Why Thought Leadership Rules the B2B World
Top B2B marketers understand two key objectives 1) Building new business and 2) Becoming a thought leader. 56% of B2B marketing executives stated “positioning our company as a thought leader” as their top objective in a recent Economics Intelligence Unit study. In addition, a third of respondents felt thought leadership would be the best way for providers to market services in next 3-5 years.
But why is thought leadership dominating the B2B marketing world? In a world of generating leads and CRM, does the answer to successful B2B marketing lie within the broader control of your company in addition to the collaboration of your marketing and sales forces? Here are some things to consider.
- You are no longer the hunter, you are now being hunted –The web has enabled top executives to gather their own information via references, social networks and search engines, as opposed to tapping the shoulder of the corporate librarian. A Forbes and Google survey shows 64% of senior executives are clicking “search” more than six times a day seeking business information. It wasn’t so long ago when B2B marketers were doing the hunting. But now, thanks to the web, they are instead being hunted. This puts huge importance on being a thought leader. Compelling, thought leadership information that resonates with a niche will increase your digital marketing KPIs ahead of competitors.
- The thought leadership & social media marriage – B2B social media marketing builds brands. It creates momentum for awareness, loyalty and equity while strengthening lead generation efforts. Members of social networks (followers, fans, etc.) are always on the prowl for good, credible information. With 69% of B2B buyers using social networks, the opportunity to share relevant content is evident. B2B buyers and marketers are turning to social media to gather their resources, and while there, looking for industry thought leaders to share information. It’s a transitive property: If social media is dominating B2B marketing, then thought leadership is dominating B2B marketing.
- Customers want to know “how” – Prior to the widespread adoption of social media, public company information mainly consisted of the “what” a company did, and not “how” the company did it. Today, however, customers want to attach a personality to a company and, more importantly, they want to know how companies differ. Thought leadership enables customers to separate companies into the who’s who of the industry. They’re better able to understand a company’s personality and ultimately understand how processes and strategies work.
Thought leadership is continuing to gain momentum and is expected to be a huge driving force of B2B marketing strategies. Understanding thought leadership is the first step in the process. The next step consists of understanding how to effectively and successfully become the thought leader of your industry.