Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

Knowledge sharing platform for a knowledge-intensive company

A new thought leadership platform encouraging stakeholder engagement and subject matter expertise has been launched by a global B2B technology company.

B2B companies can no longer rely on traditional B2B marketing methods and channels to get their messages out to prospects and customers. B2B buyers across most industries are discerning and savvy, no longer willing to respond to the propaganda-based messages that many B2B companies market themselves with.

To engage these buyers, B2B companies need to show not only that they have the knowledge and expertise, but that they also know how to apply it. And this is often beyond the scope and competence of the marketing department, requiring the involvement of the company’s technical subject matter experts.

Industry professionals participate

One knowledge-intensive B2B company that has recently taken up the challenge and published its own knowledge-sharing site is FOSS Analytical A/S, a global supplier of analytical instruments. The site is called NIRperformance.com and according to FOSS, “NIRperformance.com brings near infrared (NIR) analysis experts and feed industry professionals together to discover more about NIR analysis and its potential in the feed industry.”

It is aimed specifically at NIR and feed industry professionals all over the world, including scientists, technicians, laboratory managers and business owners.

From one expert to another

One of the brains behind NIRperformance.com is Maria Laura Locatelli (pictured), International Marketing Manager at FOSS and a seasoned feed industry professional. She describes a key goal of NIRperformance.com: “It is all about how to make the best use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) in the feed industry. It’s a place where you can get a 360 degree view on NIR and how it can improve food production in general.”

The site encourages industry professionals to engage with the content and also to contribute with their own content. It is open for all and not limited to people with a vested interest in the site’s publisher.

Site users can comment, just as with a normal blog, and interact with rich-media content including subject matter expert videos.

A Voice of Industry site

NIRperformance.com is a Voice of Industry site based on the principles of the Three Voices strategy, first described in the book The Death of Propaganda (Winch, Best, Hoskin). A Voice of Industry site is a channel for companies and experts to communicate about solutions and industry-level matters without directly pushing branded products and services.

Voice of Industry sites are particularly relevant for knowledge-intensive companies, helping to reinforce a company’s position as an industry thought leader. They are the perfect platform for driving content marketing activities to generate high-quality leads and tighter stakeholder engagement.

Highlighting individual technical expertise

A core area of NIRperformance.com is “Shared Perspectives”, which Maria Laura Locatelli describes as a section “where feed industry professionals can share their knowledge, practical tips and research.”

Different industry professionals answer the same “question” regarding a specific technical or business issue, each offering his or her own individual viewpoint on the topic. Readers are also invited to suggest topics for future Shared Perspective themes.

Owned media platform

Knowledge sharing as a concept is not new, and many B2B companies have made efforts to promote their special expertise, often distributing their messages through social media channels. But relying on social media channels, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+, means relinquishing control and limiting the potential of the content. Stakeholders are encouraged to interact on these external platforms instead of the publisher’s own.

NIRperformance.com is an independent platform that allows FOSS to fully manage the content and control how and when it is published. Of course, social media channels are still valuable. They can be put to good use spreading the word and driving readers back to the owned platform where they can interact with the content in all its richness.

For the good of the industry

As well as being effective lead-generating machines, Voice of Industry sites inevitably have an altruistic purpose, too. Maria Laura Locatelli describes what FOSS aims to achieve with NIRperformance.com: “Over time, our library, Shared Perspectives and reader comments will grow and hopefully we will have a better picture of how NIR can secure a sustainable and competitive feed industry.”

In other words, a win-win scenario for the publisher and the site users.

Visit the site at NIRperformance.com.

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David Hoskin

I've helped B2B companies create and implement international marketing and communications strategies since 1999. I've been fortunate enough to work with some great companies and highly talented individuals during the years. But the game's changing fast. Although my aim is always to create pragmatic solutions that produce measurable results, there are always new challenges to overcome. I studied engineering and music and I have an Executive MBA (with Distinction) from Henley Business School, University of Reading (UK). Here on Integrated B2B, I want to share my personal opinions and perspectives on the changing face of B2B marketing. I hope you join in the conversation, too.