7 Surprising Stats About the Underappreciated Power of Thought Leadership

December 16, 2018

Power of Thought Leadership

Editor's Note: A previous version of this post first appeared on LinkedIn.

B2B marketers and sales professionals work continually to enhance brand awareness, shift perception and, ultimately, drive sales. However, gaining success can be difficult.

For the second year, LinkedIn and Edelman have partnered to explore how thought leadership can be leveraged by B2B businesses to accelerate growth and sustain long-lasting customer relationships. A foundational tool for both marketers and sales professionals, our research demonstrates that brands continue to underutilize thought leadership, despite the impact thought leadership has on driving demand, shaping perception, and closing deals.  

With over 1,200 responses from North America and Europe from decision makers, marketers, and sales professionals, we were surprised to uncover the widening gap between buyers and creators when grading the perceived value of thought leadership. The bottom line: Buyers often value thought leadership much more than the creators of it.

Here are seven key findings of the Edelman-LinkedIn research:

  • Decision makers are reading more thought leadership. This year’s survey found that 58% of respondents read one or more hours of thought leadership per week. That’s eight percentage points higher than last year’s survey.
  • More than half of respondents (55%) said they use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire.
  • Thought leadership can create access to high-value decision makers. Almost half (47%) of C-suite executives said they have shared their contact information after reading thought leadership. Ironically, only 39% of sellers said they believe thought leadership helps with lead generation.
  • Thought leadership content can generate RFPs. Almost half of decision makers (45%) said they invited a producer of thought leadership content to bid on a project when they had not previously considered the organization.
  • Thought leadership can lead directly to sales. Almost 60% of business decision makers said that thought leadership directly led to their awarding of business to an organization. Just 26% of sellers believe that thought leadership can lead directly to closed-won deals.
  • Thought leadership can create pricing power. More than 60% of C-suite executives said they were more willing to pay a premium to companies that create thought leadership with a clear vision. Of course, only 14% of sellers believe their thought leadership content create pricing power.
  • Thought leadership can also drive growth with existing customers. More than half (55%) of business decision makers said they had increased the business they due with an organization based on their thought leadership. Similarly, 60% of decision makers said thought leadership convinced them to buy a product or service they were not previously considering.

As LinkedIn works to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, we truly believe that quality thought leadership provides long-term value to professionals, enabling them to learn and develop along with building business and brand community.  

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