How to develop a B2B Thought Leadership Strategy

Edelman and LinkedIn have released their sixth annual B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report to help B2B marketers with the many challenges they are facing in 2024

By creative salon

Edelman and LinkedIn have released their sixth annual 'B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report' examining how thought leadership influences buying behaviours among B2B decision-makers and C-suite executives.

This year's report, set against the many challenges B2B marketers are facing in 2024, taps the collective perspective of nearly 3,500 management-level professionals across seven geographic markets and reveals how high-quality thought leadership prompts buyers to rethink their challenges, stimulates business demand and serves as a proactive defense against competitors.

“Economic challenges and longer sales cycles are hitting many B2B companies hard. To grow, B2B marketers must engage buyers who aren't actively shopping yet,” said Joe Kingsbury, Global Chair of Edelman Business Marketing. "Our research shows that prompting these buyers to see their challenges and opportunities in a new light is the key to kickstarting their purchasing process.”

In today’s environment, where economic uncertainties lengthen sales cycles and digital discovery dominates, businesses face unprecedented hurdles in reaching and engaging out-of-market buyers. The report's findings provide actionable insights on how organisations can revitalise their approach to thought leadership, delivering content that resonates with decision-makers and drives demand for essential offerings.

“Success in B2B marketing is reaching the right people, with the right message, at the right time,” said Tusar Barik, LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Marketing. “Thought leadership can be a powerful tool for brands to build awareness over long sales cycles and engage with audiences on topics that matter. It’s an opportunity for B2B brands to differentiate themselves while establishing credibility and creating a lasting impression.”

Notable takeaways from the research include:

  • Thought leadership that spurs business leaders to rethink their challenges is a powerful tool for stimulating demand for your business’s products and services. Nearly 3/4 of B2B decision-makers (73 per cent) say that an organisation’s thought-leadership content is a more trustworthy basis for assessing its capabilities and competencies than its marketing materials and product sheets.

  • Effective thought leadership exerts a surprisingly strong influence on sales and pricing. 90 per cent of B2B decision-makers and C-suite executives say they are moderately or very likely to be more receptive to sales or marketing outreach from a company that consistently produces high-quality thought leadership.

  • Offense is your best defense: Protecting your existing customers is critical. 70 per cent of C-suite leaders say that a piece of thought leadership had at least occasionally led them to question whether they should continue working with an existing supplier.

  • Despite the clear power of thought leadership to drive business results, most organizations say it is under-resourced, misused, and not measured appropriately. 30 per cent of producers of thought leadership say their organization does not really know how to use thought leadership

    as a sales or marketing tool.

  • Effective thought leadership has three key attributes: it cites strong research and data, helps buyers understand their business challenges, and offers concrete guidance. 30 per cent of respondents say the overall quality of thought leadership they read is of mediocre quality. Only 13 per cent say the quality is very good or excellent.

Click here to learn more and download the full report.


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