October 11, 2022

Smart companies use Thought Leadership in their B2B strategy


In last week’s blog I tried to demystify Thought Leadership and what it is. I touched on how some companies are including Thought Leadership as part of their business to business (B2B) strategy. So, today I thought I would go a bit deeper into why smart companies use Thought Leadership.

2021 Edelman and LinkedIn Joint Study

The 2021 Edelman and LinkedIn joint study surveyed 3600 professionals who consume Thought Leadership and it revealed some interesting insights. Notably that the global pandemic produced a ‘glut of low-quality content’ which is ‘diluting the perceived value of Thought Leadership among B2B decision-makers’.

While the report stated that ‘Thought Leadership remains critical to customer engagement’ it also noted that the increase in this content made ‘breaking through the noise harder than ever’. While these two findings are a problem, they also create an opportunity for companies that take Thought Leadership seriously.

One aspect the report revealed is that earning trust and credibility with decision makers is critical when it comes to increasing market share. So, how is this achieved?

The findings indicated that it takes ‘strong Thought Leadership — especially if you are not an established market leader.’ In fact, the research showed that 47% of buyers said they became aware of new companies they had not previously considered because of their Thought Leadership. Ultimately, they purchased from these companies because they embraced Thought Leadership. This is perhaps the biggest reason that smart companies are including Thought Leadership in their B2B strategy.

Four Critical Success Factors

When it comes to implementing Thought Leadership within your company, I believe there are four critical success factors.

  1. Understand your market

If you don’t understand your market’s problems, then you will not be selling them anything. 63% of respondents in the survey said that ‘Thought Leadership provides proof that an organisation genuinely understands or can solve your specific business challenges’.

  1. Skill the relevant people

Deep thinking is a skill that we often don’t get taught. Whoever is selected will need to develop their thinking and ideas, so their content is relevant, thorough and engaging. It should aim to educate and open your customers minds to new possibilities. It’s important to note that this is about skilling people, not outsourcing Thought Leadership to a third party.

  1. Provide ongoing support for Thought Leaders.

When implementing Thought Leadership, many of my clients provide additional support around communications. This includes media training, presentation delivery or finding opportunities for them to share their Thought Leadership such as podcasts, conferences and industry publications.

  1. Empower your Thought Leaders

Have a broader social media strategy that supports Thought Leaders but also empowers them to bring their unique voice and style to their content and the way they deliver it. No one wants to read boring, overly scripted content marketing. 87% of those surveyed said that ‘Thought Leadership content can be both intellectually rigorous and fun to consume’. They also noted that the best performing Thought Leadership ‘strikes a balance between being authoritative, provocative yet human in tone and even fun.’

In Summary

Increasingly more and more B2B purchasing decisions including researching, benchmarking prices and identifying potential suppliers happens before a buyer even engages with the provider.

Combine that with an increase in competition and the ongoing battle for attention, it is well worth considering how you can skill your people to publish high level, engaging and unique Thought Leadership pieces. This type of content will provide insights into your market and position you as an authority and trusted advisor.

If this is of interest to you then contact us to set up time to discuss your needs for 2023 or check out our public workshop on 12th and 13th December, 2022.