Case Study: Using Thought Leadership to Help Break into a New Market
Thought leadership’s ability to build and reinforce a company’s prominence in its existing markets is well understood. But it also can be instrumental in helping a company gain a foothold in a new market where the company is little known among target executives and is competing with many well-established providers with years of success in the industry.
Case in point: A well-established logistics consultancy with a long, proven track record in the retail and consumer products industries sought to stake its claim in the healthcare sector. The company knew its expertise would translate well to healthcare—medical equipment manufacturers, distributors, and healthcare providers are experiencing many of the same supply chain challenges the firm has helped retailers and consumer goods manufacturers address. But the firm was virtually unknown among healthcare executives and, thus, faced an uphill battle to convince this new prospect base of the value the firm could provide.
The head of the firm’s healthcare practice recognized the firm had to support its sales efforts with a thought leadership program that would begin to build credibility for the firm among healthcare executives and demonstrate how its expertise and approach could improve various aspects of the healthcare supply chain. Alterra Group worked with the practice leader on the program’s initial efforts: developing and writing two keystone white papers to support two of the firm’s major healthcare industry service offerings. In addition, Alterra created bylined article versions of each paper and pitched and placed them in two leading healthcare industry magazines (Becker’s Hospital CFO and Medical Device and Diagnostics Industry).
According to the practice leader, the white papers and articles were well received by healthcare executives and have given the nascent practice a significant boost: They’ve helped create awareness of the firm as a serious player in healthcare with relevant expertise and client work; and they’ve been instrumental in starting or furthering sales conversations with healthcare decision makers. These are important first steps in laying the solid foundation the firm needs to begin making inroads in the market.
As experienced thought leadership marketers know, making sure they generate and communicate high-quality content is vital to getting the attention of target executives. But in some ways, it’s even more critical when the objective is to get noticed in a market where no one knows who you are. In the case of this firm, the practice leader knew his firm had a deep well of knowledge and expertise that would impress executives in the healthcare industry. The key was to effectively demonstrate how the firm’s approach and experience in other industries could solve some of the healthcare industry’s most pressing supply chain issues. Drawing distinct parallels between past client work (including results generated) and similar scenarios in healthcare (and projected results) was paramount.
The reality is, when using thought leadership to support your entry into a new market, you may only get one shot. So make sure you put the time and effort into doing it right.