Telling the Difference Between Lead Generation Vs Thought Leadership
On the surface you could be forgiven for thinking that lead generation and thought leadership are the same thing or strive towards the same goal. The reality, however, is that they are quite different.
What Is a Thought Leader?
Thought leadership is essentially a type of content marketing that enables you to answer some of the biggest questions in your industry, both in and outside of your team. Whether you use a blog or social media (Twitter lends itself particularly well to thought leadership), the content is crafted in such a way that it taps into the passion of an audience. The content itself is the key here, because it will act as a driving force in making you an authority in your field.
When looking to involve thought leadership in your marketing strategy, the first and most essential task is research. The whole point of being a leader in your industry is being able to offer knowledge to people in an accessible way that they may not have otherwise come across. By identifying the questions your audience are asking, for example, you can build a knowledge base that focuses on delivering answers to existing questions which can then be expanded upon to gain more interest.
You should also seek to identify potential challenges that your audience may face and offer practical solutions: it builds a sense of trust early in the business-to-consumer relationship. For a marketing agency in Hampshire, for example, the focus would be on creating content that also appeals to the growing need for localised marketing.
Lead Generation: All About Follow-up
If you're looking to increase your customer base, then your focus should be on lead generation. The goal is to drum up interest in your product or service by using your content to initiate the conversation and ultimately create leads to follow up. While thought leadership aims to create a buzz around your position in your industry as a whole, lead generation is all about creating lists of potential customers that can then be targeted for conversion.
Methods of lead generation are varied and can include both on and offline activities. Some of the most effective lead generation methods include email marketing, SEO practices and PPC advertising, websites with a call to action (such as sign-up for newsletters) and use of social media. Email marketing is usually the most effective way of generating leads, as it creates an open channel of regular communication. The challenge will often arise when it comes to actually procuring email addresses, which is where you can get creative with your campaigns.
Differences in Goals
Marketing efforts behind lead generation should aim to have a call to action that motivates potential customers to engage with your brand – conversations that can then be followed up on by sales teams. The marketing efforts behind thought leadership, meanwhile, should be focused on increasing awareness that doesn't necessarily have to result in sales. If you've set up your strategy with an outsourced company, such as a marketing agency in Hampshire, they can usually help with determining which of the two strategies will work best for you.
Both of these digital strategies have their merits and can yield great results, but the main thing is to first be clear on what your goals are and what you want to achieve, because therein lies the difference between the two.
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