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What Is B2B Thought Leadership and 5 Key Reasons Why You Need It

One of the biggest challenges facing marketers today is content saturation.

With everyone hopping onto the content marketing bandwagon, it’s difficult for your content to stand out. The sheer amount of information online has left buyers confused and sceptical about the content they consume. That makes it difficult to reach and appeal to decision makers.

Even so, effective content is still beneficial for those who get it right.

This means you need to rethink your content production and distribution. Focus on a strategy that goes beyond ordinary content marketing. And, instead, deploy one that differentiates you from competitors, wins mind share, and influences purchase decisions.

Thought leadership.

Continue reading to learn all about thought leadership and 5 reasons why you need it in your B2B marketing strategy. Let’s dive in!

What Is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership is a marketing strategy that focuses on branding your organization as the experts of your industry. Think of being credible influencers in your field, trusted leaders who consistently provide valuable and unique insights to your community. 

You don’t just call yourself a thought leader; you earn the title from people’s acknowledgement. And you do this by creating expert industry content.

Forget about hard selling your products. Instead, share unique insights into the challenges facing the industry and the best solution strategies. 

Developing original thought leadership content like industry reports, white papers, and videos may take more work. But it’s proven to be more effective at establishing brand perception and impacting sales. And it’s all the more important to B2B marketers. 

Why Thought Leadership Is Crucial to B2B Marketers 

There’s enough evidence to show why thought leadership is a valuable marketing strategy to businesses. So now let’s look into why thought leadership especially works for B2B marketing.

Differentiates You from Competitors

Thought leadership is the key to differentiating your brand in crowded B2B markets. If your brand is not the established category leader, then thought leadership is the next best option for winning mind share.

With thought leadership, you get to differentiate your offerings and value proposition from the competition by educating customers, delivering good ideas and providing a unique perspective. This means you make your organization memorable, not just through your products but through the value you bring to your audience. 

According to Forbes Insights, quality over quantity is important when it comes to cutting through the clutter. So, for instance, publish a well-written blog post that offers a fresh industry perspective instead of creating multiple blog posts about what everyone else is already doing.

Builds Trust Based on Expert Advice

You can also stand out by winning your client’s trust. How do you do this? By meeting them where they are. Industry professionals looking for answers to their problems need an authoritative voice that understands their needs and pains.

Thought leadership content is a great way to reflect that. By sharing educational content, you get to showcase your expertise and connect with them on a professional level. This automatically increases your buyer’s confidence in doing business with you.

The effects are apparent, with 88% of decision makers saying that thought leadership content positively impacts their trust towards an organization. So prioritize your buyers before yourselves in order to win their trust. 

Creates Problem Awareness

Thought leadership content is also effective in making buyers aware of problems they’ve never thought of before. This is crucial in B2B when you are launching a product into an established market.

Our clients are often high-tech B2B businesses that have developed novel solutions to costly industry problems. To be successful, they must convince buyers to leave the safety of the status quo to try an entirely new solution. This is a risky proposition for B2B buyers. Before they’re willing to accept this risk or commit budget to a solution, they need to be confident that the promised benefits will far outweigh the costs. This is where thought leadership comes in.

Guides B2B Buyers Throughout Their Buying Journey

Gartner’s research shows that one of the biggest challenges in today’s B2B markets is overcoming the complex buying process. Even when you’ve garnered attention and trust in the market, it can be difficult to convert leads to sales. 

B2B buying journey from start to purchase decision, according to Gartner.
A model showing the non-linear B2B buying journey, from start to purchase decision (source).

It’s important to provide unique insights and content throughout the buying process to keep buyers engaged and moving down the funnel. This can come in the form of thought leadership content. They can be industry reports identifying the latest trends and challenges, white papers detailing recommended solution strategies, and case studies or webinars showing how other customers have found success, among other valuable content.  

This is particularly effective at the bottom of the funnel, as it convinces buyers that they’re entering a “high-value, low-regret” agreement.

Ensures Customer Loyalty

Thought leadership is a great strategy as it can even help your company after you’ve secured that deal. This is especially beneficial as customer retention is crucial in B2B marketing. Maintaining current clients is more cost effective than obtaining new ones, and customer relationships may comprise long-term subscriptions.

This is where thought leadership shines. It not only attracts prospecting customers, but encourages customers to stay. Through the consistent stream of educational content, customers will come to not only love your products, but love your company and the knowledge you give them. 

In its report, The Economist Group found that 67% of executives would be willing to advocate for a brand or organisation externally after consuming compelling thought leadership content. While other factors such as effective customer service and product quality may affect customer loyalty, this statistic proves that thought leadership is also an important factor.

Taking the Next Steps 

In a world that is becoming increasingly knowledge-driven, positioning your brand as a thought leader can propel your business to greater heights. At Brighttail, we help B2B companies to ignite brand engagement and customer demand through our carefully designed thought leadership campaigns. 

Get in touch with us to find out more.