Did you know that almost 60 percent of B2B customers make a buying decision BEFORE they ever contact a company to learn about products and services? How are they learning about what you can do to solve their problems if they aren’t meeting with your sales team? Becoming a thought leader and developing thought leadership content is a very important method to reach buyers as they educate themselves.
Becoming a thought leader is such an important component of a robust marketing strategy that we have seen a surge in thought leadership studies. This is because the data that comes out of thought leadership research is extremely valuable in two key ways:
- Providing a better understanding what clients need and want.
- Delivering market-validated insights aiding clients in their decision-making.
Thought leadership research gives you perspective and allows you to align your services with the client’s needs. It also reveals where your clients may not be considering the full impact of some potential decisions. When you know this, you have the opportunity to provide insights based on your experience helping clients avoid potential pitfalls or minimize challenges.
The data from thought leadership research provides the substance for any kind of content you may want to prepare. Some of the content types we see are:
- Reports and/or white papers
- Short informational videos
- Q&As with executives or subject matter experts, in print or via podcast or video
- Blog articles delving into two or three key aspects of the research results and your organization’s positioning and solutions
- Public speaking opportunities that allow your subject matter expert to leverage the data in talking points
- Social media promotion, such as Tweetpics of infographics, articles on LinkedIn, Slideshare posts, and YouTube or Vimeo posts of video
- Sales sheets and website content that use the research data to bolster positioning
- Sales presentations that include the research data
Leveraging the content coming out of thought leadership research can have a significant impact in the marketplace. With a shelf life of six months to a year, it provides ample opportunities to engage with your audience. Each time someone within your company uses the research, it validates your company’s position as a thought leader in your industry. And that has a long-lasting impact that goes far beyond the life of the research results.