five key challenges of thought leadership

Information is no longer disseminated by a privileged few. It is becoming more and more difficult to break through the chaotic babble of voices and say anything original, much less to command the attention of readers deluged with noise. This trend is even more pronounced in B2B technology marketing for the healthcare sector. With niche domain expertise becoming the order of the day, technology professionals are increasingly looking for information that will help them keep up with the rapid pace of disruptions in technology. Creating content that is relevant, unique, and engaging to meet the needs of this target audience involves a complex set of challenges.

Convincing the company leadership about the need for thought leadership content

Businesses today are understandably preoccupied with numbers and metrics. It can be challenging for B2B technology marketers to convince the leadership teams that establishing their organization as an industry thought leader will eventually trickle down into higher revenue opportunities. With the online clutter and shorter attention spans, leaders want to tap every single window of a prospect’s attention for hard selling. Moreover, the effects of thought leadership marketing take a while to kick in. That time lag can often result in impatience and haphazardly abandoned campaigns.

The solution, though obvious, requires a precise understanding of how both thought leadership and content marketing work and the ability to forecast tangible outcomes down the road, with clear benchmarks spelled out explicitly.

Lack of a clear content strategy

A clear and focused content strategy with well-defined short-term and long-term goals is often a prerequisite for getting the leadership to buy in. Often, marketers create ad hoc pieces of content that chase evolving market buzzwords or react to competitors. This approach is likely to backfire because readers hooked in by thought leadership content are inevitably looking for a comprehensive roadmap of next steps. So just getting readership for a single content piece does not serve any purpose unless it is part of a well-drafted campaign resulting in active engagement and eventually actionable leads.

Focus on quantity instead of quality of content

Driven by misguided digital marketing advisors, B2B technology organizations, especially in the healthcare domain, tend to believe that more content directly translates to improved visibility and better SEO. With the intense competition in the crowded healthcare technology space, this approach is not just dated but can even be counterproductive, with readers unsubcribing from and blocking content that is seen to be lacking in substance or “sales-y”. The idea should be to speak only if you have a new perspective to offer; simply presenting a rehash of others’ ideas is going to steer the reader away from your content.

Distribution of content

Unfortunately, the role of content marketing professionals does not stop with the creation of great thought leadership content. Often, brilliant perspectives may be lost amid the online clutter, victims of ineffective distribution and promotion. Merely posting a thought leadership piece on the company web page is not enough. Extensive syndication through social media channels as well as industry-specific online communities and forums, combined with an aggressive PR push and usage of internal communications channels, can go a long way in increasing the visibility of your thought leadership assets.

Lack of well-defined metrics indicating the success of a thought leadership campaign

B2B technology marketers are still grappling with defining success indicators related to thought leadership content. Though analytical tools such as Google Analytics and HubSpot do provide reports on sources of traffic, cost per click and many other such metrics, interpretation of these data are highly subjective. On the other hand, just focusing on revenue generation can be equally misleading because often, the objective of a thought leadership campaign is improving visibility rather than just generating revenue.

With B2B technology marketers working relentlessly to figure out a solution to this conundrum, content marketers need to work out a way to measure tangible benefits of their thought leadership content campaigns depending on the stage of the sales cycle, the maturity of products or services, and the status of the organization. Performance indicators will vary across organizations of different scales in different geographies and business verticals; there is no one-size-fits-all metric.

Most professionals in the healthcare B2B technology markets are facing these challenges day in and day out. Based on our extensive experience as a growth strategy advisory firm that works with some leading global tech brands, we have put together an e-book on winning the battle for attention in the B2B technology markets. Download your copy today. It may not give you all the answers, but it will certainly get you one step closer towards finding them.