Thought Leadership Defined…..or not.

by Paul Gladen

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Tim Parker at The Bloom Group points out that Gartner have finally woken up to thought leadership – but have got the definition wrong:

Gartner defines thought leadership as:

“The giving—for free or at a nominal charge—of information or advice that a client will value so as to create awareness of the outcome that a company’s product or service can deliver, in order to position and differentiate that offering and stimulate demand for it.”

Tim explains why the definition is wrong and I wholeheartedly agree.

As we have previously commented, the definition of thought leadership has become increasingly muddied.  Perhaps more important than its definition is its purpose:

  • The purpose of thought leadership is to provide valuable insights and ideas to the reader (or listener/viewer).
  • The benefit of achieving that objective is an increased likelihood that those readers will want to build or strengthen their relationship with you and your firm – which one day may result in them hiring you.

We are strong believers in the importance and power of quality thought leadership, but there is rarely, if ever, a straight line between thought leadership and demand stimulation.  The B2B marketing and sales process is considerably more complex.  In this regard, Gartner’s definition is off target.

Paul Gladen

About Paul Gladen
Paul is Founder and President of Muzeview Research. He has over 20 years of professional services experience, including 14 years across audit and business consulting with Arthur Andersen.

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