“Enough about me. Let’s talk about you…What do you think about me?”
I love that joke. It is the perfect metaphor for so many things. And it’s something that I refer to frequently when talking to clients.
The fact is, people are obsessed with themselves. OK, maybe that’s a bit strong. But it is fair to say that if you can make what you’re communicating about me, and not just about some random “other” who may or may not be like me, I am far more likely to listen to you, really hear you, understand you and, perhaps most importantly, remember you (and your message.)
Source For Consulting recently released its annual study of clients of consulting companies to get their insights and opinions into why they use consulting services. They decided to ask some questions specifically about thought leadership marketing as well. And there were some really interesting findings in there. One in particular stood out to me.
Relevance = Personalization
Clients want thought leadership content to be relevant to them. In fact, the most important thing they identified as being an “essential” quality of thought leadership they consume, is its “relevance to your industry/function/organization”.
As Source for Consulting concluded, they essentially want “mass customization”. What does this mean? How can you leverage the work you’re already doing to provide quality thought leadership to your audience – to make it about them – if your editorial process needs to narrow in on messages that may not include them? For example, if your research returns data that is particularly interesting for the Energy sector, odds are you’ll focus on that portion of the data to illustrate your point. But that doesn’t mean a Healthcare executive might not find a compelling story in your data.
Can you afford to leave him or her out? On the other hand, can you afford to devote the time and resources to develop a report that slices and dices, analyzes and summarizes the data for every possible audience and angle? Of course not, but this is one of the best examples of how an interactive data experience can help.
Expose Yourself…or at least your data
You need to expose your data. Put up an interactive graphic allowing your users to play with the data and slice and dice by industry, by company size, by geography…by whatever criteria that will make it relevant to them. You don’t have to make a massive investment in some complicated platform. Sometimes simply the ability to see some basic charts from different angles is enough. Other times your thought leadership may warrant a rich, broad and deep data exploration platform. (Maybe you’re launching your biggest initiative of the year at Davos and it’s time to pull out all the stops.)
The point is that you should do everything you can to empower your audience with information, make it as much about them as possible, and give them knowledge on which they can act. If you make it all about them, and they can see a story where previously there was none for them, you’ve created an opportunity for a connection, a phone call, an outcome that would have otherwise been missed.
Can you share any examples of your favorite interactive data experiences that let you make someone’s data relevant to you?