Demand Gen Report

sign-up-banner--final
Marketing Blueprints in Action: How to Build an Awareness/Thought Leadership Blueprint
Demanding Views
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 10:07

By Mike Gospe, Principal & Co-Founder, KickStart Alliance

One of the most common types of marketing programs is the "awareness & thought leadership" program.  This specific program has the objective of focusing the company on the business and solutions topics target audiences cares about.  Instead of immediately diving down to the feature-rich technical jargon, this program positions the vendor as a business partner, and thus allows for a consultative approach in dialoguing with customers and prospects.

Consider that 90% of the prospect’s buying process happens without engaging any sales rep!  Customers and prospects are in control of how and when they engage with any vendor.  With that in mind, marketers need to make sure that their company and solutions are “findable.”  I don’t just mean that prospects can Google a company name – that assumes the prospect knows who you are and what you do.  I mean that when a prospect searches for solutions for their business problems, that they find some relevant content offered by your company.  This connection is the first step in a meaningful dialog.

The following awareness/thought leadership program blueprint is just one example using the blueprint technique I describe in my book: Marketing Campaign Development.  Like branding, this type of program is best viewed as an ongoing investment in creating and maintaining marketing efforts that will frame specific product launches and promotions.

Reading from left to right, notice that the intended target audience is identified in the left column.  (Personas for CIOs and IT Directors would have been developed in detail prior to designing this blueprint.)  Across the top, the customer's buying behavior has been listed -- in this case moving from "awareness" to "interest".  

Each box in the blueprint references a "theme" and the "marketing methods" (i.e. articles, Web, executive presentations) used to communicate the theme.  We cast the net wide by starting with business topics that should appeal to both the CIO and IT director.  Popular themes can be thought of as the "what" themes: -- What trends will influence the industry? or What impact can we expect the current economy to have on consumer behavior?  or What are the three primary investment priorities for CIOs in 2010?  For best results, a company may have one or two business themes that will be explored and further defined all year.  It's best to be focused.

Next, we move on to solutions-based themes.   Think of these topics as the "how" themes -- How will companies balance containing costs while protecting the network? or How are companies maximizing the ROI of their outsourced functions and programs?  These topics tend to get more specific in prescribing a criterion for success.  For best results, a company may entertain two or three solutions topics that support each business theme, per quarter.  This allows additional solutions topics to unfold over time, thereby providing flexibility to leverage new product launches and current events that may impact buyer behavior.   

Notice that in neither the business topics nor the solutions topics have we put our product in the headline.  This is important.  The value that a company brings is in sponsoring these topics and providing business and solutions savviness.  Via its sponsorship, a company can connect its products and solutions directly to the business problems customers care about.  Like chapters in a book, these discussion topics will nurture your prospects.  Your company’s thought-leadership approach will build and evolve each quarter, providing rich content for prospects to review and respond to.

But a company’s marketing programs are only just beginning.  Ultimately, the best qualified leads are the ones who seek us out.  How do we best nurture prospects?  The best approach is to whet their appetites with relevant business and solutions topics, and then give them an opportunity to raise their hands to request more information.  And, your marketing team will be on the lookout for prospects who exhibit certain behavior based on the topics they find of interest and the information they share with you along the way.  This is where demand generation programs kick in, where you have an opportunity to actively introduce them to specific solutions, key features, and unique differentiators.

Now that you’ve built an effective awareness program, the next step is to generate some well-qualified leads.  For more information on awareness and lead generation programs, please visit my blog: Marketing Campaign Development or follow me on Twitter.

 

 

Mike Gospe leads KickStart Alliance’s marketing operations practice where he conducts team-based “practical application working sessions” to improve the effectiveness of lead generation campaigns and product launches.  His fun, practical approach and roll-up-his-sleeves attitude energizes teams, helping them to get “real work done” while guiding them to the next level of excellence.  Mike is the author of the book, Marketing Campaign Development, and his methodology is being used by San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning course: “Essentials of Integrated Marketing.”   

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Demanding Views

Why Mergers Are The Perfect Use Cases For Predictive Lead Scoring

mintigo-john-bara2By John Bara, CMO, Mintigo

 I have been through multiple mergers and acquisitions in the software industry.  In each case, business models depend on successful cross-selling of new products and services to respective customer bases of the newly combined companies.

Have you been a part of a merger or acquisition? Was the newly combined company pleased with the results, or did they disappoint? What was the success rate of finding existing customers to cross-sell the newly acquired products or services? How were those targets selected?

Read more...

Bulletin Board

The 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey

Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey provides insights into how B2B buyers make their decisions. Buyers are waiting longer to engage with sales, but they are more satisfied with the process than in years past. For an in-depth look at this research, download the report now!

Download Now »

 

Solution Spotlight

Sync Salesforce And MailChimp With ChimpSync

ChimpSync logoChimpSync is designed to provide MailChimp users with Salesforce integration, allowing users to sync contacts, leads and other campaign data between the two platforms.

Read more...

Follow Us

 
 
 
Banner

Industry Events

INBOUND 2014

When: September 15 – 18, 2014

Where: Boston, MA

INBOUND's purpose is to provide the inspiration, education, and connections you need to transform your business. This September, we will host thousands of marketing and sales professionals from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. In 2013, we had 5,500 attendees from 35 countries, and we're excited to be bigger than ever this year.

Read more...
 
2014 B2B Marketing Forum

When: October 8 – 10, 2014

Where: Boston, MA

Are you armed and ready to meet the marketing challenges of today, tomorrow, and beyond? With technology and the way we live changing rapidly, B2B marketers have so many options and tools that it can be overwhelming. At the 2014 B2B Marketing Forum we will have inspirational speakers presenting on the hottest, smartest topics—giving you the knowledge you need to thrive in 2014, 2015 and beyond. Get ready to bullet-proof your marketing for the future and come out a modern marketing rock star!

Read more...
 
Dreamforce 2014

When: October 13 – 16, 2014

Where: San Francisco, CA

Whether you’re a company of five or a Fortune 500, you’re going to learn a lot of innovative ways to improve your business at Dreamforce. With over 1,400 sessions and thousands of live solutions from the world’s largest cloud ecosystem, Dreamforce has tailored content specific to your business size and type, for any role in your company.

Read more...