Rainmaker spotlight: A new kind of content marketing

Carsten Schmidt - Henry Managing Fellow

Carsten Schmidt - Henry Managing FellowAs the global economy continues to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, it is clear a new normal in technology procurement had emerged. One that requires more pertinent content to persuade buyers. Henry Corporation was founded in in October 2009 to address this need. On the fifth anniversary of Henry, we reflect with Carsten Schmidt, Managing Fellow, on how the network of subject matter experts have grown.

Content marketing is not new. Why did you feel there was a need for analyst insights?
Five years ago a number of opposing trends were influencing information flow and decision processes. Technology vendors were strugling to separate the design of their products and solutions from the competition and to communicate those technological differences. At the same time the information overflow, driven by the fast rise of social media, was becoming an important factor in marketing communication. That meant that marketing and sales and other client facing personnel  were expected to adopt a whole new set of skills that are very different from the usual function-and-feature communication in the former, demand-driven market.

Your clients span the entire technology spectrum. Who in the company do you typically engage with?
Bringing thought leadership into IT-vendor organisations is exciting because we touch corporate marketing, field marketing, sales, and HR. You can say that our Thought Leadership programme is the Swiss army knife of modern marketing and sales communication.

Research, activate, event is your three-pronged approach. What is the synergy between these?
Henry offers ICT marketers research, advice and tactical assistance in executing go-to-market plans. Our concrete approach spans the marketing value chain from the analysis of the vendor’s current situation and the surrounding competitve market to the execution of specific campaigns in the agreed roadmap. Our network of analysts and marketing specialists span many subject areas and competencies related to IT business analysis, marketing strategy and communication.

Your Event Score service is popular with technology vendors. What’s different about how you compute ROI?
We’ve conducted numerous ROI analysis over the years and often we were faced with the pleasant delusion that we achieved the exact result that we wanted based on our input to the equation. Our event score analysis is based on 6 short and neutral questions regarding event ”touch points” to event delegates. These questions probe for delegates’ experience,  and view on expected future business with event sponsors. Together with the analysis we offer sponsors a spread sheet where they can calculate their direct ROI based on the value they themselves set for each delegates ”touch point” during an event.

You have recently launched a Thought Leadership program. What does this service achieve?
For the past three years, we have provided coaching on a consulting basis to clients who needed to improve the effectiveness of their spokespeople. As technology becomes more pervasive, the span of people to influence within buyer organisations has become wider. Thought leaders are necessary to influence potential buyers, and ignite discussion in the marketplace on the problems that could be solved. As we worked with our most recent engagement, we felt the market is now ready for an even more structured programme.

How does it work?
In brief, the Henry Thought Leadership programme offers a 3-4 months training course to be completed parallel to candidates maintaining their existing job. It requires candidates to set aside about 5 hours per week. During the course of a programme, candidates get to practise multiple aspects of what it takes to become an opinion maker and strong spokesperson for their company. Upon graduation the candidates receive a diploma and they are invited to our European Alumni network.

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