A Thanksgiving Lesson in Distinction


Nov 26 • Practice Management • 3692 Views • No Comments

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Editors’s Note: It is important to have time for reflection and a pause, even in our increasingly always on world. In fact, perhaps with some controversy to those heavily wired in digital, we believe it may be even more important than ever to build in time to stop the perpetual motion and just think, consider and even purely relax. Why? Beyond the obvious mental and emotional health value, it also incites us to evaluate what we are working on, our progress and what our next steps are. As Scott McKain acknowledges below – we must always be first thankful and second considerate of how we communicate and market. If we want to look unique in a very crowded space, we will need the distinction Scott advocates.

Just as you are this time of year – and as we should be throughout the entire year – I am very thankful for the many blessings bestowed upon my family, my career, and my life.

You will read a great deal during this season about appreciating your clients and prospects and the importance of being thankful for their confidence in your ability to deliver the results that they desire. However, there is a lesson I learned a few Thanksgivings back that made an impact upon me and may get you thinking about your own marketing efforts for the coming year.

For a moment, let us imagine that you are in a different profession.  For our example, let’s say that you are a major executive for a recording company – for instance, the one that represented the late Michael Jackson. What would be the traditional approach you might take to stimulate sales of an album?

Without a doubt, you’d try to get maximum exposure from the major media to reach the greatest number of potential buyers, right? It has always worked before – why should it be any different now?

Here’s a story about how much times have changed: It was the anniversary of the release of one of the biggest hits of all time, Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” To celebrate the event – and promote the album’s re-release – executives from the late performer’s record company commissioned famed director Spike Lee to create a documentary special on its recording that featured some of the major names in music.

It was, as Paul Grein noted on his blog, nothing more than a “90-minute commercial for the album” featuring one of the most popular recording artists of all time, aired by a major network on Thanksgiving night when most families are home in front of the television. If you were the record company executive, you would probably assume you’ve created a major promotional coup.

So, with that type of amazing promotion viewed by millions, how many people actually purchased the physical product via CD, or downloaded through iTunes or another source?

There were a grand total of just 11,000 units sold. That’s it. A well-produced program that was marketing a successful product – and received exposure that reached millions of potential buyers via a major network – delivered a relatively minuscule number of purchases.

Why?  It was a good program – but, a lot of programs are good.  Many people loved Jackson’s music – however, this program offered nothing new, it was just anniversary packaging on old material.

In other words, despite this massive exposure, there was nothing distinctive presented to prospective customers.  It was the “same old stuff” sent around one more time.

Let’s return to the present and your current efforts. As you attempt to grow your practice, if the promotion of your products or services is nothing more than traditional, status quo, and unoriginal… guess how your clients and prospects in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace will perceive YOU?

Let’s also be thankful that in the coming months, we have another opportunity to create distinction.


The above article is for educational purposes only. Investment professionals should consult their compliance departments before accessing or implementing any of the marketing ideas, practices or advice found in the DigitalFA. Your use of the DigitalFA website tells us you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service.

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