As we prepare for the year ahead, thought leadership practitioners will need to make some choices. We need to choose where to invest our time, resources and treasure.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with a chief marketing officer of global consulting firm about 20 years ago now. And we were talking about marketing budgets. He pointed out that his firm advertised in airports around the world. It was impossible to walk on a moving walkway without seeing their logo and their campaigns. They were everywhere. He leaned back in his chair. And he said, we could take a fraction of that money. We could buy a string of polo ponies for each of our top 100 clients and have them delivered to the front door of each of our clients. Now, his point wasn’t about polo ponies. It was one about relevance. Specifically, the difference between broadcasting and narrowcasting. In broadcasting, high prestige, high visibility activities take a lot of effort to produce. Whether it’s the white paper, the book, the large conference, or the event that we’re planning. Narrowcasting is more intimate. One-on-one. Or one to a handful. It allows you to convey a message that makes your audience feel that you’re speaking directly to them. Rather than just another sign as you move between B27 and B29.
So, as you think about budgets — whether for yourself as an individual or for your organization — how will you allocate your thought leadership: broadcasting or narrowcasting?