Engaging B2B buyers and building brand equity

If you’re considering trying your hand at thought leadership, or you’re not getting the results you hoped for, I’m a great believer in thinking through what you want to achieve and what’s the best way to achieve it.

So, what can you expect from thought leadership? What are the wins you can realistically anticipate if you do it right?

Get front of mind with non-buying buyers

We all know the 95:5 rule – at any given time, 95% of buyers are not looking to buy and only 5% are actively in the market. But also at any given time, some of that 95% are going to become part of the 5%. And when they do, you want to be the brand they look to. Thought leadership that lands with out-of-market buyers – content that’s relevant and resonant – can put you on the shopping list when it’s time to spend.

9 in 10
decision-makers and C-suite executives say they are moderately or very likely to be more receptive to sales or marketing outreach from a company that consistently produces high-quality thought leadership*

of decision-makers also say they would be moderately or very likely to invite them to participate in the RFP process*

Build brand reputation, create opportunities and charge a premium

Thought leadership that is pertinent, genuinely insightful and practically helpful builds your brand’s reputation as an authority worth paying attention to. You gain trust and respect. And that can open the door to new sales opportunities and premium pricing.

Among decision-makers who say that thought leadership had led them to research a product or service they hadn’t been considering:


Attract B2B attention and change perceptions

If you’re not getting noticed as much as you want, thought leadership that is surprising, provocative or disruptive can put you on more B2B buyers’ radar. Not only can you raise your profile and create a more positive perception of your brand, but you can also challenge your target audience’s assumptions – shifting the way they think about their own approaches and positioning your brand as an innovator who can help them move forward.

Differentiate your brand, demonstrate your vision and protect your market share

Thought leadership is also a powerful tool for distinguishing your brand from the competition. If you have an original point of view about your market or your buyers’ challenges, you can gain stand out as a forward-thinking brand with a distinctive vision. This can be particularly valuable if competition is fierce and your rivals are using thought leadership too.

Make your marketing budget go further

Being smart with your thought leadership content can save you cost and time. Re-purposing your content across different media and formats gives you more opportunities to reach your target audience without having to generate new content from scratch.

How will your B2B audience react

Knowing what you can achieve with high-quality thought leadership is one thing. But if you’re building a business case for investing in this approach, you also need some idea of how receptive your audience is likely to be, and how they might react.

of decision-makers


of C-level executives

spend an hour or more on average per week reading thought-leadership content*


Read our blog ‘Why the time is right for B2B thought leadership content

How to approach your thought leadership content creation

While your thought leadership content should always be as original and individual to your brand as possible, how you go about creating that content should follow best-practice.

Here’s a top-line summary of how we at CBC approach thought leadership content creation for our clients:

  • Start with a clear strategy:

Why are you choosing thought leadership? What are your marketing objectives?

Who are you trying to reach?

What do you want to say? What will attract, engage and resonate with your target audience?

How are you going to reach your audience? Where can you find them?

  • Match your strategy with your commercial objectives

You may well have more than one commercial objective – from raising brand profile to protecting market share – so you need to prioritise them and then adapt your strategy accordingly.

  • Be specific about your targeting

To get the reaction you want, you need to speak to the individual triggers of your audience. The C-suite will likely have a say in which suppliers a company uses, but they are unlikely to be the actual buyers. What you’re aiming to achieve should determine who you want to reach.

To see how CBC helped a leading global B2B business engage high-level decision-makers, read our case study here.

  • Always prize quality over quantity

Are you actually being thoughtful? Are you demonstrating leadership? Are you delivering practical business value?


of decision-makers say the quality of thought leadership that they read is very good or excellent*

say that the highest quality thought leadership helps them better understand challenges and opportunities facing their business*

To see how CBC used thought leadership to enable a global B2B energy business turn regulatory changes into commercial opportunity, read our case study here.

  • Justify your claims

Anyone can have an opinion, but to be convincing, you need to provide evidence. Wherever possible, use strong data, proof points and customer stories.

  • Ensure you have the right skill sets

No matter how good your content, your thought leadership won’t carry weight if it isn’t prepared and presented professionally. You need research, storytelling and design skills to make the grade.

Read our blog ‘Learn how to leverage B2B content marketing’

Two common causes of ineffective thought leadership

More often than not, when clients come to us asking why their thought leadership isn’t leading to a queue of customers, there are two clear reasons:

  • they aren’t learning what works and what doesn’t because they’re not paying enough attention to metrics
  • they’re creating content in-house but lack the skill sets they need to do it properly

If you’re thinking about thought leadership or not getting the results you want, CBC can help. From overcoming resource shortfalls to establishing effective metrics, I’d be delighted to share our expertise. Give me a call on +45 35 25 01 75 or drop me a line at rk@cbc.dk.

The author of this blog post is CBC Managing Partner Ralph Krøyer.


* 2024 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report