B2B Decision-Makers Value Research and Data in Thought Leadership Content

March 3, 2023

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Content Marketing | Cross-Media & Traditional | Industries

B2B marketers continue to place a high value on content marketing, touting its ability to generate high-quality leads and achieve a variety of goals. Thought leadership looks set to have a high degree of importance this year amid an economic downturn, according to recent research [pdf] from Edelman and LinkedIn.

The research is based on a survey of almost 3,500 management-level global business executives on LinkedIn across a range of industries and company sizes. Some 62% of C-suite executives surveyed said they were planning for fiscal year 2023 assuming there will be a period of economic downturn, while 55% of decision-makers in the sample said that if budgets are cut, products and services felt to be “nice-to-haves” rather than “must-haves” would bear the brunt of those cuts.

Even so, the vast majority said that non-critical providers could take some actions to increase their chances to win their business in this environment, largely by proving they will increase a prospect’s profit margins or minimize loses, demonstrating they can increase the likelihood of customer retention at a prospect, and by showing they can help a prospect win market share.

In demonstrating such value, thought leadership can play a strong role, as 61% of decision-makers said that an organization’s thought leadership can be more effective than traditional product-oriented marketing for this purpose. Additionally, 55% of decision-makers said that during an economic downturn, it’s more important than ever for non-critical providers to produce high-quality thought leadership if they want to win their business.

So what elements of thought leadership can make it more effective? In order to earn their purchase consideration, decision-makers expect non-critical providers to identify new opportunities or industry trends stemming from the economic downturn, give them information and insights that will make them more effective/successful in their job, and explain how the organization can help their business do well despite the economic downturn.

Certain attributes stand out as increasing the value of thought leadership to decision-makers. On a 4-point scale, about half (51%) rated the value of making though leadership quick and easy to consume and absorb as a top-1 box score. Right behind, some 49% said that it was crucial for thought leadership to reference robust research and strong supporting data. This is the latest survey to mention the importance of research and data: previously, B2B buyers have said they play close attention to content that includes research and data and that vendors can improve their content quality by using more data and research.

[Editor’s Note: MarketingCharts’ Chart Library is the perfect tool for easily finding the supporting research and data you need to enhance your thought leadership content.]

Beyond snackable content that references high-quality research and data, decision-makers also believe that thought leadership value could be increased by offering provocative ideas that challenge people’s assumptions and by offering concrete guidance on how to respond to the issues or opportunities discussed.

For more, check out the study here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 3,449 global business executives, using the LinkedIn platform to survey LinkedIn members. Respondents hailed from the US, Canada, UK, Singapore, Australia and India, and the majority (60%) work at companies with more than 200 employees.


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