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Thought leadership content ‘significantly’ impacts B2B buying

More than half of B2B buyers use thought leadership content to vet the capabilities of potential vendors and understand the calibre of their thinking and services, according to research.

The 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study surveyed 1200 US business decision-makers, content creators and salespeople to understand thought leadership and its impact on the customer journey.

The research shows nearly 60% of respondents said strong thought leadership directly led them to award business to a company. Conversely, 29% have decided not to award business to a particular company because of poor thought leadership content.

Content consumption on the rise

Despite its ability to attract and grow business, most B2B marketers and sellers struggle to measure the impact of thought leadership, according to the report. However, thought leadership consumption among senior decision-makers is on the rise, with 58% spending an hour or more a week consuming this type of content, an increase of 8% from 2017.

Despite this, the majority (60%) said they gain valuable insights from it only half the time or less, a missed opportunity for B2B companies.

Joe Kingsbury, US managing director, B2B at Edelman, said: “Thought leadership continues to be a double-edged sword for B2B companies. Buyers increasingly rely on thought leadership to vet prospective vendors and partners, especially as the customer journey becomes more digital and ‘self-service.’ But done poorly, it can jeopardise customer relationships before they even begin.”

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