Engaging with the thought leadership ecosphere
In the first post on this topic, we picked up on a theme from Jason Busch at Spend Matters. He reckons that the quality of information available to purchasing and finance community improves as the new breed of practitioner analyst joins what we’ve called the “thought leadership ecosphere”.
The traditional analyst community lack the real insight that practitioners offer and as the new breed of practitioner analyst has found their voice through social media, the quality of information available to us all is increased markedly.
But just as information quality has changed, so have the rules of the game and vendors who have in the past courted the analysts to get their marketing messages out now need to understand how to engage with the new information community.
How do we get this new engagement right? There’s no definitive set of answers but we can see some examples of people and organisations that do get it right.
Getting it right
The analysts – First of all I don’t wish to be misunderstood. The traditional analysts still have an important critical role to play and they are important components of the ecosphere. I personal rate some very highly. I know that anything from Scott Pezza or Deborah Wilson for example is going to be worth a read but the analysts are just a small part of the community. Where they get it right is by being the genuine article. The subject matter expert that really is an expert in their niche combined with the intelligence and wit to extrapolate insights from their knowledge.
The vendors – Basware recognize the need to be seen as thought leaders. But it’s not only their own research reports and white papers that establishes them as thought leaders, they take an active part in the ecosystem, collaborating with third parties such as Ardent Partners, Billentis as well as Purchasing Insight for that matter. This kind of collaboration and support boosts the ecosystem and Basware benefit by being seen to be a fully plugged in.
OB10 is another great vendor explar. As an organization that was founded by true thought leaders they walk the walk but they haven’t always got the credit they deserve. In recent years however they’ve produced some truly inspired thought leadership pieces that reflect their heritage. They are becoming recognized an invaluable and credible source of information on e-invoicing in their own right. Like Basware, OB10 despite their clear and perfectly understandable sales agenda, embrace the ecosystem and get the message balance right so that we don’t feel we’re having their marketing messages rammed down our throats.
Consulting firms – Take this example by Laurence Buchanan at Cap Gemini. Like all of the big four, Cap Gemini has some of the best business minds with an enormous amount of collective experience to draw upon. Although they may suffer a little from over use of consultancy speak, their blogs are gold mines of thought leadership. In a world where google is one of our most useful business tools, getting high quality, free content out there is one of the most cost effective forms of advertising there is.
Getting it less right
Saying “have a nice day” doesn’t mean you are great at customer service. It’s not good enough knowng what to do – to really understand what to do you have to understand why you are doing it. When you say “have a nice day” you have to mean it.
So it’s not good enough to simply put content out there using “thought leadership” to thinly disguise your crass sales messages. No one is fooled by it and if you get it wrong it becomes just another reason to ignore you.
Unfortunately, Purchasing Insight editorial policy says I am not allowed to name the bad guys.
But you know who you are.