Editor’s Note: Kristen Luke said it spot-on when she noted, “There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for marketing success”. Like many challenges we face in financial services, from portfolio reporting, fee billing, and other operational systems, there just is not a silver bullet solution. We have to design and/or acquire the right pieces to establish a flexible, integrated process. In marketing in our now digital age, those components are solid vision and voice, the right resources and the right amount of time. Not simple, but knowing that, Luke’s guidance gives us a game plan for how to prepare to market effectively. This piece originally ran on Luke’s blog.
When it comes to marketing for financial advisors, it would be nice if there was one thing you could do that would guarantee success. Unfortunately, no marketing “magic bullet” exists. Even if you master all of the fundamentals, an element of luck is required for success. You could have the greatest marketing campaign in the world, with hundreds of prospective clients calling your office each week, and then something could change (like a market crash), and all of that comes to a screeching halt.
Marketing success is never guaranteed. Even if you use a marketing program that has worked for other advisors in other markets, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Your personality may not complement the program, or the prospective clients in your community may not respond to that particular sales technique. Because there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for marketing success, it is important to develop a strategy that works for you and your business. Then, once you find a strategy that works, you must implement it consistently. But with numerous other responsibilities and distractions, many financial advisors stumble when it comes to implementing their marketing plans. As a result, they may not see the results they had hoped for.
“If you make your marketing campaigns a second, third or fourth priority, nothing will get done.”
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
If you want to increase likelihood of marketing success, the most important thing you can do is to delegate responsibility to someone else who will be responsible for executing your marketing campaigns. Depending on your firm’s size, you may want to hire a full-time marketing coordinator.
If that is not possible, look for a current employee who has an aptitude for marketing and the capacity to oversee your campaigns. If you can’t hire a dedicated marketing person and your current employees lack the skill or time to take on marketing tasks, a marketing consultant could help you draft and execute your marketing strategies. Find someone who can help with the internal processes, such as your referral process and client communication, as well as external marketing, such as events and online marketing.
Rarely are firms that leave the responsibility of marketing to their principals successful in their efforts. There are obvious reasons for this. First, firm principals are usually most adept at dealing with the “big picture” and guiding the firm’s vision and direction. The details that need to be managed to execute a marketing strategy are often tedious to the principal and not the best use of his or her time. Second, more pressing issues always arise that push marketing activities to the back burner.
If you make your marketing campaigns a second, third or fourth priority, nothing will get done. And when you do market your business, you will do so sporadically, which is almost as bad as not doing any marketing at all.
10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Marketing Point Person
When choosing a person to take charge of a firm’s marketing campaigns, financial advisors should ask themselves these 10 questions:
- Does this person have the organizational skills needed to ensure all parts of a campaign are completed in a timely manner?
- Will this person be able work with the firm’s principals and advisors, so that they can get the information and cooperation required to implement campaigns?
- Does this person have time to dedicate to the firm’s marketing efforts?
- Is this person detail-oriented, so that they make few, if any, mistakes?
- Is this person self-reliant and able to get things done without requiring too much of the principal’s time?
- Is this person responsible enough to make sure the marketing plan is implemented?
- Will this person suggest changes and alternatives to the campaigns for improved results?
- Does this person have both the financial services knowledge and marketing experience required to communicate with and coordinate outside vendors (e.g., copywriters, graphic designers, web designers, etc.)
- Does this person understand the compliance issues related to financial services marketing?
- Does this person understand the marketing best practices appropriate for financial advisory firms in order to develop a coordinated marketing strategy?
These are just a few of the questions you should consider when looking for someone to be accountable for your marketing. If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Assigning responsibility for your firm’s marketing does not mean that you cede control of all marketing efforts. You and other team members can and should have input in the firm’s overall marketing strategy. But by delegating responsibility for many routine tactics, your marketing activities will be more likely to have the desired effect.