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2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study

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The 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study helps to better understand the shifts in perception of thought leadership as well as its impact throughout the customer journey.

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2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study

  1. 1. Powered by 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study HOW THOUGHT LEADERSHIP DRIVES DEMAND GENERATION
  2. 2. Powered by Table of Contents 03 06 15 19 27 About the Study More Impact Than Marketers Realize Opportunity and Risk The Thought Leadership Flywheel Contact Information Powered by2
  3. 3. Powered by Thought Leadership Earns Attention. But Does It Drive Demand? Thought leadership has more influence on sales than marketers realize – and it’s growing. Most B2B marketers miss the opportunity to capitalize on the full-funnel potential of thought leadership. Done right, thought leadership has tangible business impact. Done poorly, it creates risk. Powered by Key findings from the 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study include: 3
  4. 4. Powered by Free deliverables that organizations or individuals produce on a topic in their area of expertise, when they feel others can benefit from their perspective. About the Study Example formats include: • Research Reports • Videos • Thought Pieces • Essays • Webinars • Presentations Thought leadership, in this context, does not include content primarily focused on describing an organization’s products or services. For the purpose of this study, thought leadership refers to: Powered by4
  5. 5. Powered by About the Study Company Size (Employees) 1-200 43% 201-1000 13% 1001-10,000 15% 10,001+ 20% Seniority Level Manager 23% Director 26% Vice President 11% CXO, Partner, Owner 14% Vetting Role Give input 32% Manage the process 17% Final decision maker 28% Additional Segment Works in high-tech industry 17% Data collection Online, using the LinkedIn platform to survey LinkedIn members Fielding dates November 2018 Survey length 10-15 Minutes Margin of Error Total Sample +/- 2.3% To help B2B companies understand the impact of thought leadership, Edelman and LinkedIn surveyed 1,201 U.S. business decision makers and purchase influencers across a wide range of industries and company sizes. Powered by5
  6. 6. Powered by Thought Leadership: MORE IMPACT THAN MARKETERS REALIZE Powered by6
  7. 7. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Screening Q1. On average, how much time per week do you spend reading and viewing thought leadership? Select one response. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Consumption of Thought Leadership Is Growing There was an 8-point increase in the amount of weekly reading by decision makers over last year. 58% 50% point YoY increase 37% +8 38% 21% 12% 2018 2017 Percent of decision makers who spend an hour or more reading thought leadership 1-3 Hours 4+ Hours Decision makers are deeply engaged 4 hrs+ The most significant increase was among those who spend 4 hours or more per week reading thought leadership. 7
  8. 8. Powered by Decision Makers Use Thought Leadership to Evaluate Potential Vendors and Partners Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q11. How much do you agree or disagree with these statements? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree or disagree, agree and strongly agree. Total Agree among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. 55%use thought leadership as an important way to vet organizations they’re considering working with 69% 63%agree it is one of the best ways to get a sense of the caliber of thinking an organization can deliver agree it is particularly important to build the reputation of new and small businesses 8
  9. 9. Powered by 47%of C-suite executives shared their contact information after reading thought leadership Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q12. How much do you agree or disagree with these statements? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often and almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US C-Suite consuming thought leadership. Thought Leadership Creates Access to High-Value Decision Makers Sellers are not recognizing the full potential 39% said that they believe thought leadership “helps with lead generation and getting new contacts that we can call on.” 9
  10. 10. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q13. How frequently has the following occurred after you have engaged with a piece of thought leadership? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Q18. In your opinion, when it comes to business development activities, where do you think your organization’s thought leadership is the most effective? Select all that apply. US sellers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. Thought Leadership Generates RFP Opportunities invited the organization to bid on a project when not previously considering them 45% Sellers are not recognizing the full potential 17% said they believe thought leadership is effective in generating more RFPs. 10
  11. 11. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q13. How frequently has the following occurred after you have engaged with a piece of thought leadership? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Q17. Within your organization, is thought leadership effective in generating new business opportunities? Select all that apply. US sellers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. Thought leadership directly led decision makers to award business to an organization Thought Leadership Wins Business Opportunities Business decision makers 58% Sellers are not recognizing the full potential 26% said they believe thought leadership is directly responsible for helping them close business. 11
  12. 12. Powered by Sellers are not recognizing the full potential 14% said they believe their thought leadership allows them to charge more than their competitors who produce lower quality pieces or none at all. Thought Leadership Helps Command Premium Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q11. How much do you agree or disagree with these statements? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree or disagree, agree and strongly agree. Total agree among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Q18. In your opinion, when it comes to business development activities, where do you think your organization’s thought leadership is the most effective? Select all that apply. US sellers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. C-Suite executives 61% High-value decision makers are more willing to pay a premium to work with an organization that has articulated a clear vision versus one that does not publish thought leadership. 12
  13. 13. Powered by Thought Leadership Drives Growth With Existing Customers Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q13. How frequently has the following occurred after you have engaged with a piece of thought leadership? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Decision makers increased the amount of business done with an organization Decision makers bought a new product/service they were not previously considering 55% 60% 13
  14. 14. Powered by The Opportunity Gap: Producers and Sellers Undervalue Sales Impact Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q11. How much do you agree or disagree with these statements? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree or disagree, agree and strongly agree. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Q13. How frequently has the following occurred after you have engaged with a piece of thought leadership? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Q16. Within your organization, is thought leadership effective as a marketing tool? Select all that apply. US sellers and producers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. Q17. Within your organization, is thought leadership effective in generating new business opportunities? Select all that apply. US sellers (mangers+) leveraging thought leadership. Decision maker actions attributed to thought leadership versus seller and producer perceptions Awareness Consideration Purchase Pricing Cross-Sell Increased perception of brand capabilities Generated RFP invitations Led to awarding business Led to commanding a premium Led to purchase of new product or service Decision Makers Sellers Producers 89% 45% 58% 59% 58%59% 17% 26% 29% 14% 51% 14% 21% 27% 13% 14
  15. 15. Powered by Thought Leadership: OPPORTUNITY AND RISK Powered by15
  16. 16. Powered by Producers of thought leadership agree 25% rated the thought leadership they encountered as Very Good or Excellent. Quality Thought Leadership Pieces Are Scarce Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q7. What would you say is the overall quality of most of the thought leadership you read? Please select one response. US decision-makers leveraging thought leadership. Q14. What would you say is the overall quality of most of the thought leadership your organization produces? Select one response. US sellers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. Only 18% of pieces get high marks from decision makers 18% 53% 30% Excellent or Very Good Good Mediocre to Very Poor 16
  17. 17. Powered by 87% 49% Thought leadership increases trust in an organization Thought leadership enhances a brand’s reputation Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q13. How frequently has the following occurred after you have engaged with a piece of thought leadership? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US decision-makers and suppliers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. Q17. Within your organization, is thought leadership effective in generating new business opportunities? Select all that apply. US sellers (mangers+) leveraging thought leadership Brands Underestimate Impact on Trust and Reputation 89% 55% Business Decision Makers Suppliers of Thought Leadership 17
  18. 18. Powered by Thought Leadership Is a Double-Edged Sword Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q12. How much do you agree or disagree with these statements? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often and almost every time. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Q13. How frequently has the following occurred after you have engaged with a piece of thought leadership? Please select one response for each statement. Columns: never, rarely, sometimes, often, almost every time. Net of sometimes, often and almost every time among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Done poorly, it can harm business 92% said thought leadership has increased their respect for an organization 46% said thought leadership has decreased their respect for an organization 75% will start following a writer or organization based on their thought leadership 60% will stop following a writer or organization after reading their thought leadership pieces 58% decided to give business to a company based on their thought leadership 29% decided not to award a piece of business to a company based on their thought leadership Actions taken by decision makers after reading thought leadership: 18
  19. 19. Powered by The Thought Leadership Flywheel: TURNING THOUGHT LEADERSHIP INTO MARKET LEADERSHIP Powered by19
  20. 20. Powered by The Thought Leadership Flywheel Turn Thought Leadership into Market Leadership for Your B2B Brand Thought leadership has more influence on sales than marketers realize – and it’s growing. Done right, thought leadership has tangible business impact. Done poorly, it creates risk. Edelman developed the Thought Leadership Flywheel to help B2B Marketers capitalize on the full-funnel potential of thought leadership, while building brand and business momentum. WHITE SPACE TRUST RELEVANCE VISIONBREVITY ATTRIBUTION 20
  21. 21. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q8. What percentage of the time do you gain insights from the thought leadership you are exposed to that helps you do your job better or move your business forward? Please select one response. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Capitalize on White Space 60% The majority of decision makers say half or more of the thought leadership they encounter does not provide valuable insights Audiences want brands to inspire creativity and foster innovation Analyze the market. Find opportunities where your brand can own and lead timely conversations. WHITE SPACE 21
  22. 22. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q5. Now thinking about the content itself, what are the two (2) most important things in getting you to engage with a piece of thought leadership? Please select up to two below. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Be Relevant 66% The majority of decision makers said the topic being related to what they are currently working on is one of the most critical factor in getting them to engage. Put customers first. Stay close to customer needs through listening programs; use data to inform insights on relevant topics and trends. Thought leadership only engages when it is mapped to customer needs RELEVANCE 22
  23. 23. Powered by Set a Vision 88% Almost 9 in 10 decision makers believe it is important for companies to lay out a clear vision for the future. Define the future. Inspire confidence by capturing the imagination of what’s possible today…and tomorrow. Decision makers want to know where their industry is going Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q6: How important do you think it is that organizations produce thought leadership which lays out a vision or point-of-view on important topics? Columns: Waste of time, Not very important, important, very important, mission critical. Top 3 Box Important. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. VISION 23
  24. 24. Powered by A large majority of decision makers said that thought leadership being shared by someone they know and respect is a critical factor in getting them to engage 82% Build Trust Establish credibility. Harness the power of executives, subject matter experts and employees to validate your brand. Being a trusted source is key to driving thought leadership engagement Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q4. How important are each of the following in getting you to engage with a piece of thought leadership? Rate each attribute on a 5-point scale where 1 is not at all important and 5 is critically important. Top Two Box Important among US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. TRUST 24
  25. 25. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q2. What are your preferred formats for thought leadership? Select all that apply. US decision-makers consuming thought leadership. Over half of decision makers said their preferred format for thought leadership is “snackable” media that can be digested in a few minutes Be Concise 57% Think smart but small. Create bite-sized content that can be quickly consumed and easily shared on mobile devices. Short formats are overwhelmingly preferred by busy professionals BREVITY 25
  26. 26. Powered by Source: 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. Q19. How do you measure or determine the effectiveness of your thought leadership? Select all that apply. US sellers (managers+) leveraging thought leadership. Only a small fraction of sellers have a way to link business wins back to specific pieces of thought leadership Measure Progress 21% Architect for impact. Align goals across teams, data and technology to measure success and drive outcomes. Thought leadership cannot be appropriately valued without attribution ATTRIBUTION 26
  27. 27. Subscribe: b2b.edelman.com/b2b-thought-leadership-signup CONTACT US: Joe Kingsbury U.S. Managing Director, B2B Edelman joe.kingsbury@edelman.com David Bersoff, Ph.D. Head of Global Thought Leadership Research Edelman Intelligence david.bersoff@edelmanintelligence.com Powered by27 Turn thought leadership into market leadership. Stay informed on the latest strategies, insights and trends driving thought leadership content creation and B2B marketing impact.

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