For the CMO

Should You Challenge the Way Your Customers Think?

It’s increasingly hard to stand out, and the field of thought leadership is becoming saturated. Great content is no longer enough, and here’s why you need to challenge the way your audience thinks.

Source: Paul Bradbury / OJO Images / Getty

In a sea of thought leaders, it’s easy to get lost. For busy CMOs and other brand builders, that’s a sobering thought. What’s been working well in marketing and content marketing is beginning to need a strategy refresh. The key here is to think beyond diversifying your audiences or platforms and getting to the value that you’re delivering. Hands-on guidance, how-tos, and direct information are all valuable. However, they’re no longer enough, and there’s a strong business case for learning how to challenge the way your audience thinks.

Challenge Their Assumptions

Leaders need to ask the right questions. Does your content help them do so? More importantly, does it help them understand where they might be making incorrect assumptions or asking the right questions? An entire corporate strategy can be derailed by asking the wrong questions. If your content and advice point out these assumptions, show them new ways to look at the world, and offer data to reframe their thinking, they’ll take you more seriously.

Reframe the Questions

What questions is your audience asking? Now, what questions do you think they should be asking? A marketing director recently approached me to ask for advice on advertising strategy. As I looked at the business, the question I thought should be asked wasn’t how much to spend on Facebook vs. Google advertising but rather whether advertising was the best way to reach customers at all.

Do They Really Know Who They Serve?

Another area to challenge leadership on is how well they understand their customers. In today’s day and age, the customer experience dominates everything. If your readers and prospective clients aren’t thinking correctly about who their key customers are, they’re missing out on opportunities to gather data, test programs, and offer the support and information their clients actually want—and need.

As a CMO, leading the charge for your business’s marketing is a big endeavor. But you can leverage the ability to help your customers see their business, audience, and industry opportunities in new ways. From reframing their questions to challenging their assumptions, this type of positioning helps you step into the role of market leader.