How Thought Leadership Fits Into the Buyer's Journey

April 18, 2022

Developing a reputation as a thought leader in your respective industry is one of the most difficult yet valuable endeavors a marketer/business executive can undertake. The reason being is that it requires a strategic approach that convinces industry leaders and customers that you are an authority and a go-to resource for information in your field.

The importance of thought leadership is no secret, but making the case for its investment, determining long-term ROI, and most importantly, understanding its impact on your buyer's journey can be difficult.

So, let's break down exactly what thought leadership is and how it fits into the buyer's journey.

The Buyer's Journey: A Three-Step Process

Thought leadership refers to the expression of ideas that demonstrate expertise in a particular field or topic. The buyer's journey, on the other hand, refers to the process of a prospective buyer's path to making a purchase.


The awareness phase is when a prospective buyer has just discovered they have a problem and are now in the process of researching to better understand what their problem is.

Thought leadership's role in the awareness phase of the buyer's journey comes into play when the content produced by a marketer, names and clearly defines a potential buyer's problem.


The consideration phase is when the buyer has defined the issue (giving the problem a name) and commits to researching, understanding, and considering all viable options to solve said problem.

Thought leadership's role in the consideration phase of the buyer's journey comes into play when the content produced by a marketer breaks down the buyer's problem and presents reliable solutions for the said buyer to consider.


The decision phase is when a potential buyer has decided on their approach to resolving their issue by, for example, collecting a list of potential products or vendors to go with. Once the buyer has reviewed all their options, the last step would be to make a purchasing decision.

Thought leadership's role in the decision phase of the buyer's journey comes into play when the content produced by a marketer provides information on where to obtain the solutions suggested.

Thought leadership is one of the most important marketing tactics a brand can use to help achieve company objectives. The benefits of incorporating thought leadership efforts can not only help guide prospective customers down a sales funnel, but:

  • Feeds Publicity – Becoming a thought leader fuels public relations opportunities. Once the masses see your brand as an authority in the industry, reporters and influencers are more inclined to reach out for interviews, which could translate to features in major publications.
  • Increases Online Visibility – If your brand produces trustworthy and reliable content, users and search engines will reward you for it. Google's credibility is heavily reliant on the search results it presents to users. If users deem your content to be useful, search engines such as Google's algorithm will detect that a high number of users are going and returning to your website and will reward you by moving your site higher on search engine results pages.
  • Builds Trust – When it comes to acquiring and retaining customers over an extended period, it is essential that you as a brand find a way to establish some type of emotional connection to build loyalty, and the key to building loyalty is trust. How do you build trust? The best way is by creating reliable and authoritative content that provides answers to questions and solves problems.

Understanding Long-Term ROI of Thought Leadership

Justifying the cost of thought leadership tactics on the surface may seem like a daunting task, but once you understand and can articulate the benefits associated, selling the idea to higher-ups in your company is a breeze. Here are 5 stats to help convince your C-suite to implement thought leadership efforts.

  • 63% of prospective buyers state that thought leadership is important for proving an organization understands and can solve specific industry problems.
  • 54% of prospective buyers state that thought leadership helps draw attention to topics major news outlets rarely touch on but are still meaningful within the field.
  • 64% of prospective buyers state that an organization's thought leadership-focused content is a better metric for assessing its capabilities and expertise within an industry than other marketing materials.
  • 65% of prospective buyers state that thought leadership-focused content can change the perception of a company, positively.

The benefits of an organization's thought leadership efforts can have a profoundly positive impact if the strategy is executed properly, and the statistics prove it.

For brands in need of help on their journey to becoming thought leaders, consider employing the services of Layup Content today.  

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