Thursday, November 24, 2016


B2B marketers who want to build trust among customers should try theme-based marketing, says Corey Olfert, head of content marketing strategy at GE Digital.

Most marketing focuses on the brand; theme-based marketing focuses on help.

It lionizes customers, by helping them navigate change.

"Theme-based marketing forces your business to put your audience’s needs and their challenges at the center of your marketing," Olfert says.

Done right, theme-based marketing:
  • Builds trust in your company by showing you have perspective on today's issues and can provide concrete guidance;

  • Lets customers learn about you while they self-educate; and

  • Gives you a "True North guide" for all your marketing content.
So how do you identify a theme? It's easy:
  • Interview a cross-section of customers, your company's top executives and salespeople, and your biggest channel partners, Olfert says. Be sure to segment your interviews by region. "What’s important in the United States may not be important in France, South Africa or China," he says.

  • Read industry analysts’ forecasts and trend reports in your space and look for potential themes. You can also ask the analysts to identify the hot-button issues their clients obsess over.

  • Monitor media coverage and social media conversations about issues.

  • Study competitors' theme-based marketing—and go in a different direction. Choose an issue that will still be relevant in two years, vet it with a few customers, and "make sure your perspective on the issue, and the guidance and recommendations you’re providing, are differentiated and true to your business," Olfert says.

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