Too often, we create thought leadership for our customers, not with them. We survey customers and draw upon experience in the field most of the development effort is internally driven: Deciding what issues to address, developing points of view, and creating content to demonstrate our expertise.
The reality, however, is that our customers are literally drowning in content and far too much of it fails to connect.
To be more effective, we should consider greater customer engagement and collaboration throughout the entire research and development process. Integrating customers into the early stages of the process may require more time and investment, but the payoff can include more relevant issue agendas, more compelling materials, and deeper customer relationships for innovation and growth.
This ITSMA briefing explores why and how marketers should consider strengthening customer collaboration in thought leadership development. The briefing provides data from ITSMA’s 2016 How Buyers Consume Information study, a framework for involving customers in the early stages of thought leadership development, and a review of the issues and challenges involved in creating a more integrated approach.
The briefing is led by Rob Leavitt, head of ITSMA’s thought leadership practice, and includes short presentations by Nicole France, head of Cisco’s executive thought leadership program, and Ann Baxter Perrin, Senior Research Executive at Deloitte and head of Deloitte’s partnership with the MIT Media Lab discussing specific examples of how they involve customers in developing thought leadership on emerging issues in areas such as healthcare, retail, and the Internet of Things.