David vs Goliath Marketing Strategies – Part 1: Using Thought Leadership To Build Credibility

(note: this will be the first in a five part marketing series from Will Alverson)

Introduction 

How to market your business is an extensively covered topic, but despite how much information is out there, putting it into practice often feels like spinning your wheels in the sand. This is especially true when you are competing with much larger competitors with massive marketing budgets. Whether you are an insurtech, a local or regional brokerage, or an insurer working on carving out your own niche, it can feel impossible to market your business when facing down the behemoths of the industry. 

The good news is that you don’t need a full marketing department or prime time commercials featuring star NFL quarterbacks to compete. While running marketing for Highwing, we wanted a marketing strategy that would allow us to compete in the market with multi billion dollar players. This post is the first of a five part series outlining the blueprint we used to do just that. 

Positioning Yourself as a Thought Leader 

Creating thought leadership; educational content around your business, industry, and customers is incredibly powerful in building both a brand personally and for your business. If there is anything the creator economy has taught us, it’s that content creation has a low barrier to entry and can build remarkably valuable audiences. 

As a smaller shop, you have the advantage over your competitors of being more agile and authentic, which can be leveraged to build more engaged, dedicated audiences. Customers relate less to content and advertisements that are redlined and approved by corporate legal teams; a hurdle to authenticity you do not have. Being more authentic and less polished can highlight your brand in ways unique to you, helping build a more engaged audience. This can be done without spending much on marketing at all. 

Choosing your medium 

For the insurance industry, the most common mediums used for thought leadership are video, podcasts, and written content. To choose the right medium for you and your business, think about who your ideal audience is and where they are most likely to engage. While video and podcast content is highly engaging and very shareable, the lift of production is substantial, and the costs associated with it are more substantial than the costs of writing a newsletter. 

While we produced written content, videos and podcasts at Highwing, I found written content to be my favorite. It’s great for driving website traffic, can be easily distributed through Linkedin or via your email list, and with low production costs, you can be extremely consistent with your output. For those interested in producing more written content, consider publishing through a blog on your website, directly via Linkedin, or through a newsletter management service like Substack. 

Aside from where your audience is most likely to engage, the other important consideration is finding a sustainable cadence. Of course it would be nice to constantly put tons of content out, but consistency over time is the name of the game. Decide how much time you can realistically allocate to creating thought leadership and stick to it. Slow and steady wins the race. 

Creating great content 

To create effective thought leadership, the first task is to define your business’ unique narrative. What distinguishes your business within the insurance industry? Are there stories of success from your team, clients, or partners that resonate with the message of your brand? These stories are the bedrock of your content, anchoring the expertise that defines your voice in the market. 

You should also consider the questions and needs of your prospective clients and partners. By aligning your content with the things that are top of mind for your audience, you position your company not just as a source of information, but as a trusted advisor in a field of many voices. Think about what topic areas you can speak to in a unique way and why that would matter to your audience. Sharing insights that bring value to your audience will bring value to you in return. 

Lastly, the channels through which your insights flow are as critical as the content itself. Social media platforms offer easy access to your network and beyond. Emails can carry your words directly into personal inboxes. Your website can stand as a home base for your knowledge. 

With thought leadership being created, the next step is to focus on distribution and consistency. The following posts in this series will cover distribution in more depth, that is – building your audience, retaining it, and reaching new people.

About William Alverson

Will Alverson is an independent marketing consultant focused on the insurtech & financial services sectors and a contributing author for EmailGrowthHacks.com. He previously served as the Director of Marketing for Highwing, a former division of IMA Financial Group.

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