out  

Organizations are always looking for ways to gain that competitive edge by coming up with innovative ideas and educational solutions that help them solve some of the problems that their customers are facing. This helps create a sense of value for buyers who are looking for companies with innovative and high-quality products. Those entering the field of marketing should know that knowing subject matter and having a strong opinion is only one of the many skills necessary to succeed in today’s ever-changing landscape. Successful marketers utilise original research, insights, and data to guide conversations with prospects. Genuine research helps you start quality conversations and provides solutions for your clients. Despite the fact that more and more companies are adopting the idea of thought leadership to increase their sales, it does not always work out as well in practice. Most businesses fail to execute a disciplined program because they do not put enough energy and resources into developing an effective strategy.  

MIA (Marketing In Asia) data indicates that just 8% of the startup founders seemed to be doing the right marketing in establishing their company’s thought leadership. In comparison, an astounding 30% claimed they are willing to do so but do not know how to proceed with it and need expert advice.   

How to Build an Audience as a Thought Leader in Your Industry while Promoting Your Brand? 

One of the best ways to become an industry leader is to share your knowledge with others and make sure that you are easily found by those looking for your expertise. One way to do this is by writing blog posts, giving presentations at conferences, or authoring an article or two on a subject that you are an expert in. You can build your brand as a thought leader in your industry by promoting your content through various channels and engaging with people on social media. Thought leaders promote their brands by providing valuable information to their followers, which will eventually increase the trustworthiness of the brand. 

To be successful in building an audience as a thought leader, you need to have a strategy for promotion and engagement with your followers. It is important that you are always adding value to the conversation with each post because this will help you build credibility with your readers & this is usually a four-step process: 

  1. Identify the target audience: – Start by identifying your target audience or persona and then create content that will resonate with them. 
  2. Strategize: The thought leadership strategy should be aligned with the growth strategy of your company.
  3. Productise: Publish thought leadership content that will make your marketing process more efficient and streamlined.
  4. Monetize: Your customers want to engage with your business in diverse ways, which is why it is important to mix up marketing, media, and sales channels.  

How to Be a Thought Leader that People Want to Follow  

In order to be a thought leader, you need to be able to show your expertise in a given field. What is the best way to do this? You can start by creating content on your own site, publishing in other places that are relevant for your industry, and finally by joining discussions on social media. As per MIA’s data, 45% of startups use authored articles as the most popular mode of establishing thought leadership, followed by participation in events and awards (35%) and consistency on social media (28%).  

As a thought leader, you should be prepared to share your knowledge with others. Do not be afraid of being wrong or having your ideas challenged. This will help you create content that people want to read and follow. It would be best if you also tried innovative marketing channels as they might work better for your audience than ones that have been tried before. MIA research shows that due to the cumbersome process of creating videos and podcasts, video interviews (25%) and podcasts (12%) is not a go-to choice for startups. Other than social media and authored articles, most startups are missing out on leveraging the other powerhouses to establish themselves as thought leaders. For instance, just 2% of startups are investing in research content. Publishing research in the domain of expertise puts a startup on a higher pedestal. ALinkedIn research shows that 58% of decision-makers had read thought leadership content each week, atleast for an hour. Further, such content persuaded 60% of them to buy the product or service offered. 

Also read : Founder Branding: How To Do It And What You Need To Know  

How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit from Thought Leadership  

Thought leadership is a marketing strategy that can help entrepreneurs gain visibility and customers. Thought leadership marketing has become an increasingly popular trend among businesses as the Gartner Group1 has identified it as one of the fastest-growing fields in marketing. Thought leadership involves developing and sharing a company’s expertise to establish thought leadership, which provides them with a strategic advantage. When buyers perceive little variance among providers, consulting firms that employ thought leadership marketing are in a better position to stand out from the competition. Businesses are noticing that their high-value customers seek more information and advice about the products they offer, which includes a wide range of customers such as business clients, wealthy individuals, or chief financial officers (Content Marketing Report2). 

The results of early adoption of thought leadership and identifying it as a USP, after systematically implementing a systematic approach for selling their thought leadership by some of the leading players of today (IBM, PwC, and McKinsey ), is documented in the book “Profitable Brilliance” (Forbes Media, 2012), that lays down the avenues for using thought leadership as an asset to: 

  1. Cut through the advertising clutter and more effectively take advantage of high-growth media options such as social networks, online video, mobile applications, and search engines. 
  2. Create compelling ideas that help drive sales by opening doors for you in the near future or providing a reason to work more with you in the future. 
  3. Identify the advantages of your company’s offerings to stand out from the crowd, deliver high-quality content and provide a unique perspective. 
  4. To show that you know what your customers want and can provide them with offerings that they need. 
  5. To grow their ROI by better leveraging marketing content during the go-to-market process. 
  6. Increase your content’s visibility by making it more accessible- in channels and places like media, marketing, and sales.  

The benefits of thought leadership for entrepreneurs are wide-ranging. It has been found that marketers who are thought leaders are more successful than those who are not. This is because they have a higher level of trust in their brand, which leads to higher conversions and better customer service.  

Know more on why startups should focus on thought leadership- Download the report. 

 

Endnotes 

  1. https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/1269713/marketing-essentials-how-to-use-thought-leadership-marke 
  1. https://bizibl.com/marketing/download/content-marketing-report-survey-results 
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