How the Halo Effect Drives Demand Generation and Leads

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 [like it or not] you are judged by the company you 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 demand marketing and lead generation.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Build brand partnerships with thought leaders in your niche to project your authority.
  • Your relationships with influencers gets stronger with every interaction along multiple touchpoints.
  • The halo effect gives you an advantage in B2B demand generation and account-based marketing.

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.”

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll knows what drives B2B buyers. As the founder of the B2B Lead Blog, a researcher and lecturer on marketing best practices, and leader in empathy marketing, he’s at the epicenter of the shifting B2B marketing landscape. Brian is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale (McGraw-Hill). He is also the founder of the B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 19,533+ members. Brian recently finished a stint as Chief Evangelist at MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa) and is now back to helping B2B understand and execute modern lead generation and empathetic marketing with his speakingconsulting, and training workshops. @brianjcarroll