There is no doubt that the economy has been rough in recent days, and it has affected business and marketing in a major way. However, there’s one often neglected B2B marketing strategy that helps brands stay persistently ahead of the curve — thought leadership.
What is thought leadership? It is the practice of sharing expert insights and valuable perspectives in a specific industry to build trust, influence decision-making, and establish authority.
According to a LinkedIn-Edelman Impact Report, 61% of B2B decision-makers believe thought leadership is one of the most effective tools an organization can use to demonstrate its value to customers during a tough economy, and even more so than traditional advertising or product marketing.
Being seen and acting as a thought leader plays a pivotal role in lead generation in times of uncertainty and with the latest marketing trends. Learn more below about the power of thought leadership and the latest B2B marketing strategies to generate leads.
The Thought Leadership Advantage
While it might sound like it at first glance, thought leadership is not a mere buzzword. Instead, it is an entire strategy that can transform your B2B lead generation game. By positioning yourself or your company as a thought leader in your industry, you establish trust and credibility among your target audience. In turn, this paves the way for more meaningful conversations and conversions.
In tech sectors especially, such as cybersecurity, IT, SaaS, AI, Cloud industries, thought leadership can be a game-changer.
It’s not about pushing products; it’s about sharing valuable insights, ideas, and expertise through content. As Seth Godin once said, “Content marketing is the only marketing left.”
The Intersection of Thought Leadership and Lead Generation
According to the DemandGenReport, research and survey reports are the most valued content formats among B2B decision-makers.
In other words, when you provide your target audience with insightful and relevant content, such as peer-generated data, you build a trust-based relationship with your audience. As trust grows, so does the likelihood of leads engaging with your brand.
To underscore the impact, consider this: According to the LinkedIn-Edelman Impact Report, during economic downturns, high-quality thought leadership becomes 50% more valuable to top executives in their purchasing decisions.
To that end, thought leadership is all about nurturing relationships which then pave the way for conversions.
Incorporating Thought Leadership into Your Strategy
But how can you incorporate thought leadership into your strategy? There are many ways. If you are a marketer, sales leader, or SME leader, these are some of the ways you can harness the power of thought leadership:
- Conduct original research: Dive deep into your niche through market research, offering insights that aren’t readily available elsewhere. Whether you choose to produce research in-house, work with a market research vendor, or commission a research study, producing original research under your brand’s name and agenda establishes your authority and keeps your audience coming back for more. It’s all about adding value.
- Collaborating with other industry thought leaders to expand your reach: Thought leadership is often a collaborative effort. Partnering with other experts in your field can amplify your message and introduce you to new audiences. You can also co-create content or cross-promote offerings.
- Hosting webinars and virtual events that showcase your expertise: Webinars and virtual events provide a platform for in-depth discussions and knowledge sharing. These events allow you to interact directly with your audience and address their specific queries or even invite experts. This way, you can brand yourself as a valuable thought leadership source.
- Actively participating in online communities related to your field: Communities are hubs of knowledge exchange. By actively engaging in relevant online forums, you not only learn from others but also position yourself as a valuable contributor to the community.
Remember, thought leadership and content marketing are inseparable allies in B2B marketing. Once you’ve begun to establish your thought leadership, it’s crucial to continually optimize your content. This could mean sharing valuable data-backed insights in multiple formats, including blog posts and whitepapers, revisiting and updating older articles, or repackaging long-form content into more digestible formats like short blogs or infographics.
Resource allocation is scrutinized more closely than ever, with 53% of marketers saying they are focused on repurposed content this year, making it the top trend according to a recent B2B marketing trends report by ViB. A comprehensive content-optimization plan not only ensures that your message stays fresh and relevant, but it maximizes ROI.
Leading With Value With Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is the fuel that powers your B2B lead generation engine. By aligning with the latest trends and delivering valuable insights, you can position yourself or your brand as a trusted authority in the high-tech sector.
As you embark on this journey, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is not just to generate leads but to build lasting relationships with your audience. And remember, thought leadership is not about self-promotion but about providing genuine value to your audience.