Carlota Pico recently sat down to talk with Lawrence Roberts, the EMEA marketing and communications manager for IT services, IT training and next generation solutions at Tech Data. Lawrence discussed his experience as a marketer for one of the biggest technology companies you’ve probably never heard of. He went on to share his expertise on creating quality thought leadership, and stressed the importance of compassion and empathy in both internal and external communications.

Watch the full conversation in our YouTube video above, and listen to our podcast and read our recap below.

Key takeaways

  • Although Tech Data has over $37 billion in revenue and serves about 100 countries, it’s relatively unknown outside the industry—and this is intentional. Its purpose is to distribute IT solutions and products from the world’s largest IT providers.
  • Thought leadership is about conveying meaning in an easily understandable way. Information about the technology industry can be highly technical, but good thought leadership makes it accessible to anyone who wants to learn about it.
  • One key to creating quality thought leadership content is identifying business challenges rather than advertising your own solutions. It’s also vital to have a passion for your industry, so that you can learn and communicate complex information in an easily digestible format.
  • When reacting to social issues as a brand, it’s important to ask yourself whether your internal and external audiences care about the topic at hand. The focus should be on creating a company culture that your employees and customers can feel proud of. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has required companies to modify their messaging. While the tech industry may have benefitted from the switch to remote work, it’s important to be empathetic and remember that many people and businesses are suffering.

We recognize that our role now is to help give our customers the solutions that they need to tackle the threats they’re facing.

Rapid-fire recs

An influencer or role model who you admire?

One of the people I’ve admired throughout my career is the former CEO of Avnet, Roy Vallee. I used to work at Avnet, and I had the opportunity to work with him on a press interview. I could tell I was in the presence of a great mind. The way he was able to articulate himself and the answers he gave to journalists were amazing. He’s inspired me to fulfill my own potential.

A publication or book you’d recommend?

Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s a great book because it teaches you the importance of the “why.” One of the things that frustrates me the most is when I come across people who are going through the motions, without thinking about why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Your favorite app at the moment?

One of the apps I’ve gotten into this year is TikTok. The style of content is like a mix of Twitter and YouTube. As a marketer, I’m fascinated by the algorithm; you can affect it by interacting with content and see it working in real time. But perhaps I shouldn’t recommend downloading it because of the security risks, so I’ll recommend the TED Talks app instead.

For more on the importance of empathy in thought leadership content:

Connect with Lawrence and Carlota on LinkedIn.

This post was edited by Rishabh Agrawal, a freelance content creator based in Madrid.

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.