Rethink Financial Thought Leadership: 6 Steps to Crack the Activation Code

April 15, 2016

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for Finance

Scaling the heady heights of ‘Thought Leadership’ is the goal of many ambitious marketers.

For example, the volume of B2B Thought Leadership put out has increased 5-fold in the last ten years. Yet only 20% of firms rate their thought leadership efforts as highly effective.

The ambitions of marketers are laudable. A successful campaign can engage hard to reach audiences with unique insights, generate headlines, build brand consideration and provide the front-line with powerful collateral for conversations.

However, the ‘failure’ of thought leadership is often down to lackluster activation. Dusty reports stare forlornly from a reception magazine rack. 

80 page PDFs sit neglected in email inboxes. Return on Investment is measured solely in terms of PR column inches or downloads.

Considering the significant investment often involved, Financial Services marketers need to take a more rigorous approach. They need to sweat the assets produced into multiple formats. These need to be mapped to ideal customer engagement journeys, and phased into contact strategies that match buyer-cycles.

Find out how leading content experts from Chase Business, Capgemini, and The Economist are tackling these challenges during our April 19th webcast.

To sign-up and learn more about the event, visit the event page here.

The following are some of the pointers we hope to be covering in the session:

1. Start at the end

Success isn’t just measured in column inches. The real returns most often come from the ability of your client facing advisers to use this insight as a currency for profitable conversations. They need conversation guides that they can actually activate.

Interview client-facing teams to understand the conversations they are having, and also where and how they are supporting these.

Then develop your outputs in the format that best supports this, whether it’s a conversation map (as IBM do), an iPad app, infographic or simple checklist.

2. Activate through the client journey

Many marketing departments approach TL along the binary track of ‘Research > Write Report > Get Headlines > Mail’.

Instead, plan campaigns through the lens of an ‘engagement funnel’. Look at how the content can be activated through all the lead generation channels, including owned, earned and paid. Map the prospects’ journey through all subsequent touch-points and optimise the conversion journey at each point. Even micro content tweaks can have a dramatic impact on conversion.

3. Don’t just be ‘on brand’

Take the logo off most thought leadership campaigns and you’d be hard pushed to know who produced them.

The art is to differentiate your proposition by embodying your brand. This can be through the topics you talk about, the way you curate this content and how you surface the voice of your own thought leaders. You need to find your content ‘sweet spot’ that no-one else owns.

4. Don’t get heavy on a first date

Engagement works in a pyramid. The first touch-point might be as little as 15 seconds, and your content has to deliver on that. Then expand the amount of content, and flex the mediums you use, as your audiences engage with you more deeply. Don’t serve up a 5 minute video to your audiences at the top of the funnel and expect them to watch. Make sure you plot the on-going contact strategy as well – how can you make sure your publishing cycle is driven by your customers’ buyer cycle.

5. Make it two way

Today’s audiences don’t want to be just passive recipients. Give them the chance to shape the insights they want through interactive data and content tools. And engage them in a dialogue so their insights get shared to the wider world, without compromising their integrity.

6. Look beyond the data

Information may be beautiful, but the insights most often come from people. For best results, try to blend the rigorous data analytics with pithy nuggets of insight from clients which bring it to life. 

To hear these discussions in real time register for our April 19th webcast at 11am est, 8am by going here.