B2B brands have long prized thought leadership, and as COVID-19 places a greater emphasis on digital strategy, many are doubling down on content – but is it actually driving any impact with business decision makers? And with the onslaught of COVID-19 content, are returns beginning to diminish?
To shed light on these issues, Diffusion surveyed leading decision makers (at businesses with up to 500 employees) to find out how thought leadership impacts the way they’re perceiving and engaging with vendors. The results are in our 2020 Strategic Thought Leadership Guidebook, live today.
According to the data, thought leadership is undeniably impactful
Thought leadership is swaying B2B minds when it comes to brand perceptions. For well-executed thought leadership, business decision makers said they were more likely to start conversations with the company to find out about their services, recommend them, and for nearly 1 in 4 (24%), even go into signing contracts with more confidence. More than 1 in 3 (42%) also said they were more likely to remember the company in the future, meaning just one piece of good thought leadership content can have impressive long-term impacts for potential new clients.
But, we can’t ignore the other side of the coin. Our research found that thought leadership is highly impactful, whether it’s done well or done poorly. A whopping 43% of business decision makers who consume poor thought leadership content said they were more likely to perceive the company as less capable in their field. They also reported a higher likelihood to mark that company’s emails as spam, avoid meetings with them and even disqualify them for consideration in future RFPs.
The takeaway? If you’re going to do thought leadership, do it right or not at all.
The COVID thought leadership bandwagon
The impacts of COVID-19 on every industry spurred an enormous wave of thought leadership content, with B2B leaders eager to provide guidance and predictions on how their field would readjust. Now, months into the pandemic with content still teeming on the topic, fatigue is beginning to settle in.
More than 1 in 3 business decision makers (37%) who consume thought leadership content said they believe many of the companies producing COVID-related content are simply jumping on a bandwagon. Creating thought leadership for thought leadership’s sake is never enough.
Many business decision makers said however that they want to work with companies producing smart and relevant COVID-related thought leadership content, proving there’s still space for valuable voices to enter the conversation.
Want to learn more about the opportunity B2B companies have before them by creating high quality thought leadership content? Or how many business decision makers are actually googling you before opening that email? For the full findings of Diffusion’s 2020 Strategic Thought Leadership Guidebook, click here to request your copy or email [email protected].
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 503 US senior decision makers with in small to medium sized companies (2-500 employees). Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th – 10th August 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the target population.
MediaPost: Diffusion PR 2020 Strategic Thought Leadership Guidebook
Bulldog Reporter: Diffusion PR 2020 Strategic Thought Leadership Guidebook