The Great B2B Fintech Thought Leadership Deficit


  • B2B decision-makers say thought leadership influences their purchasing choices.
  • One study linked quality thought leadership to a rise in requests for proposals (RFPs).
  • High-quality thought leadership is substantial, timely, and well-distributed.

B2B fintech startups raised more than $910 million in combined funding as of January 2021.

It’s getting harder for fintechs to stand out in a growing field of competitors.  

This is why B2B fintech thought leadership — how you communicate how you think differently than competitors — is now as important as the products and services you develop. 

With thought leadership content, B2B fintech companies can boost their reputation, grow leads, and attract the right kind of capital. 

Only 11 percent of financial services companies believe their thought leadership is extremely effective

Thought Leadership Influences Sales and PR


An Edelman Business Marketing and LinkedIn study shows how B2B decision-makers consume thought leadership content.

It’s a good starting point, if you want to understand why thought leadership is a special subsection within content marketing. The study found:

  • 89 percent said thought leadership enhances their perception of organizations
  • 49 percent said thought leadership influences their purchasing decisions
  • 59 percent saw thought leadership as a trustworthy basis for assessing an organization’s capabilities and competencies.

Why do Buyers Consume Thought Leadership?

A separate 2020 study by Grist identified three reasons why executives consume thought leadership content. They do so:

  • To make better decisions (65 percent)
  • To evaluate your expertise (60 percent) 
  • To understand best practice (57 percent).

This data shows how useful thought leadership can be. But only when it’s done well. It also highlights the risks of doing it poorly. B2B fintech companies should invest only in thought leadership content that can meet the high bar set by knowledgeable buyers, partners, and investors.

An Edelman-LinkedIn study found only 15 percent of decision-makers rate the thought leadership they read as very good or excellent

In other words, avoid dipping your toes into thought leadership unless you can commit significant amounts of budget and resources towards it. 

How do Buyers Assess Thought Leadership?


So what actually makes thought leadership content attractive to decision-makers? The answer is thorough content.

Be specific and useful

The Edelman-LinkedIn study revealed successful thought leadership content is often built around substantial insights that:

  • Say what industry decision-makers have overlooked
  • Predict potential challenges or opportunities
  • Give the reader a competitive edge.

Be timely and easy to read

Timeliness and brevity matter too. About 87 percent of decision-makers value thought leadership about topics they’re working right now. And 75 percent find short and easy-to-absorb content ‘compelling’.

Be searchable and shareable

  • researching a specific topic
  • coming across it in their daily routine
  • receiving it directly from someone else
  • or seeing the content on paid or earned channels.

This is why B2B fintech companies should treat production processes, content formats, and distribution with great care. 

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Traits of High-Performers


Only 11 percent of financial services companies believe their thought leadership is extremely effective, according to the 2020 Profiting From Thought Leadership report. The best thought leadership is forged through experience and investment, the study shows.

  • The longer a company has been producing thought leadership, the more likely it is to outperform other companies.
  • The most effective thought leadership marketers have about 7-8 years of experience, 70 percent more than those less effective at thought leadership.
  • Companies that excel at thought leadership content allocated 6.5 percent of annual revenue to it, covering research, events, and editorial resources.

The most effective thought leadership marketers align thought leadership spending with their overall service line spending, adjusted for the growth potential of other existing or new services. And doing this gives their businesses a price premium of almost 15 percent, according to the Profiting From Thought Leadership study.

Getting Serious About Fintech Thought Leadership 


High-quality thought leadership content increases your brand recognition and reputation, expands perceptions of your capabilities, and builds trust.  And it can:

  • lead to requests for proposals
  • enable ‘warmer’ cross-selling
  • and help you complete sales more often.

While it pays to create high-quality thought leadership content, it’s a difficult process. If you want to use thought leadership to stand out, you’ll need to make sure your fintech excels at it.

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