April 12

How the Halo Effect Drives Better Demand Generation Results

Lead Generation


My dad taught me many lessons growing up, and one that stands out as relevant to demand generation is this:

He said, “Choose your friends carefully because we are often judged by the company we keep.”

He didn’t know it the time, but he explained a cognitive bias called the halo effect.

In this post, I’m going to explain how the halo effect applies to lead generation.

What is the halo effect?

Wikipedia defines states, “the halo effect is a type of immediate judgment discrepancy, or cognitive bias, where a person making an initial assessment of another person, place, or thing will assume ambiguous information based upon concrete information.”

How it works

The halo effect works like this: By helping thought leaders and subject matter experts build their platform and influence, you will also develop your authority and platform.

To put it another way, you grow your audience by helping influential people grow their audience first.

This MarketingSherpa case study, “How to Impress Conservative Fortune 100 Business Prospects by Allying With Academia,” demonstrates the practical application of the halo effect.

The case study explains how Steelwedge, “a previously little-known software company became a trusted and admired brand in a couple of short years.” It quickly got the attention of Fortune 100 companies.


They built alliances with nuts-and-bolts professors in America’s heartland.

So how can you get on the radar of thought leaders and industry experts?

The influencer alliance journey map

The image below shows how conversations with influencers that turn alliances, progress.

You’ll notice it’s a series of touches over time:


You are intentional. It’s not just reaching out with an ask. You are adding value in the same way you do with prospects when you do lead nurturing.

The halo effect is everywhere in B2B

This idea is already in the demand generation and account-based marketing playbooks for most large consulting firms.

We see the halo effect demonstrated in places like the Harvard Business Review, where it’s quite common to see business executives collaborate on papers with a professor or sponsor research projects.

These experts can become a source of podcast guests, speakers, webinar presenters.

You may want to co-market an event and share the list, but more often than not, you’ll need to do the work.

There are also opportunities to post articles and materials by these experts on your website, blog, or as links in an e-newsletter. In time, you’ll find some of their credibility will rub off on you.

Start using the halo effect for demand generation

One way to start relationships with professors is to find those that have their own consulting practices. Think about how you help build their business, and they may be more inclined to help you.

You can start putting the halo effect work by leveraging the four steps here: “Lead Generation via Influencers and Experts in 4 Steps.”

This post gives 4 specific suggestions to help you get started.

You might also like

MarketingSherpa: How to Impress Conservative Fortune 100 Business Prospects by Allying With Academia [MarketingSherpa case study]

Inbound Marketing: Tech brand increases online sales 271% with original content and influencer outreach [MarketingSherpa case study]

Stuck on Words: How Can Marketing Connect with Customers Better?

Bring more innovation to your demand generation now

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

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