What is a Marketing Thought Partner?
Ever notice how concepts cycle? They cycle as an idea evolves. In the 1980’s it was database marketing, the 1990’s saw customer relationship marketing (CRM) thrive, and now in the 2000’s it’s inbound content marketing.
The notion of a Marketing Thought Partner is really no different. Over the years the term consultant has cycled too, morphing and shifting to include expert, guru, thought partner and many others. Regardless of where you fall, these are all terms to express a person with superior knowledge in one area who can help people or organizations evolve.
The notion of a thought partner was first introduced to me in a 2012 Forbes Article “A Fascinating New Concept: How Thought Partners Add Value to Your Business”:
The difference between let’s say a consultant and a thought partner is that the latter truly sees the relationship as a partnership. Their main goal is to help modify or stretch your thinking and help you innovate around some aspect of your business through their breadth of experiences, teaching you and your team how to ‘fish’; to be an active participant in new action, rather than a passive observer. Put simply, they are there to help you ‘WIN’.
There is no doubt that thought partners add value to your business. However, in today’s complex, ever changing digital landscape, I would argue that bringing in a Marketing Thought Partner should be table stakes for a B2B business to truly understand their customers, stay relevant and compete to win. True innovation comes from thinking about a problem or solution in a new, unique way, and this is where a Marketing Thought Partner thrives.