One of the most important and powerful documents I read last year came out in September and it’s been within arm’s reach ever since.

I’ve read it over and over and it is modern Sales, Marketing and Business Development Gold…

If you are in a leadership role, in Sales, Marketing, Business Development or any role that requires engaging with a customer base to won work....please read below 👇

‘The 2021 Thought Leadership Impact Study’ from Edelman and LinkedIn.

thought leadership on social media

The study opens with:

“This study is the fourth annual collaboration between Edelman and LinkedIn examining how thought leadership influences perception and buying behaviors among B2B decision-makers. Our previous research confirmed the full-funnel, business-generating impact of strong thought leadership — and the tangible risks of publishing low-quality content.”

“We’ve gathered insights from nearly 3,600 management-level professionals who consume thought leadership to help marketers, communicators and salespeople better understand when to use thought leadership and what attributes B2B audiences want to see from companies.”

 The study lists the key learnings:

thought leadership with social selling

Let’s take a look at these in more detail, I’ll ask you at this point to layer over your own organisation when reading these…

1.      A pandemic-induced glut of low-quality content is diluting the perceived value of thought leadership among B2B decision-makers.

What is low quality content? Content that looks like everything else and blends in. Bland, corporate ‘brochureware’, “here’s my thing, buy my thing”. Content that allows people to ‘scroll on by’…

2.      Thought leadership remains critical to customer engagement but breaking through the noise is harder than ever.

But how do you break through the noise? You start with a strategy; a strategy designed to hit the correct notes and bring those influential people closer to your business and then you train your people.

3.      Earning trust and credibility with decision-makers requires strong thought leadership – especially if you are not an established market leader.

The clues are here…strong thought leadership cuts through the noise and puts a sector spotlight on you...

4.      High-performing thought leadership strikes a balance between being authoritative and provocative yet human in tone and even fun.

If content is key to this, where is yours on this balance...?

5.      With increased competition for attention and rapidly shifting buyer preferences, now is a good time to re-evaluate whether your thought leadership strategy is meeting your customers' needs.

Putting leadership team focus on the organisations online content strategy…. haven’t times have changed?

But, what it thought leadership content?

The study describes it as this…

“Thought leadership material refers to content — for example, thought pieces, essays, videos, webinars, live presentations, PowerPoint slides, and research reports — that organizations make available to the public for free (or in return for registering or giving them your contact information). In this context, “thought leadership” does not include content that is primarily focused on describing an organization’s products or services or thought leadership that you pay to receive — such as client deliverables, subscription services, or reports that must be purchased.”

So now we know what it is, why should we be interested…

earning trust on social media

Buyers see your strong thought leadership content as more important than your marketing materials and product sheets in earning trust and credibility.


So, now we know what thought leadership is and we know that out buyers need strong thought leadership from you and your team to cut through the low-quality content coming from your sector.

The jigsaw puzzle pieces are falling into place.

But what is the relevance to our markets and our growth…?

buyers changing with social media

Let’s take a moment to layer over your organisation as we look at these in more detail…

👉Gartner: “83% of a typical B2B purchasing decision — researching solutions, ranking options and benchmarking pricing — happens before a buyer engages directly with a provider.”

Creating strong through leadership that cuts through the sector noise allows us to influence buying decisions, before anyone from purchasing has ever reached out to your people.  Already in the qualifying race without ever having directly communicated with the customer…

👉McKinsey: “Most B2B purchase interactions have moved remote or digital, including identifying new suppliers, evaluating new suppliers, ordering, and reordering. 70-80% of B2B decision-makers prefer it that way.”

Buyers are identifying suppliers based on thought leadership content, are you included or discounted?

👉McKinsey: “70% of B2B decision makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27% would spend more than $500,000.”

Self-serve and remote transaction on the rise. The question is are you leading your sector race or are you at the back…were you even invited to the start line...?

So, we now understand that strong thought leadership is key to sector dominance, we know what it is, what it does and why we should be working this way.

What’s sort of outcome we should expect…?

social selling

No need to break this down….it speaks for itself. Please look again at the information above and remember this is driven by strong Social Media though leadership content.

Business changing outcomes all derived from strong though leadership content which cuts through the low-quality content being produced by your competition.

You may be reading this and thinking that this is purely in the domain and gift of large, tech savvy organisations with floors of specialist digital marketing teams…think again…

being a market challenger

Take a moment to question if this would be useful to your company 👇:

“60% of buyers say thought leadership builds credibility when entering a new category where the brand is not already known.”

“57% of buyers say that thought leadership builds awareness for a new or little-known brand.”

“53% of buyers say it's important for new and small companies to produce thought leadership if they want buyers to consider working with them.”

This is about you and your organisation.

And the final word…

“47% of buyers say thought leadership led them to discover and ultimately purchase from a company that was not considered to be among the leaders in a particular category (i.e., a challenger brand)”.

So, there we have it, clear and concise business changing information.

The study ends with a rally call…

“If your thought leadership is on autopilot, it’s time to take a closer look. In today’s digital-first B2B environment, thought-leadership content is more important than ever, but also harder to do well. Design your content plan to achieve specific strategic business objectives like changing brand perceptions, earning trust, filling in media blind spots, and recruiting talent.

To break through the noise, be approachable and fun as well as informative and educational. Doing so can help you win the precious attention of decision-makers in key buyer moments – especially the critical early innings where vetting and consideration occur.”

To get ahead in our sectors we need strong thought leadership content which cuts through the brochureware in your sector and allows buyers to ‘buy in’ ahead of meeting you. 

The rewards are clear, and these numbers are only going to rise.

In 2022 it’s important to give your team all the skills and support they need to lead you to market dominance.   To give them the framework and culture requirement create sector leading thought leadership-based content, prospect, network and create influence online.

This isn’t the future, it’s now and we are here to help you.

Live Social ‘22

Eric Doyle

Consult CruxDLA Ignite