What Leads to Thought Leadership? Our Latest Study Sheds New Light

You know a topic is important when numerous researchers are researching it. When many publications cite the research. And when the websites on which those studies reside are viewed extensively.

That is the case for the topic we’ve been rooted on since our founding in 1998: thought leadership marketing. In the last few years, a growing number of companies (Edelman PR, ITSMA, Forbes, and Hinge, to name several) have conducted research on it. Our company has, too -- four times this decade, including three with the Association of Management Consulting Firms (which unfortunately ceased operation three years ago).

In fact, we conducted our first study on thought leadership marketing back in 2006, long before the others. And our most recent research, conducted with Rattleback and Phronesis Partners, is now out. It brings new insights on this dynamic discipline, and from a much wider range of B2B sectors than the ones we’ve surveyed in the past. In our latest study, we examined the practices of financial services, high tech, life sciences, architecture and engineering, and law firms – in addition to the two sectors we had focused on historically (management consulting and IT services firms).

The study is available here. It is based on a survey of 312 marketing and other professionals at B2B companies in North America. You’ll learn about their strategies, content development practices, marketing tactics, presentation approaches and lead nurturing methods.

A number of findings may surprise you including these:

  • How much money B2B companies are spending on thought leadership marketing, and which sectors spend more than others
  • Why they are investing in it
  • The price premium that thought leadership can command
  • Seven capabilities that distinguish the most effective thought leadership marketers from the rest

There’s lots to learn here from firms that are ahead of the pack.


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