Top 10 Tips For Thought Leadership (by Adrian Gonzalez)

The “Top 10” for Thought Leadership Marketing From Supply Chain Guru Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian GonzalezTMSA continues our "Perspectives from Thought Leaders" series, where visionaries in our industry share their ideas, perspectives and stories about the essence of thought leadership. This blog post is the fifth in a Thought Leadership series brought to you exclusively by the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. TMSA sat down with Adrian Gonzalez to get his perspectives on key questions around thought leadership. 

Few people have more readily embraced the online media world in the transportation and supply chain industry like Adrian Gonzalez has. As a LinkedIn Influencer with more than 100,000 followers, as well as creating the media and news epicenter for the industry, we sidelined Adrian long enough to get these Top 10 pieces of advice about Thought Leadership:

1. Stay informed – The incessant drive to stay up-to-date and ‘curious’ about the latest things happening in the industry is a key attribute of great thought leaders.  They seek out information and perpetually try to satisfy their insatiable appetite to understand the world happening around them.  This often involves going beyond the headline, and digging deeper in ‘why’ and ‘how’ things happen.

2. Imagine the big picture – As great thought leaders seek out answers and understand what’s happening, they also have uncanny ability to relate what they learn to the broader context of an overarching trend or macro-impact.  They are able to stretch their imaginations to envision how certain events and interactions contribute to the big picture.

3. Passion and enthusiasm are contagious!  - In an industry that some might describe as conservative and even stodgy, supply chain professionals should blow the lid off their ideas with passion and enthusiasm.  Above all else, that helps get others engaged and onboard with your ideas.

4. Tell a story – If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times:  make what you’re trying to communicate relatable for your audience by telling them a story they identify with.  Real-life anecdotes – especially funny ones or ones with unlikely or surprising outcomes – help get people adopt your idea.

5. Back it up with evidence – While you ‘sink the hook’ with a good story, follow it up with more evidence and examples.  This can be a struggle if you haven’t actually implemented a thought leadership campaign; if that’s the case, you don’t have evidence to show how it could be successful.  So instead, you may need to…..

6. Start with a grass roots effort  - One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when it comes to thought leadership is they over-plan at the beginning.  In reality, there are number of free or relatively inexpensive channels – like blogs, PR, social media groups, and so on – where you can start a grass roots effort to get your campaign off the ground – even just a mini-pilot to get started.  Then, armed with some initial traction, the evidence is easier to come by. 

7. Make it personal and relatable – In a world of thousands of touchpoints and tons of content, the way you break through the clutter is by making your message personal and relatable for your audience.  Once you do that, you’re very well poised to in fact, build relationships with potential buyers, which brings us to the next point……

8. Build relationships – By nature, marketers are driven to develop one-to-many marketing programs.  A major realization I’ve had in my years of blogging, is that I have the incredible freedom to build relationships with readers in a totally different way than traditional marketing outreach.  People will remember what you said, as a thought leader, and they’ll engage with you as a person.  It makes for a powerful start to a professional connection.

9. Center around the customer – the most effective thought leadership campaigns provide answers or a unique perspective to tough questions your customers have.  If you haven’t talked to customers about what matters to them – that is, what’s really keeping them up and night - then you’re probably missing the best opportunities for great thought leadership from your company.

10. You’re not alone! – Doing a comprehensive thought leadership campaign can be a daunting undertaking for even the most competent of marketers.  But keep in mind, you don’t have to do it all yourself!  You can comment, respond, guest author and share your perspective on something that someone else created!  There are tons of blogs, social media communities and (yes) thought leaders out there – use those as channels to make your voice heard.

Learn more about Thought Leadership:

  • Webinar:  How to Launch a Thought Leadership campaign in 90 days (insert hyperlink here)
  • E-Book:  The Ultimate Launch Kit for a Thought Leadership Program (insert hyperlink here)

TMSA invites you to learn more about Thought Leadership marketing by ordering:

Webinar: How To Launch A Thought Leadership Campaign in 90 Days 
E-Book: The Ultimate Launch Kit for a Thought Leadership Program 

More about our guest: Adrian Gonzalez is trusted advisor and leading industry analyst with more than 18 years of research experience in transportation management, logistics outsourcing, and other supply chain and logistics topics. He is the founder and president of Adelante SCM, a peer-to-peer learning and networking community for supply chain and logistics professionals. Adelante's services include Talking Logistics, an online video talk show and blog featuring thought leaders and newsmakers in the supply chain and logistics industry, and 3PL Briefings, a research service focused on providing supply chain executives with high-quality and trusted research, analysis, and briefings about the Third-Party Logistics (3PL) industry and leading practices in logistics outsourcing. Prior to his current roles, Adrian held various leadership positions at ARC Advisory Group, Motorola, Polaroid, and Clare. Adrian speaks frequently at industry events and conferences and is regularly quoted in industry publications. He is also a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and a LinkedIn Influencer with more than 100,000 followers.

Adrian has a B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University. He also earned a Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain Management from Northeastern University, where he has served as an adjunct instructor in their Executive MBA program. Adrian can be reached at [email protected] or via telephone at 317-529-9639

Guest author of the TMSA Thought Leadership blog series is Jill Schmieg, Founder and Chief Strategist of Sol de Naples Marketing. 

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