Business strategy and information technology consultant Stowe Boyd wrote a blog post on Thursday entitled “Thought Leadership: Beyond Marketing” in which he suggests that the rise of social media might be making us immune to marketing. Boyd suggests that startups might benefit from rethinking how they position themselves online to land on the side of that signal-to-noise ratio so that they’re actually heard.
Boyd observes that “Even in a time of great noise, people are still looking for guidance: they still need to make informed decisions, and to take action on their own behalf or on behalf of their companies. To do so, they look more than ever to those individuals and organizations that they trust, those that have credibility and hard-won reputations.” In order to capitalize on this search for expertise, Boyd suggests that companies try to situate their online presence less in terms of marketing and more in terms of thought leadership.
Boyd says there are three obvious ways to do this: Hire a thought leader. Ally your company with innovative, leading-edge programs. And actively participate in the community discourse in your field, either through written publications or through speaking events.
But these might not be viable options for startups. Hiring a thought leader is likely to be cost-prohibitive. As Boyd notes, “A startup wondering how it can stand out in a crowded field may just punt, and go down the classic social media route: the CEO and/or marketing folks will blog on the company website, and hope that people read the posts; they pay to attend conferences, and hope that they can get a speaking slot; and they try to make the company and its various spokespeople seem to be highly regarded in the community. This is the path that all companies seem to head down, so it comes as no great surprise that it generally doesn’t lead to outstanding results.”
Boyd suggests some alternatives… Read them via Read, Write Web
- Recommended read: Stowe Boyd – /Message – Thought Leadership: Beyond Marketing (fredzimny.wordpress.com)
- Finding Influencers – Part One (webmetricsguru.com)
- The CEO’s Role in Big Agency Digital Credibility (socialmediatoday.com)