The Power of B2B Thought Leadership

By Don Goncalves, Sr. Vice President, Tiziani Whitmyre Inc.

In a recent study, nearly half of mid-sized business leaders said they expect an economic downturn during the second half of 2023.* Whether this happens or not, recent research underscores the importance of thought leadership to capture the attention of decision-makers during challenging economic periods.

Thought leadership, in the form of insightful and expert-driven content, is critical for organizations to break through competitor noise and connect with decision-makers. According to a LinkedIn-Edelman report, business managers expect high-quality thought leadership to play a more crucial role than traditional advertising and product marketing during an economic downturn.**

The following are some key findings of the LinkedIn-Edelman report:

  • Proving essential value: providers of non-critical products and services vulnerable to cost-cutting must demonstrate their value in helping customers succeed, even during tough times. Meeting the requirements is no longer enough. Such suppliers must showcase their ability to increase profit margins, minimize losses, and outperform competitors.
  • The power of thought leadership: B2B buyers recognize that thought leadership is a potent tool to demonstrate their value. According to the report, high-quality thought leadership has a more significant impact on purchase decision-making during economic downturns than during prosperous times. What do decision-makers expect from thought leadership? A “data-backed” perspective on solutions to help them successfully navigate the downturn. The outcome for B2B marketers? The opportunity to influence a decision maker’s choice of a business partner.
  • The gap in quality: while marketers strongly acknowledge the immense potential and value of thought leadership, many express low confidence in the quality of their own content. The opportunity and challenge is to improve how they deliver and measure its impact — including aligning it with specific business outcomes and effectiveness, including business wins.

TW’s Take

The LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report demonstrates the critical role of thought leadership in capturing decision makers’ attention, proving value, and helping win business.  

As their prospects prepare for a potential economic decline, B2B marketing leaders must prioritize developing and delivering high-quality thought leadership that differentiates organizations as trusted experts that are indispensable partners to their customers’ success.


* JPMorgan Chase’s 2023 Midyear Business Leaders Outlook

** 2022 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report