In this digital age, the ways in which B2B companies can reach prospective clients can at times appear endless. While this creates many exciting opportunities for engagement, it also leads to an online world of stiff competition. So much so it can be bewildering for buyers to determine the best providers of the products and services they need, and a huge hurdle for companies working to differentiate themselves. One of the ways companies can boost themselves above the fray is by crafting carefully-planned and well-researched B2B thought leadership.
What is B2B Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is a content marketing strategy that allows your company to use its experience and expertise to become a resource in your industry. A thought leadership campaign might come in the form of white papers, LinkedIn articles, or infographics. When you establish yourself as a thought leader, you solidify your credibility and positively impact brand perception. It can help you win, retain, and grow your customer base as well as increase sales.
Thought leadership has become such a dominant force in the online information world that even Forbes highlighted its impact and importance for sales success. B2B companies that aren’t currently paying attention to thought leadership should take notice of the ways some of their competitors are using it to grow their bottom line.
According to the 2020 Edelman Thought Leadership Impact Study, thought leadership is an essential strategy to catch the attention of potential clients. Over half of the key decision makers surveyed spend at least an hour a week consuming thought leadership. This makes thought leadership a highly effective way to get on the radars of -- and ultimately engage with -- the people who make decisions for the businesses you want to attract.
Once you’ve caught decision makers’ attention with your infographic or eBook, your goal is to improve the reader’s perception of your company, product, or service without coming across as overly sales-focused. Effective thought leadership increases decision makers’ respect for and trust in an organization as well as their perception of the organization’s capabilities. Avoiding content that’s overtly sales-oriented is essential; businesses tend to place more value in a company’s thought leadership in terms of judging its capabilities than they do its marketing materials.
Tip the Scales
Nearly half of the decision makers surveyed by Edelman said that thought leadership helps influence their purchasing decisions. This type of content may spur a business to ask for a bid or make the final decision to award a deal to a company they’d been considering. It may also be the impetus for a buyer to increase the amount of business they transact with another company or to purchase products or services they hadn’t previously considered.
Keep Customers Engaged
Depending on your industry, you may engage with the same customers on a regular basis or their need for your offerings may ebb and flow or come in cycles. As such, it’s essential to keep your business at the forefront of their minds even if they’re not currently ready to make another purchase. Thought leadership can offer valuable insights to management and decision makers and ensure that your company is the one they reach out to when they’re ready to again purchase the products or services you offer.
Other Thought Leaders
In addition to reaching customers, your content will also be found and consumed by others who are producing thought leadership. This is highly valuable for improving your reputation in your industry.
Once you understand the importance of making thought leadership an essential part of your digital content strategy, how do you go about kicking off your campaign? Read this follow-up post featuring the steps to take to become a thought leader.
If you’re interested in developing a plan for becoming a B2B thought leader, we can help. Contact us today to learn more!