Why do some companies get to be known by the industry more than others? Why do they get more speaking slots at industry events? Why do they get more time in front of the key decision makers? One reason might be that these companies have an industry expert.
Definition of industry expert
Some think it is a person who knows everything about a specific subject. An expert is one who is perceived by the target audience as an expert, not necessarily the person with the most knowledge or industry expertise. Knowledge and industry experience are important factors, but being able to communicate is more significant.
So, what is an industry expert?
For one thing, while the term industry expert may appear self-explanatory at first look, the underlying meaning extends a tiny bit deeper. The primary purpose of an industrial expert is to contribute genuine value to the business life of a certain industry in some way.
This is frequently related to the industry itself, whether it’s giving novel and innovative ideas to conversations or providing tried-and-true counsel to a sector. Effective leadership and knowledge might potentially influence the course of a whole industry.
How can you establish yourself as an industry expert?
Typically, by consistently adding value in some way. One of the most prevalent methods is through technical content marketing tactics such as maintaining an industry blog and publishing relevant technical articles on a variety of themes.
Most importantly, the industry expert is one who is seen by the industry as an expert. Therefore, the expert must be seen to be effective. To be seen, the expert has to show up where the industry looks. That means industry conferences, seminars, business magazines, and websites.
The expert should be seen in industry events
The expert should speak at these conferences and be quoted and write in industry-related business magazines. Even if experts are not speaking at a conference, they must see and be seen at these events.
An industry expert is usually defined by a specific topic or industry. Your expert should reflect your target market. All efforts should be directed at increasing the awareness and the credibility of the expert within the confines of the target market. Efforts in a broader context should be seen relative to the impact that that broader context has on your target market.
Before you can be considered an expert, you must first prove that you are an expert at your work. That involves having a firm grasp on your function and the expectations placed on you, as well as owning or developing the skills essential to flourish at your job.
Why should you invest in an industry expert?
The company’s objectives should include visibility, credibility, and influence. Having an industry expert gives the company a face to the market, a real person. A company cannot speak at a conference, serve on panels, serve as a leader of industry groups, or be quoted in magazines and websites, but an expert can. Visibility on the part of the expert means visibility for the company.
An industrial expert must have the credibility to be seen as an expert, and this credibility increases the company’s credibility. A sector expert also can influence how the market thinks by using his/her extensive industry experience.
The expert can raise issues, set agendas, and direct opinions. Because as you know, everybody want to learn from industry experts. Companies must at least understand how the market thinks but have a considerable advantage in influencing how it thinks.
Effects on marketing
Industry experts support marketing. They gain public relations opportunities and media coverage. A mail piece with quotes from an expert is more effective than the ones without. Experts can also serve as a sales advantage. The expert can be a tool to open a sales campaign, to bring credibility to the solution, or to be closer.
Experts can get an audience with the right people, an audience that a salesperson or even an executive may not obtain. They can increase a solution’s credibility by putting it in terms of industry trends or business issues.
What are the needed qualifications for being an industry expert?
Perhaps the most important qualification for the role of industry expert is the desire to be an expert. Becoming or maintaining the expert position takes time and dedication. If the person does not have the desire, they cannot become an expert or fulfill the requirements of the role. Once the desire exists, additional qualifications come into play.
Being an industry expert is not just another function added to a person’s job description. The expert must be available to fulfill the role of an expert. They must be available when the press wants to talk to them. They must make the time to attend or speak at industry events. They should be available to the sales and marketing teams.
- Communications skills
Communication skills are vital to the target market. Speaking is perhaps the most important skill. Speaking at industry events means getting asked or selected, which requires being someone the audience wants to hear. In the long term, speaking ability is as important as content. Writing is important, but the expert need not be a great writer. The expert must be responsible for the content, but an editor should be responsible for presenting the content.
- Industry knowledge
Yes, industry knowledge is a must for an expert. The person should be knowledgeable about the industry and the current issues. Also should provide insight into these issues.
Investing in an industry expert
For a company to decide to create an expert, they must see the business benefits. While the return on this investment can be considerable, it is tough to quantify. Expert investment is always a long-term investment. It takes time to get the person into the position of an expert. Therefore, make sure that the person filling the role is a long-term resource.
Should the expert be an employee?
Ideally, the answer is yes. However, using an outside resource can sometimes be more cost-effective and quicker. For example, you can leverage a customer or consultant who already has some industry presence to serve your purpose.
Of course, the outside person may not be able to fulfill all the possible roles of an industry expert. For example, they may have a limited ability to be part of a sales effort.
The investment in an expert is an ongoing process. First, the person must be available for the demands of being an industrial expert. Therefore, they have less time to contribute elsewhere. Second, they must hone the tools of being an expert, working on speaking, writing, and industry knowledge.
Finally, the company must work to get them ongoing exposure in the marketplace so that the market can see them.
Should you invest in an expert? The reality is that if you do not have the right person to start with, it may not be possible unless you are willing to go out and hire someone for the role, someone who is already on their way to being an expert. If you have that person, you will find the ROI challenging to quantify. You will have to make the decision based upon belief.
The return on the industry expert investment can be very high. It can help you mold the issues in your favor. It can help make your company visible and credible. It can increase the effectiveness of both sales and marketing efforts.
But remember, experts are more often made than born. That means it does take an investment.