Managing Influence

Influencing markets compels organisations to invest in intellectual capital. White Papers are commissioned, Seminars organised and Webcasts broadcast. But the audience for these events and materials is often limited and content dates quickly.

Developing thought leadership materials is the easy part; the challenge is getting it read.

The right communications infrastructure helps but it is only the foundation. To be a thought leader organisations not only need good ideas and broadcast infrastructure, they need active management.

Be regular

The latest thinking encourages organisations to build ‘dialogues’ with customers and potential customers: great! What exactly does this mean?

A couple of years ago a large electrical retailer commissioned a ‘viral’ digital campaign. It involved a witty email, banner adverts and a free ‘elf bowling’ video game.

Did it increase traffic? – Absolutely yes.

Did it engage the market? – Again yes.

Did it result in more sales? – A resounding NO!

It was a classic example of traditional marketing going digital. The campaign was classic ‘fire and forget’; it did not build a dialogue. But it could report that vast numbers of individuals played ‘elf bowling’.

To succeed organisations have to develop regular ongoing communications, elicit interaction and build a conversation. Every industry has its challenges and opinion formers. Regular publication and comment on matters effecting your industry will recruit an army of influential supporters: individuals who recommend your papers, link to your webcasts and build your audience. New material needs to be published once a fortnight as a minimum.

Be assured; the demand you create is directly proportional to the frequency and quality of your publication.

Be original

The majority of social networkers, tweeters and bloggers simply regurgitate and promote useful material. This is great news for the publisher but it does not help the ‘tweeter’ other than giving them a great following. It is better to have 2,000 active recommenders than 20,000 followers wondering who you will recommend next. Be original, be talked about and build your reputation. Simply pointing your audience to a third party White Paper will promote the third party – not you.

Too difficult?

Many organisations believe that regular publication involves significant investments in personnel, time and effort. In most cases it does not. But it does require good organisation, appropriate resources and management.

In practise the effort is limited and many companies find organising a single trade show far harder work than developing regular communications with their marketplace. But the returns for regular publication are significantly greater.

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