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How Thought Leadership Impacts Demand Generation

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What makes thought leadership valuable and how does that translate into measurable business impact? New research from LinkedIn and Edelman provide definitive answers for B2B marketers.

Many of us intuitively know that thought leadership is valuable, but how valuable is it, and at what stages of the buying journey does it deliver impactful results?

Kelly Kyer, Global Director, Technology Vertical Marketing at LinkedIn and Phil Gomes, SVP of U.S. B2B Digital at Edelman explore these questions, and:

-- Dive into key findings from our latest research surveying 1,300 business decision-makers and C-suite executives on how thought leadership influences their own purchase behavior.
-- Present compelling data that justifies the value of thought leadership, especially when marketers today underestimate its value to the bottom line.
-- Propose how to take action and craft compelling content that keeps clients and prospects aware of industry trends.

Published in: Marketing

How Thought Leadership Impacts Demand Generation

  1. 1. How Thought Leadership Impacts Demand Generation Jeff Weiner Chief Executive Officer Phil Gomes Sr. VP of U.S. B2B Digital, Edelman Kelly Kyer Global Director, Technology Vertical Marketing LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
  2. 2. Housekeeping
  3. 3. How Thought Leadership Impacts Demand Generation Jeff Weiner Chief Executive Officer Phil Gomes Sr. VP of U.S. B2B Digital, Edelman Kelly Kyer Global Director, Technology Vertical Marketing LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
  4. 4. Today’s agenda 04 The True Value of Thought Leadership 06 About the Study 10 Key Findings 17 What Makes for great Thought Leadership 21 Examples of Thought Leadership 23 Recommendations for B2B Marketers 24 Q&A EDELMAN + LINKEDIN
  5. 5. The True Value of Thought Leadership The business value of thought leadership is often assumed but rarely measured So what role does thought leadership play in the complete buying process? More Questions For B2B companies, complex sales cycles and multiple deal influencers complicate attribution. Complexities Beyond driving awareness, the ROI of thought leadership has long been hard to evaluate. Uncertain ROI
  6. 6. About the Study
  7. 7. What is Thought Leadership? About the Study “Free deliverables that organizations or individuals produce on a topic that they know a lot about, and they feel others can benefit from having their perspective on. Thought leadership, in this context, does not include content primarily focused on describing an organization’s products or services.”
  8. 8. What is Thought Leadership? About the Study Formats of thought leadership include, but are not limited to: • Research reports • Thought pieces • Essays • Videos • Webinars • Presentations (live or published online) • Similar such items that organizations make freely available (or in return for submitting contact information)
  9. 9. Understanding the Attribution Gap How Thought Leadership Works Across the Purchase Funnel AWARENESS CONSIDERATION PREFERENCE PURCHASE We Surveyed: • 1,300 business decision makers This included: • 680+ producers of thought leadership • 180+ CXOs
  10. 10. Key Findings
  11. 11. Thought Leadership Opens The Conversation Decision makers take commercial action after reading thought leadership Creators of thought leadership believe: 33 % It generates incoming calls from potential clients 42% It helps with lead generation What Decision Makers actually do after engaging with thought leadership: Gave the organization your contact information Reached out to the organization to follow up 44% 55% Business decision makers C-Suite executives 31% 42% Business decision makers C-Suite executives
  12. 12. Generates RFP Opportunities Opportunities for which your firm was not previously considered Creators of thought leadership believe: 17% “Thought leadership gets us more RFPs” Decision makers said: 37% 41% Business decision makers C-Suite executives “After seeing its thought leadership: invited the organization to propose on a project”
  13. 13. Increase Respect and Admiration The trust necessary to feel comfortable buying from your firm Creators of thought leadership believe: “It enhances our brand reputation” What Decision Makers think after engaging with thought leadership: 88% 89% Business decision makers C-Suite executives “My respect and admiration for the organization increased” 59% Much higher trust-building effectiveness than creators realize
  14. 14. Builds Decision Maker Trust De-risks the sales cycle Creators of thought leadership believe: 49% “It (thought leadership) builds trust in our organization among potential clients” Decision makers said: 82% 81% Business decision makers C-Suite executives “It (thought leadership) increased my trust in the organization”
  15. 15. Helps Close Business Thought leadership is key to a win—more than most realize Creators of thought leadership believe: 20% “It helps us close and win” Decision makers said: 45% 48% Business decision makers C-Suite executives “Directly led you to decide to give business to a company”
  16. 16. Commands Premium Prices Driving not just more revenue, but more profitability Creators of thought leadership believe: 10% “It allows us to charge more than our competitors who produce lower quality thought leadership” Decision makers said: 49% 47% Business decision makers C-Suite executives “I am more willing to pay a premium to work with an organization that has publicly articulated a clear vision for the future”
  17. 17. What Makes for Great Thought Leadership
  18. 18. What Makes Prospects Engage with Thought Leadership? Some surprises in terms of what prospects value Business decision makers (total sample) C-Suite executives 70 48 86 67 68 84 Comes from a source that I have opted into Forwarded by my boss Forwarded by someone I know and respect Sources 36 50 63 34 53 63 Ideas are completely new and original It is short and easily absorbed Topic is something I am currently working on Content Timeliness and relevance more important than pure originality
  19. 19. Thought Leaders Need to Deliver Facts, Insights and Substance… Quickly. Business decision makers (total sample) C-Suite executives 49 % 50% 67 % 45 % 53 % 71 % 78% 79 % 66% 63 % 63 % 64% Facts and Insight Lengt h Short-form 3-4 page documents Short-form 3-4 minute videos Snackable media that can be digested in 1 -2 minutes Identification of new trends or issues that I should know about The analysis of the causes and drivers underlying important current events and issues The data (e.g., charts, infographics, key facts or figures) Percent who rate each factor as important in getting them to engage with thought leadership (top 3 shown)
  20. 20. Thought Leadership can also be a Double-Edged Sword Nearly 1 In 2 BDMs Are Disappointed With The Quality 44% 51% Percentage of the time I gain valuable insight from thought leadership Percentage of survey respondents who are disappointed by this
  21. 21. Highly Engaged Thought Leadership on LinkedIn
  22. 22. Key Takeaways
  23. 23. Align thought leadership with demand generation efforts Convene all relevant parties to explore where the two workstreams might intersect. Recommendations for B2B Marketers Educate rather than sell No one wants to be sold to, but (almost) everyone wants to learn more. Know your customer Explore where the customer “pain points” are by function to help make thought leadership more relevant and strategic. Be timely and brief Understand not only what you customer needs to see, but when and in what form. Harness the power of employees Thought leadership should not only be about what the customer needs to see, but what your employees will be inspired to share. Close the attribution gap Align with sales KPIs and plan your analytics and measurement approach early to help judge content performance and effectiveness.
  24. 24. Q&A
  25. 25. Thank you

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