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The role of thought leadership

The role of thought leadership in the customer journey

Having attended a wide-ranging debate at the excellent Business Marketing Club on the topic of thought leadership, I felt compelled to have a stab at answering one of the big questions raised – how do you measure the return on thought leadership investment?

Let’s jump straight to the answer – by understanding the role of thought leadership in the customer journey.

No surprise that I would say that because, of course, Seen&Read is a content marketing agency that specialises in content journeys.

However, getting under the skin of the answer, this is about appreciating that thought leadership is a fantastic tool for engaging prospects but will utterly fail to deliver any form of return if engagement is the be all and end all of the marketing approach.

If the thought leadership content (regardless of format) is clearly placed within the buying journey with clear next step content mapped out, produced and connected … if you have well thought out ‘customer needs’ tags assigned to the content so that you understand what buttons you are pushing with the target audience and can link that to your CRM … and if the next step connected content truly takes the target audience on the journey towards a purchasing decision, however long that process might take … then and only then can you have the knowhow to measure the thought leadership programme’s attribution to sale.

To get there involves structure, planning, capability upskilling and some tech. But if you want to break away from thought leadership becoming a ‘spinning wheel of engagement’ (think of a hamster on its wheel working hard but going nowhere) and want to prove the business return that thought leadership can produce, then understanding the role of thought leadership in the customer journey is an absolute must.

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