LinkedIn Collective Live hosted a discussion on Tuesday, March 14, with researchers Joe Kingsbury and Tusar Barik, who co-authored a new report exploring how businesses can adjust their approach to marketing and thought leadership in a tough economy.
- In the face of a possible recession, both researchers ensured that there are still great opportunities to thrive in an uncertain environment, even with smaller teams and budgets.
- As the study shows, 91% of decision-makers say smaller or non-critical providers can do business if they can prove to their clients that they can help buyers survive a challenging business climate.
- Many leading thought leadership minds are smaller businesses with a strong vision and ethos for their companies.
- Companies still have room for improvement, as 71% of surveyed C-suite executives thought companies were not producing impressive thought-leadership work.
- Collecting good impact metrics and building a culture of thought leadership allow businesses to create humanizing content that feels authentic, well-packaged, substantive, visionary, and timely to consumers who need practice answers to whatever issues they face.
Why It’s Important
This year marks the fifth year that LinkedIn and Edelman have partnered on a leadership impact report, and they surveyed 3,500 producers of thought leadership. As Kingsbury and Barik note, the results of their work are encouraging. They believe high-quality content can break through the challenges the economy is creating.
Their report draws upon the perspectives of survey respondents to help marketers and executives grapple with quality thought leadership in times of stress,” according to the report.
“Thought leadership refers to content and knowledge that offers expertise, guidance, and point of view with a specific topic within your field. That can be thought pieces, essays, presentations, and reports that organizations make freely available in exchange for contact information. Thought leadership is not content that describes or sells a particular product or service,” says Kingsbury.
“When I think of good executive thought leadership, I think that it is about the audience and not about your company. The audience cares about their problems, and there are three things a thought leader needs to be relevant: insight, actionable benefits that alleviate the problem, and it should be written in friendly language, not jargon,” says Virtusa CMO Brian Jochum.
Kingsbury and Barik offer several examples of companies they feel are doing well in the space of thought leadership, most notably Shell Aircraft International, Salesforce, and Deloitte, who are doing impressive work spreading their ideas through new visions and methods of communication. Shell is leading in environmental concerns, while Deloitte is creating influence through new video and podcast distribution models.
The importance and consumption of thought leadership and executives’ understanding of its importance is growing, according to Barik. Learning to package these ideas authentically and to have a substantive and easy-to-communicate vision for your products and services will allow stressed and smaller teams to break through and become more prominent users of thought leadership.
“55% of decision-makers say that during an economic downturn, it is more important than ever for suppliers who do not offer products/services that are essential to operations to produce high-quality thought leadership if they want to win our business … Breaking through in a downturn will require thought leadership that’s finely tuned to economic realities and a customer’s industry,” says the report.
The full Tuesday live stream is available to view online. It is the latest in a series of discussions hosted on B2B marketing. The next episode, on macro challenges marketers are currently facing, will be hosted on May 23.