One More Sign Thought Leadership Marketing is Going Mainstream

We continually look for signs that thought leadership marketing is gaining adherents outside of professional services.  The most recent nugget we’ve seen is one from Borrell Associates, a decade-old company you probably haven’t heard of unless you’re in the newspaper business. (They are a research firm that tracks local advertising spending, especially online.)


Here it is: $16 billion will be spent on email marketing in 2011 (up 9% from this year), especially emails that come with white papers attached or linked.  “White paper marketing is a major contributor to its popularity – especially among B2B advertisers,” says a Borrell press release issued in August. (My favorite factoid about white paper marketing was buried in the release.) 


Another fact caught my attention: $5.6 billion will be spent on streaming video, which would be a whopping 60% higher than the money U.S. marketers spend this year on online videos. I imagine some of these videos are educational, not pure entertainment. Why are advertisers crazy about online videos? Borrell says it's cheap and many advertisers are rolling their own today.


Of course, not all or perhaps even most video is educationally oriented content of the thought leadership type. (I wouldn’t categorize Lady Gaga videos that way unless you wanted to call it sex education.) So perhaps we can’t add the entire $5.6 billion to online thought leadership marketing spending.


I'd be interested to know what types of national advertisers are spending heavily on email-based white papers. But I truly doubt they’re all professional firms. But I guess you have to buy the report to know. Maybe later.


Submitted by Praveen B Malla on

Dear Bob, I really love the way you and Tim write. I head the thought leadership publishing program at Infosys Limited, India. Amongst the many TL products that we produce, our flagship product "Infosys Labs Briefings" (formerly SETLabs Briefings) has done us proud by influencing deals, helping us differentiate ourselves in an increasingly commoditized IT service market and winning a couple of global awards for our initiative. Keep writing your good stuff. Each of your blogs is a treat to read. Regards, Praveen B Malla

Submitted by Bob Buday on

Hello Praveen --

Many thanks for the kind remarks. And it's great to hear another example of how thought leadership can help differentiate a professional services firm in an increasingly commoditized market. Congratulations!

By the way, what other topics would you like to see us cover in future blogs and in articles in our Thoughts on Thought Leadership newsletter? 



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