It has been more than 60 years since publisher McGraw-Hill unveiled what is arguably the most influential business-to-business advertisement of all-time. The Man in the Chair didn’t know you, your company, its products or its reputation. He sternly asked, “Now, what is it you want to sell me?”
McGraw-Hill was hyping the impact of advertising, while positioning its portfolio of business and trade magazines as the ideal outlet for companies seeking awareness with business buyers. While the desired channels to connect with customers and prospects have shifted from print to Web, digital and social media, the lessons from the Man in the Chair remain relevant and meaningful for today’s marketer.
The phrase now commonly espoused is thought leadership and, according to new research from PR shop Edelman and LinkedIn, its impact for companies that sell to business and government customers continues to grow. Here are a few conclusions from the study:
- Buyers are willing to pay a premium to do business with companies with a clearly articulated vision through thought leadership.
- Decision-makers are spending more time with thought leadership content. Most report one to four hours a week dedicated to the review of these materials. That is an impressive level of engagement!
- A high percentage of customers express disappointment with the quality of thought leadership content presented by vendors. Vision, substance and credibility are important attributes that are often lacking.