How to start marketing with a theme

How to start marketing with a theme

By Ian Richardson, Managing Partner, Richardson & Richardson Consulting LLC

Inspired by Thursday Process with guest Taher Hamid, MSP Camp

How to start marketing with a theme

Starting marketing is a bear of task. If marketing efforts fail, the impact is massive. Sales teams start underperforming – quotas are missed due to lack of qualified opportunities, impacting the ability to retain the organization’s top talent. Leadership experiences bewilderment about expense outlay not producing results. The entire team can become discouraged, frustrated, and confused. Not to mention the time and treasure that is not only expended, but also unable to be allocated to other efforts.

Themes aren’t anything complicated – all you’re doing is creating a common thread (the ‘theme’) around your target client profile (TCP) that should attract them to your content. In other words, themes are what makes your marketing resonate with who you want to do business with. When properly targeted, your marketing should attract your TCP, and repel bad fits – a double benefit effort. Qualified leads means every “at bat” for sales has a chance of turning into a deal. Repelling “bad fits” at the top of the funnel saves sales time – a valuable resource.

Getting this right helps improve all sorts of outcomes – since we’ve established the impact, lets dive into themes.

What is a marketing theme?

So, what is a marketing theme anyway? What does it mean to “attract” a “TCP”?

The theme is an overarching concept, made up of multiple parts. At its core, the theme consists of:

  • WHAT are you talking about?
  • HOW does it make your TCP feel?
  • HOW does it impact your TCP’s organization?
  • HOW does it impact your TCP personally?

Themes can be “positive” or “negative” in nature. A positive theme is about hopes and desires – you’re looking into the future and talking about opportunities, ideals, growth and success. It should create “warm fuzzy” feelings in your TCP audience. A “head nod” and a smile is good outcome from “positive theme” content. Inversely, a negative theme is about problems and challenges. You’re primarily looking into current state, with potentially a slight tilt into “near-term” future. Feeling evoked in your TCP should be “cold and prickly” in nature. Resigned sighs, a slight feeling of anxiety, focused concentration, and a desire to “fix” the issues brought up should resonate with your TCP from a well-constructed “negative theme” marketing campaign.

Something to keep in mind: you’re not trying to tilt your TCP into a state of panic, alarm, or stress – more you’re looking for a feeling of “damn, this person is right. That sounds like us. We need to work on that. Maybe they could help…?”

How do you choose a theme?

Ok – so a theme is feelings and impacts, and its designed to “land” with your TCP and get them agreeing with you. How do we choose a marketing theme? My friend Taher Hamid from MSP Camp appeared on the Richardson & Richardson webinar series, The Thursday Process, with me the other day. While on the show, Taher shared quite a bit of insight around themes (see the above video for some of that conversation. At the crux, your theme is informed by what your TCP cares about. Collect information around:

  1. What are their challenges in their organization?
    1. What about in their individual job role?
  2. What are problems they are experiencing?
  3. What are their organizational goals?
  4. What would make their individual day to day existence “better” at work?
  5. What are their closely held beliefs around business?
  6. What do they care about as an organization?

Look for patterns and trends amongst your existing clients, business networks, friends, family, and colleagues who are involved with or fit your TCP around this list. Those patterns and trends are going to become your “theme” for targeting that TCP.

Final thoughts

Marketing can be a business “boat anchor” that drags down sales and organizational performance, morale, and resources, or a force multiplier for a company – supercharging opportunity and growth. Creating appropriate marketing campaigns with themes that will “stick the landing” with your TCP is a fundamental requirement to getting proper ROI from your marketing efforts. Making sure you understand how to start marketing with a theme will help you avoid frustrating failures and instead feel confident that your team is performing. You’ll see them being excited about coming to work and energized about the future’s potential.

If you’re struggling with getting marketing efforts started, figuring out how to properly target your desired audience, or getting alignment with your team on the need to invest in the effort, Richardson & Richardson can help. Check out our case studies for stories of organizations that we’ve assisted with similar issues and download our white papers for deep dives on tools you can use in your organization. If you’re wondering where to start, book a complimentary session with one of the Richardsons today to come up with a plan on how to move forward.


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