Adopt The Winning Perspective, Think Like a Customer.

You’ve been tasked with creating a B2B thought leadership program that will feature cutting edge content in support of your company’s messaging and communications plans on product launches.

How you approach this challenge is likely to influence whether you’ll achieve the desired outcomes.

Breathe…    Resist the urge to immediately default to your favorite tactics. Take the time to think, identify and research who you are trying to reach. After all, is strategic thinking not part of your job?

Let’s assume that your goal is to reach CxO’s. Research tells you that your target audience of Executive/Director technical decision makers regularly consumes content from various sources.

These can include:

  • Customers
  • Colleagues
  • Conferences
  • Industry analysts
  • Market research
  • Key influencers and thought leaders
  • Competitors
  • Industry publications and media aggregators, and
  • Industry peers – to name only a few.

According to IDG, CxO social share preferences (in order) are as follows:

  • In-person discussions
  • Email
  • Read (articles, comments on blogs, online group discussions)
  • LinkedIn (network and groups)
  • Twitter (as the micro-blogging gateway to influencers and content), and
  • To a much lesser extent, Facebook.

CxO are much more likely to comment on blogs and download content. And increasingly, this is all done on a mobile device. Often content that CxO’s find online or in social networks is then shared internally in email for follow-up.

With that in mind, your starting point and overarching goal should be to:

Take the target customer’s perspective.

Provide a clear path to the right information,

through the right channels,

in the right format,

at the right time.

In this context, “right” is what fits with your target customer’s social sharing preferences.

While timing is difficult to predict, take into consideration factors such as:

  • Geography: Where are your target customers located? What is their distribution within the boundaries of your marketing effort?
  • Time zones: How many? What are the major target locations within these time zones?
  • Event occurrence: Have you taken into account the landscape on private events, competitive events, industry events, and conferences?
  • Industry seasonality
  • Competitive launches: When are they happening?
  • Holiday schedule (these differ by geography), and
  • Time of day reading habits (if known).

Experimentation in this area will help refine the timing on your amplification strategy. Metrics will inform you on what approaches are most successful.

Sounds simple? It can be less daunting if you adopt the right perspective, that of your target audience. For those of you who are Caddy Shack fans, “be the ball” comes to mind. Too often, the common mistake is to start from the inside-out perspective. The SlideShare companion to this blog illustrates this point and will serve as an aid as you start down the path of your next marketing program.

Marketing is not easy, and online marketing does not necessarily mean that marketing has become easier. Marketing has become more accessible, yes, but easier?

 

“So how can you keep up with your customers?

You have to start thinking like them.”

Source: Focus on Keeping Up with Your Customers, Not Your Competitors | by Mark Bonchek and Gene Cornfield, Harvard Business Review.

The SlideShare companion to this blog can be found here.

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