A recent LinkedIn-Edelman report found that 61% of decision-makers said that an organization’s thought leadership efforts are more effective at showing the value of a product or service than traditional marketing.
But that same report found only about a third (33%) of thought leadership creators thought their content was actually high quality.
Clearly, there’s a gap in the creation of quality thought leadership content—and this is especially true in the IT industry.
IT is a saturated space, and thought leaders must break from the monotony to make their voices heard. And that means going beyond just following technology trends. Thought leaders need to be at the front of trends, prioritizing the future of the industry.
In this blog, we’ll show you rules to live by when it comes to being a thought leader in IT.
Harness Cutting-Edge Technologies
Staying at the forefront of IT means using technologies that are new and innovative. This includes areas like artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, cybersecurity, and blockchain, depending on your specific niche in the space.
But to be a true thought leader, you have to go one step beyond using the technologies everyone else is. Customers already expect AI-generated content, chatbots, personalized shopping experiences, and more. What sets thought leaders apart from other thinkers in the space is how these technologies are used.
Trends are shifting toward more visual content, for example. So if thought leaders are using the “right” technology but only creating written content, they still may be lagging.
This is where help from a qualified C-suite leader, like a fractional CMO, can help guide you on what’s fresh in the space, so you can create maximum impact with your content.
Set Yourself Apart With a Unique Selling Proposition
Regardless of your area in IT, you’re going to have competitors with striking similarities to your offering. Being a thought leader doesn’t necessarily mean taking your product or service back to the drawing board. Instead, it means knowing the right light to cast your product or service under.
This is where your unique selling proposition (USP) comes in.
Whether that’s a single, memorable statement or an entire campaign, your USP should signal to your customers that you have exactly what they’re searching for. At the same time, it should also tamp down any challenges they’ve faced with similar offerings.
For example, if your customers are hesitant to make a purchase due to price barriers, your USP could highlight the cost-effective value of your offering.
Regardless of what that point of differentiation is, leading with your USP will keep your voice distinct in a crowd of similar products.
Identify and Address Customer Needs
Thought leaders have a unique way of really “getting” their customers. When you know someone, you can speak their language better.
And that language can—and often does—change. As the economic climate changes, customers will demand different things, have new challenges, and expect more from the companies they buy from.
As a thought leader, your job is to know your customers well, so you can address each of their most targeted concerns and needs as specifically as possible.
The best way to do that is through buyer interviews. These interviews help you figure out what catalyzes your customers’ solution-seeking actions, what their decision-making process looks like, what challenges they’re facing within their organizations, and what might keep them from pulling the trigger on a purchase.
A fractional CMO can conduct buyer interviews for you and give you the rich insights you need. Click here to learn how yorCMO can help.
Build Strategic Partnerships
Thought leaders can be entire organizations, but they’re often individuals within organizations. C-suite-level leaders can build a following and create a reputation as leaders in their space by engaging with other industry players, including vendors, educational institutions, and even competitors.
Take part in joint webinars or podcasts, collaborate on content together, co-host sessions during industry events, and find new ways to create name and brand recognition using networking. Go beyond product marketing and use these opportunities to share how your values align, what goals you have, and why these matter for your client base.
Participate in (And Lead) Industry Events
Attending and speaking at industry events, conferences, and seminars is a great way to establish yourself—and your company—as a thought leader.
This is where having a great partnership pays off. Depending on the size of your company, you can grow your influence and credibility by taking part in a partner’s event. Use that opportunity to share your brand narrative, your unique selling proposition, and your brand values. Make your mark on the virtual or in-person stage, and be bold.
Not only will you be giving your brand a voice, but you’ll also get the latest news on technology trends your company should know. It’s a thought leadership never-ending loop. The more you learn, the more you lead, and vice versa.
And if you really want to make your mark, focusing on your own company’s event strategy is the way to do it. Event marketing can be your way to establish your company’s proficiency in the space and share your mission with a broader audience.
Leaders Build Leaders
While being a thought leader means setting yourself apart from the crowd, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
A fractional CMO can give you the guidance you need to understand market trends, create campaigns and strategies that build off your thought leadership message, and help you engage in new marketing practices, like event marketing, at a fraction of what it would cost you to hire a full-time CMO.
Click here to learn how yorCMO can help you get ahead this year.