Add thought leadership to the list of things that the pandemic has disrupted.

For the fourth edition of their study of thought leadership and its impact on B2B decision-makers, Edelman and LinkedIn conducted research last summer with nearly 3,600 management professionals across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Singapore, Australia and India who consume thought leadership and found that a pandemic-induced glut of content has diluted their sense of thought leadership’s value.

The report doesn’t delve into the reasons COVID-19 has seemed to open the floodgates of digital content intending (or pretending) to be thought leadership. It could be panic (regular marketing channels aren’t working the same since the whole world has been upended!), it could be cost (our marketing budgets have been slashed … quick, what’s a cheap way to get our name out there?) or it could be laziness or ignorance (Company X does a nice job with its thought leadership … how hard can it be?). 

Regardless, 66% of those surveyed noticed the increase and 38% said there was too much content/more content out there than they could reasonably consume. And yet, over half (51%) said they spend more time consuming thought leadership than before the pandemic began. While 54% of decision-makers (and 48% of the C-suite) said they spend more than one hour per week reading thought leadership, 71% of decision-makers said that less than half of what they read is useful to them.

The report (, registration required) cites three other main findings.

Thought leadership remains critical to customer engagement but breaking through the noise is harder than ever. Thought leadership can certainly have an impact – when it’s done right. The 2020 version of the study found that 54% said that after engaging with an organization’s thought leadership they purchased a new product or service that they hadn’t considered buying. Fifty-three...