It’s 1982. Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger dominates the pop charts. Imagine you work at financial services firm Merrill Lynch. A young Michael Bloomberg arrives unannounced at your office with a cup of coffee for you. What do you do? Give him 15 minutes to pitch his product.
It is now 2018. You are humming Ed Sheeran’s Perfect at your desk. A bold and brash sales rep barges in. What do you do? Dial security.
Last week, entrepreneurs from across the United States gathered in Washington, DC for the 10,000 Small Businesses Summit, hosted by Goldman Sachs. Billionaire (and former New York City mayor) Michael Bloomberg was among the A-list speakers. He shared a wonderful story about how he scored his first customer for Bloomberg LP.
Every morning for nearly a year, Bloomberg scoured Merrill Lynch’s office chatting up anyone he stumbled across with the goal of building relationships. One of his targets turned out to be the company’s chairman, who eventually approved funding to trial Bloomberg’s product.
“No matter how much digital we have, people are what make businesses,” Bloomberg told attendees at the conference.
While Bloomberg is spot on that the world works on the relationships, the approach to foster connections has been dramatically recast. There is no walking the halls of customer accounts. Cold calling is unproductive. Unsolicited Emails get minimal response.
That is because broadband adoption, the searchable Web and social networks have empowered customers, and given them more control than ever before on how and when they consume information about products and services. Gartner Group refers to these customers as enlightened buyers. Forrester Research uses the phrase the buyer’s journey.
Today, it is incumbent for companies like yours to meet buyers on their terms. Thought leadership content is the vehicle to accomplish that. When combined with targeted distribution and analytics to assess engagement, lead generation and account based marketing becomes more disciplined and measurable.