When your customers are senior managers of other businesses, your marketing strategy must be laser focused on their professional values and how they like to do things.
B2B marketers are aware that competing for a leading position requires showcasing a deep understanding of your industry and engaging in challenging discussions with your peers.
Marketers call this “demonstrating value.”
If you aren’t sharing value, you’re wasting your time.
What Is Thought Leadership?
First, let’s be clear about what it is and what it isn’t.
Thought leadership is a type of content you create to answer your readers’ biggest, most important questions, in a way that demonstrates authenticity, expertise, an orientation towards the future, and innovation.
It's a form of content marketing that can challenge minds like no other.
What it is not is spamming social platforms with mediocre or retread content.
When you do it right, thought leadership can help you establish your brand as an authority in your niche by showing your audience how things are done, and why your process is best.
By writing about pointed topics and showing a consistent, confident voice when discussing them, you can increase the prestige of your brand -- and convert B2B leads into sales.
How Is Thought Leadership Perceived by Decision Makers?
In this 2020 global Edelman-LinkedIn study
, decision-makers in over 3,000 companies that produce or engage with thought leadership content were asked to take part in a survey.
The study measured the impact this type of content has on the perception and decisions of managers, directors, partners, and other important executives.
The most interesting and important conclusions reached by the study were:
● 89% of decision-makers consider thought leadership to be effective in enhancing their perception of an organization. This means your peers see it as valuable.
● 49% of decision makes say thought leadership influences their purchasing decisions.
In the recent Thinkers360 2020 B2B Thought Leadership Outlook Study
, they found that the most important attributes of world-class thought leadership cited by thought leadership content consumers were for it to be insightful, forward-looking, relevant and impactful:
● It’s all about Insight - The key is insightful (96%), forward-looking (91%) content that’s timely, relevant, impactful and engaging*
● * Rated as extremely important or very important attributes of thought leadership
These impressive statistics support why thought leadership content is in demand, that it works, and it generates real business outcomes.
But only when it distinguishes the voice of a brand and adds to its quality.
Therefore, using thought leadership effectively for your B2B business means it must be high quality, thoroughly researched, provide value to your audience, and be enticing.
How to Use Thought Leadership to Your Advantage?
As a B2B marketer or business owner, becoming a thought leader should be considered as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Doing this involves research and social listening because you must be clear about who your audience is and what they want. Your content must speak to these people and address their needs.
My advice is to get started now because decision makers are looking for help, especially during this pandemic we are all experiencing.
Now it is up to you.
By Tom Augenthaler
Keywords: Leadership, Marketing, Sales