How the insights from the latest Edelman Study help you stay ahead of your competitors

How the insights from the latest Edelman Study help you stay ahead of your competitors

By Ready For Social | Mar 11, 2024

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Staying ahead of the curve is essential for success in today’s competitive business landscape. With 95% of business clients not actively seeking goods or services at any given time and nearly 90% of global buyers experiencing extended purchase processes, B2B marketers grapple with the lingering effects of economic uncertainty. 

Additionally, buyers now prefer a self-directed journey of digital discovery, underscoring the need for marketers to prompt buyers to rethink their challenges to stimulate demand effectively.

The latest Edelman Study offers invaluable insights into the evolving dynamics of B2B marketing, providing a roadmap for businesses to outperform their competitors. We analyzed the report for you and summed up the most critical findings of the comprehensive study to help you better understand buyer behavior, uncover new opportunities, and refine your strategies to maintain a competitive edge in the market. 

Today, you will learn 

  • the key takeaways of the Edelman Study
  • how you can position yourself as a thought leader
  • what it takes to stay ahead of your competitors in a digital world

What is the Edelman Study?

The Edelman Study refers to an annual collaboration between Edelman and LinkedIn, focusing on examining the impact of thought leadership on B2B buying behaviors among decision-makers and C-suite executives. This study provides valuable insights into how thought leadership influences purchasing decisions, shapes brand perceptions, and drives business outcomes in the B2B sector. Conducted annually, the Edelman Study offers a comprehensive analysis of current trends, challenges, and opportunities facing businesses in today’s competitive marketplace.

Take a look at the key findings of the latest, sixth annual collaboration between Edelman and LinkedIn, which surveyed nearly 3,500 management-level professionals in December 2023.

The key takeaways from the 2023 Edelman Study

From stimulating demand with thought leadership to fortifying customer relationships and quantifying ROI, the insights from the Edelman Study can serve as a guiding light for businesses striving for excellence in an ever-evolving marketplace. 

1. The power of thought leadership

The study reveals that thought leadership goes beyond creating brand awareness. It is pivotal in prompting business leaders to reassess their challenges and driving demand for products and services. Notably, 52% of decision-makers and 54% of C-level executives spend an hour or more per week reading thought leadership content. Moreover, 73% of decision-makers trust thought leadership content more than marketing materials for assessing a company’s capabilities, and 75% say it has led them to research previously unconsidered products or services.

2. Influencing sales and pricing

Effective thought leadership significantly influences sales and pricing dynamics, with 9 out of 10 decision-makers expressing receptiveness to companies that consistently produce high-quality thought leadership. These numbers underscore the importance of leveraging thought leadership to differentiate offerings, enhance brand perception, and even command premium pricing for expertise.

3. Defending existing customer base

Proactively engaging customers with thought leadership content is crucial for protecting against competitors seeking to poach customers. The study found that 70% of C-suite leaders have reconsidered their existing supplier relationships after consuming thought leadership content, highlighting its critical role in customer retention.

4. Challenges and opportunities

Despite its clear impact on driving business results, thought leadership remains under-resourced, misused, and inadequately measured in many organizations. Only 1 in 5 B2B companies report having a process in place for effectively measuring thought leadership ROI. However, firms that can quantify the ROI of thought leadership efforts are much better positioned to secure resources and amplify their impact.

5. Key attributes of effective thought leadership

The study identifies three key attributes of compelling thought leadership: strong research and data, insights that help buyers understand their business challenges, and actionable guidance. Incorporating these attributes into thought leadership content elevates its impact and distinguishes it in a crowded marketplace.

The role of competitors for effective thought leadership

The latest Edelman study made us think even more about competitors. While many insights, like the transformative potential of thought leadership in modern B2B marketing, were not new, the shift of focusing on your competitors’ approach certainly was. The saying “offense is your best defense” rings particularly true in the increasingly competitive digital marketplace, especially in the context of protecting existing customer relationships. 

While thought leadership is often associated with acquiring new clients, its role in nurturing and safeguarding current partnerships should not be overlooked. Edelman underscores the importance of this defensive strategy, revealing that failing to engage customers with innovative perspectives can leave them susceptible to competitors’ advances. 

As mentioned, a staggering 70% of surveyed C-suite executives admitted that a piece of thought leadership had prompted them to question their allegiance to current suppliers. Among those influenced, 25% ultimately terminated or significantly reduced their relationship with their existing provider. These impressive numbers underscore the significant impact thought leadership can have on customer retention and highlights the imperative for businesses to continuously provide thought-provoking content to reassure and retain their client base. 

How to stay ahead of your competitors

But how do you ensure you stay ahead of the game and do not get passed by your competitors? Ensuring your own thought leadership stays ahead of your competitors requires a proactive and strategic approach. We have some critical steps for you to consider:

  1. Continuous research and analysis: Stay informed about industry trends, market dynamics, and emerging technologies. Regularly analyze competitor content to identify gaps and opportunities for differentiation.
  2. Focus on originality: Produce original, insightful content that offers unique perspectives and solutions to common challenges. Avoid simply rehashing existing ideas or blindly following industry trends.
  3. Quality over quantity: When creating thought leadership content, prioritize quality over quantity. Focus on delivering valuable insights and actionable advice that resonates with your target audience.
  4. Engage with your audience: Foster meaningful interactions through social media, webinars, podcasts, and other channels. Encourage feedback and discussion to gain insights into their interests and preferences.
  5. Collaborate with industry experts: Collaborate with industry experts, influencers, and partners to leverage their expertise and credibility. Co-create content or host joint events to amplify your thought leadership efforts.
  6. Measure and iterate: Continuously measure the impact of your thought leadership initiatives using metrics such as engagement, reach, and lead generation. Use these insights to refine your content strategy and stay agile in response to evolving market dynamics.
  7. Invest in learning and development: Invest in ongoing learning and development opportunities for yourself and your team to stay updated on industry best practices and emerging trends. Attend conferences, workshops, and training sessions to expand your knowledge and expertise.

By adopting these strategies, you can position yourself as a leading authority in your industry and stay ahead of your competitors’ thought leadership efforts.

New boost for your thought leadership efforts

Did the insights from the latest Edelman report give you a new boost for your future thought leadership efforts? We certainly hope so! Let us know if you need additional information or help getting set up to stay ahead of the curb.