The backbone of public relations, social media, marketing communications and advertising programs is content that engages, educates and entertains. Our methodology at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) is to produce and/or package content once and then merchandise it across multiple channels. This approach positively impacts awareness, credibility and lead generation (via search engine optimization and sales cycle marketing).
One of the zingers I typically drop to a prospect during a new business presentation is that "thought leaders have thoughts." Sounds elementary, yet I point out that most executives shy away from taking a stand on issues or topics that could be controversial. And that limits the effectiveness of their company’s external communications program.
Now, it’s important that any thought leadership platform align with a company’s business objectives. There is simply no ROI in controversy for the sake of being argumentative. Additionally, ideas need to be presented in a clear manner, supported by third-party commentary and (when possible) statistical validation.
Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff is the premier thought leader in the adoption of innovative technology by enterprises. Salesforce.com’s "Say No to Software" launch campaign for its software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM product ultimately redefined how many companies procure applications.
Competitors like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft initially protested Benioff’s views and then were ultimately forced to play catch-up. More important, Salesforce.com ignited a movement that spurred innovation across multiple segments of the market. Strategic clients Avectra and GovDelivery are two examples of SaaS providers that are accelerating growth in their respective market niches.
Benioff’s back with a new thought leadership campaign that defines what comes after SaaS. His premise: view companies like Salesforce.com as offering a "platform as a service" that allows entrepreneurs to write, test and deploy software without cost-prohibitive infrastructure investments.
Citing vendors like Google, Amazon, Facebook and MySpace that are all employing a comparable "platform" strategy, Benioff brands this movement as Web 3.0.
While I find the Web 3.0 tag to be clichéd (a myriad of companies have already made a run at using this term), I applaud Benioff and Salesforce.com for their continued innovation in marketing and positioning.
Take a few moments to read his guest column in TechCrunch IT. It’s a well constructed argument for Salesforce.com’s approach and proves out that thought leaders truly do have thoughts with the potential to move markets.
Welcome to Web 3.0: Now Your Other Computer is a Data Center