QA: Kim Hower, Nutanix Director, Public Sector Marketing on the Value of Thought Leadership Research

Kim Hower

Kim Hower, Director, Public Sector Marketing, Nutanix

Technology companies selling to the public sector understand there are many differences between this market and the private sector. Savvy organizations commission primary thought leadership research to help them better understand their target audience by drilling down into the unique challenges and barriers they face, the goals they are trying to achieve, and how they define success. Armed with this information, they can better support their public sector customers with the right solutions and communicate to them more effectively.

Over the last two years, Nutanix has commissioned two thought leadership research projects for this purpose. Kim Hower, Nutanix Director, Public Sector Marketing sat down with us to discuss the value of thought leadership research.

Market Connections: You have now done two of these thought leadership studies. Why is this kind of research important to you and to Nutanix?

Kim: In order to be more effective in our go-to-market planning, we need to dig deeper and understand what our target audience is experiencing, so we can be more effective in helping them. Nothing compares to well-prepared and executed primary research. Independent, blind studies remove the biases or inhibitions that can sometimes present themselves in face-to-face conversations.

Primary research can validate our perspective and/or enable us to course-correct if needed. It also helps us communicate more empathetically in our marketing, because we understand our prospects’ experience better.

MC: For either of the projects, did you get any surprising insights?

Kim: Yes and no. In both studies, the data affirmed our existing position and vision. This was especially useful with the cloud study that we just completed; it feels like we are in the right place at the right time with the right message. And now we have some really great impact data to support all of the things that we have been saying with respect to our vision for enterprise cloud. That’s a really nice enhancement to our messaging. Both studies also revealed some surprises that the Market Connections team gleaned through their analysis of the data. They went deeper than just reporting the respondents’ answers to our questions – they cross-tabulated the data to find interesting facts that helped give us deeper intelligence on our market, and definitely gave us a better story to tell.

MC: How are you leveraging the study results?

Kim: First, we expect each study to have a one-year shelf life, which gives us ample opportunity to leverage the results in multiple ways – thought leadership, demand generation, press engagement, and more. We created landing pages and put the results reports there for download. These created a great single hub for our calls to action for everyone interested to download the full report. We’ve also been doing some dedicated social media postings on all of our social channels – Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. We have terrific infographics that we use not only in the white paper, but independently to put on our company website to help enhance the content.

We also use the data in presentations. That is particularly useful for our sales team because it gives them strong, data-supported talking points that help them dive deeper during their conversations.

MC: What kind of return have you seen or expect to see?

Kim: The studies are essential to validate and refine our go-to-market messaging, to inform our sales materials and other collaterals, to use as a tool to generate raw leads or nurture existing ones, and to provide a thought leadership platform for our spokespeople. To-date, these investments have been the only primary research we have that is focused exclusively on the Federal market, and so they’re invaluable to us. We will definitely repeat this work in the future.

Thank you, Kim, for taking the time to share your experience with our audience.

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