According to recent research by Edelman, over 88% of B2B decision-maker's perception of a brand is influenced by the thought leadership a brand demonstrates and it accounts for an estimated 48% of their purchasing decisions as well.
Building trust in today’s competitive marketplace requires brands to showcase thought leadership effectively. This not only strengthens brand awareness and visibility among your target audience but boosts credibility as well.
Studies show that 48% of decision-makers did business with a vendor or purchased a new product/service they didn’t previously consider after consuming thought leadership content from a particular company. However, only 11% believe the content they received truly demonstrated thought leadership. This clearly shows the abundance of poor quality content, inadequate investing, and an underestimation of how impactful thought leadership can be when implemented internally. In addition to having a solid strategy, you need to be leveraging the right platforms to promote your content effectively. Hear my podcast on how to become a thought leader to understand why it's more important than ever before to invest in thought leadership marketing.
When done correctly, thought leadership marketing can help brands increase a customer’s lifetime value. Though many organizations believe they pursue thought leadership, a vast majority of B2B organizations take the wrong approach, which ends up not giving them the desired ROI in their investments. In my book, “The Thought Leader Way”- I define a clear blueprint on how one can become a thought leader. Three aspects that organizations need to focus upon include:
While Thought leadership is about showcasing your expertise, you need to showcase that to address your customer’s pain point. What you consider an important topic might not resonate with your intended audience. Conduct thorough research with your internal subject matter experts, customers, prospects, and other influencers to understand the key set of challenges to focus upon. Effective thought leadership requires crafting points of view that address these specific and relevant needs. This ensures your brand will become the go-to reference for your customers to consume content.
Have a Content Marketing Plan
The key to showcasing thought leadership is to have a content strategy that is all about quality and not just quantity. Successful thought leaders are the ones who have a unique point of view and share that with their target audience. The goal is to provide insights that add value to your prospect to take action. Thoughtlessly sharing content just for the sake of doing it will fail to produce engagement. Build a content marketing plan with the help of experts that covers various aspects such as content topics, schedule, formats, channels, etc. The key point to keep in mind is, what do you want people to think when they hear or read your name?
Show Authenticity & Build Trust
Thought leadership is not sales. This is where many B2B businesses go wrong. They look at thought leadership as a short-term lead generation tool. Thought leadership is about establishing your brand as a trusted authority figure in your area of expertise and this requires sustained investment over a long period. Thought leadership is established where you differentiate yourself from the competition by providing knowledge and market insight – NOT by sharing offers and discounts or new launches.
When done right, thought leadership marketing can yield long-term rewards for both your business and your audience. By sharing their unique point of view, thought leaders can help their organizations engage prospects at a strategic level. Partnering with a thought leadership agency will help empower the voice and credibility of your business – all while accelerating growth opportunities.
Karthik is the Co-Founder of Pink Ladder and Founder & Director of ThoughtStarters. He has over a decade of experience in branding, communication strategy, executive communication & thought leadership marketing, human resource and operations management. He has been instrumental in creating many award winning programs for leading brands like MeritTrac-India's largest Skills Assessment Company, Wipro Technologies and Accenture. He has worked closely with leading universities, industry bodies, analysts and research firms globally and acted as a catalyst in providing best practices and insights to customers across sectors. He has authored papers & articles in international journals & has been a guest speaker at many Ivy League Universities globally. He is a serial entrepreneur, always on the look out for the next big idea! Karthik has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University and an MBA in Marketing & Finance from IIPM Bangalore.