Monday, January 31, 2011

Strachan on Surveys Offers “Tool” and “Fuel” for Thought Leadership.

How many of you think a good survey lets your company uncover stakeholders’ issues or answer key questions like how does a physician select one wireless medical device and provider over another. Hold up your left hand. C’mon, raise them up there…left hand only.

Now. Whoever thinks that a good survey can provide you and your marketing team with data that can itself be subjects for marketing, raise your right hand.

On the left hand, research (and particularly, a good survey) is a tool your operations or marketing teams use. On the right hand, survey answers can provide the fuel for building marketing programs. The correct answer of course is both hands raised.

Using surveys in thought leadership applications was what Thomas Strachan, vice president at eCardio, talked about last week at the American Marketing Association-Houston’s B2B SIG about “Thought Leadership Marketing.”

In Strachan’s view, the idea that surveys provide both tool and fuel in this kind of marketing starts as soon as you envision the survey, by creating criteria for analyzing, and then using, survey results.

Is data or aspects of the data interesting to our target markets? Can we build a marketing program or event around the overall results or any aspect of the data? Are there PR opportunities – will aspects of the data be attractive to key media outlets?

Purposing surveys for Thought Leadership means answering Strachan’s questions in the affirmative and then executing on those answers. First, gain an understanding of the concerns that your company (and only your company) can address. Second, create an external and internal Thought Leadership Marketing program around your key results. Strachan continued:

For your external stakeholders, consider all options to communicate value-add results: white papers, “survey” pages on your website, email links to download the survey. Invent and deploy web-based and live events. Advertise the report results and use them in sales collateral; build a PR initiative around them.

For internal groups – employees are critical and very often overlooked – Thought Leadership Marketing can raise the company’s profile inside, plus generate internal interest and support.

I take this last point to mean that the more you involve employees with expert knowledge in the creation and maintenance of Thought Leadership materials, the more you will get inside buy-in.

One expects eCardio is practicing the Thought Leadership Marketing that Strachan is preaching. The Houston-based company aims to be a leader in “remote cardiac monitoring products and services,” an intensely competitive market.

Frost and Sullivan reports:

Technological advancements such as wireless technologies and algorithm advancement also provide growth opportunities for those who utilize them...This coupled with the high degree of competition restraining potential market growth is causing market participants to look for other methods of gaining a competitive advantage.

And in fact, Mike Damon of Damon Medical Communications, who works in the cardiac pacing field, feels that there are a lot of at least regional and maybe even smaller providers in this ECG and Cardiac Monitoring Products market. So eCardio needs every tool at its disposal – and all the fuel available – to gain and retain its competitive edge.

Here’s where Thought Leadership Marketing ought to pay dividends. To build such a program and run it successfully, Strachan on Surveys has one revelatory piece of advice:

Start at the place you want to be at the conclusion of your survey program and work backwards.

Leadership calls for foresight. Planning ahead is its secret ingredient.

1 comment:

Mary Jo Martin said...

Isn't it great that some people out there "get it?"