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How to use thought leadership to grow your business

How can you become a market leader in the face of competition?

How can you win the rat race with your products and services?

How can you reach end-users first with your solutions amidst thousands of other players?

Launching a new venture might not be a tough job in the era of digitalization. Others are doing it. But, what makes your idea different from others?

How can you grow your business?

How can you keep those six-figure profit churning?

So many hows’ to answer – the answer is just one.

The pandemic of 2020 opened different windows of opportunities for thinkers to open their solution-based businesses and address the consumers’ pain points.

The world has never seen such an upsurge of entrepreneurs in recent years, and all for good reasons.

There are many options…

But it is the consumers who are facing decision-making challenges in the wake of numerous options.

Today, the buyers are more learned and well-informed than their predecessors. The research, compare, weigh, and then make their buying decisions, yes! However, what they lack is the time-bandwidth to dig deep and explore the difference between two otherwise similar products?

When well-informed customers see little perceived differences between solution-providers, apt decision-making can become a cumbersome task.

Then the price difference becomes the deciding factor!

In doing so, they are alienating themselves from the brand that best meets their needs.

Whose responsibility is it to protect them from making wrong purchase decisions?

It is your responsibility. The product is yours, the brand is yours, and the responsibility to educate buyers about the product is undoubtedly yours!

For example, 2020 witnessed a sudden gush of innumerable healthcare apps, all promising home-delivery of essential medicines and other healthcare services.

Launching healthcare applications was the need of the hour.

But buyers faced difficulties in making the right choice between these apps. More often than not, they settled for brands that left them highly disappointed.

In the face of options, decision-making is challenging.

But brands can create that difference if they do not wish to lose their market to other lesser competent players. But, of course, nobody wants that, right?

That’s why companies need a thought-leadership strategy to strike the right chord with their buyers.

And, thought leadership strategy is the only answer to your many hows.

According to Forbes, thought leadership takes “a systematic approach to delivering new ideas, relevant advice and compelling solutions to prospects and customers through sales, marketing and media channels. A thought leadership program provides your sales and marketing team with a sustained stream of education and advisory content that helps them open doors, make more effective sales calls, differentiate your organization and deliver trusted advice.”

On the other hand, Gartner considered thought leadership marketing is “a major business trend that has rapidly become an established field in marketing and a basis of competitive differentiation when well-informed buyers see little perceived differences between solution providers.”

That’s what we were talking about – thought leadership strategy.

You can use the same strategy to stay ahead of the competitive curve by delivering the right message to your buyers and compel them to take the ‘CALL-TO-ACTION!’ How?

Here’s a brief overview of how businesses can use thought-leadership to grow and better serve their customers –

#Strategy 1: Align Thought Leadership Strategy with Growth Strategy

What is your main objective for starting a new business?

Do we hope you have one? Because if you don’t, your business will wither away in no time for want of a clear vision.

Today, what the market wants is ready-made solutions that can address the pain points of the customers. The latter is not concerned whether or not you are using some superstar to endorse your brand.

Yes! That era has long gone. Today, customers are more well-informed, and they will not fall into the trap or buy your product at face value. What they are more concerned about is how much your service is solving their pressing problems.

You have a compelling and innovative solution ready to address those problems. But, unfortunately, so do your immediate competitors. What you are offering, they are delivering the same (with minor differences).

And, the catch is hidden in those minor areas of differences.

If you can identify that and educate your audience accordingly, nearly 80% of your job is done.

When you are going about your brand positioning, you need to focus on three key areas –

  • The target customers’ pain points

  • Your product sales objectives, and

  • What are you offering

Once you have these points in place, your next step should be to communicate these key areas to your sellers and buyers in clear words.

Your choice of words should be compelling enough to make your customers feel that your brand is the only option they have.

For example – the social distancing protocols of the pandemic boosted the digital wallet market like never before. Customers had no choice but to depend on these digital wallets for their daily transactions. Going to banks or ATMs to withdraw cash was no longer an option. It is still not in the year 2021.

But, there are so many wallets in the market today. Even Amazon has entered the race with its wallet. Yet, Google Pay topped the list in 2020. Why?

This is because customers trust Google Wallet more! Understanding how they managed to emerge as market leaders will help you to understand how you can do the same for your brand.

You have to align your growth strategy with a thought leadership strategy if you wish to grow into a market leader.

#Strategy 2: Align Thought Leadership Strategy with Go-To-Market

What is the Go-To-Market strategy?

The Internet defines go-to-market as the action plan “that specifies how a company will reach target customers and achieve competitive advantage. The purpose of a GTM strategy is to provide a blueprint for delivering a product or service to the end customer, taking into account such factors as pricing and distribution.”

Do we hope you do have a go-to-market strategy in place?

Again, if you don’t, you should return to your drawing board. Because if you don’t know how to plan GTM CTA for your product or service, you can forget about growing your business.

For starters, you need to identify your customers’ buying process and requirement goals. Then, you can start planning your GTM strategy.

Also, you need to identify where your target customers hang out?

Not literally like hanging out with friends! We didn’t mean that, of course. What we meant is from where your customers consume knowledge? Is it newspapers, televisions, or social media?

Once you identify their channel of communication and knowledge-taking, you can focus on optimizing these channels to your benefit. First, create easy-to-consume and engaging content with proper CTA in place. Then, distribute them across those channels and keep a tab of how customers interact with your content.

Your channel-ready content should directly support the customer buying process and your selling goals.

Also, do not forget to understand your close competitors.

Understand their GTM strategy and follow the changing trends. This will keep you ahead of the competition.

In short, you should be there first, with the most fitting solution as soon as you see buyers looking for them.

And, do not forget to make your brand’s presence felt time and again. Do not overburden your customers with your presence always. But do not disappear from their minds at all.

Push messages, reminder emails and social media posts, and blogs are definitely some of the GTM assets you should utilize to get yourself noticed.

#Strategy 3: Align Thought Leadership Strategy with Customer Engagement

Just randomly pushing messages to your customers will not make them loyal to your brand. However, it will help if you optimize the benefits of GTM assets to your advantage.

What you need is to create customer engagement.

Maximizing customer engagement and generating measurable sales outcomes using a mix of marketing, media and sales channels is the best way.

Did you notice food apps’ emailers closely?

Zomato, for example, is known for its punchlines, eye-catchy subject lines and engaging CTA emailers, social media posts, and messages.

Just take a look at some of the amazing illustrations below –

Zomato Emailer Subject-Line

Hey, Biriyani has sent you its CV.

Read the rest of the email. It is as deliciously engaging as the subject is.

KitKat, for instance, took to Twitter to make itself heard when the Internet went on a sleep mode. Take a look –

Guess it’s time to Have A Break #InternetShutdown

You should take a look at Durex’s Insta posts. Here’s one for you –

Better safe than sorry. To buy your pack of Durex Air, click on the link in bio. #SafeInternetDay.

The image carries the caption –


Always play safe

That’s exactly what you should do to create customer engagement and incentivize your way into their pockets. Because that’s where the fate of your business lies!

Incentivising works! You have to add value for your customers with interesting offers, something like the Food Apps do.

The bottomline is …

Kotler’s Marketing Textbook can teach you how to package and market your product. But, in real life, you cannot have a one-size-fits-all strategy for your businesses. Some might work for you; others won’t.

You have to have a proper plan, a compelling strategy in place, and the right channels to implement them. Launching a venture is not hard. But, sustaining that business in the face of competition is what makes entrepreneurship challenging.

As long as you have these strategies in place, you don’t have to worry. But that doesn’t imply you can happily forget about your business altogether.

The market is always changing. Your products and services might be in high demand today. But, tomorrow, no one would want to buy them at all.

You don’t wish your business to crumble so soon?

That’s why you need to have a thought-leadership strategy in place to keep your business the ultimate market leader, always.

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