Recently, I was sharing a story with my friends about the popular Netflix show House of Cards. During my story, I started to describe one of the characters, ‘Kevin Spacey’s wife Claire Underwood, tall pretty blonde lady,’ and my friends stopped me. They squinted their eyes, leaned forward, raised an eyebrow and said, “Robin Wright?!” I shrugged my shoulders in admission and said, “I don’t know. Maybe.”
At this point my friends looked at me with wild disbelief – how could I not know Robin Wright. After all, she was the Princess in the Princess Bride, Jennie in Forrest Gump, and was married to Sean Penn for nearly two decades. Truth be told, I’d never heard of her. In my experience, she was an unknown.
Well, after enjoying several seasons of House of Cards and getting the lecturing from my friends, I will forever recognize and remember Robin Wright. From my perspective, she went through the process and purpose of marketing.
Process of Marketing
When a company begins a marketing campaign, they are starting the Awareness Journey.
For example, at the beginning of House of Cards, (to me) Robin Wright was anunknown. Then through the show, I started to recognize her. After the dinner party and friend’s harassment, she became familiar. Now, if I were to watch the Princess Bride or Forrest Gump, I would immediately know it was Robin Wright. Lastly, I really like her. She is a great actress and if I were browsing for a new show/movie to watch and noticed that she was starring in it, I trust she would do a good job.
Now, let’s talk about your retirement plan practice.
Step 1: Unknown
This is the first step and it’s the scariest. What if it doesn’t work? You invest time, money, and resources. This is mile 1 of the marathon. All companies start here.
When plan sponsor prospects experience your marketing materials for the first time, you are unknown. It takes time to develop influence.
Step 2: Recognized
Over time, plan sponsor prospects will start to recognize your marketing materials. They will see your direct mailers, webinar invitations, email newsletters, social media posts, blog articles, and infographics. They will visit your website with cautiousness and curiosity. Who are you? How might you help us with our retirement plan?
Step 3: Familiar
Consistency builds trust. Once your plan sponsor prospects recognize your marketing materials, you enter into the next marketing phase – building a relationship. Each marketing touch strengthens your brand. Your firm is transitioning into a “household” name.
Step 4: Known
Plan sponsors, centers of influence, clients, regional partners, and other professionals know your firm. They know that you are a retirement plan expert. When they think “retirement plan advisor,” your name immediately comes to mind. You have become known throughout your local and digital community for your retirement plan experience. Each additional marketing touch strengthens your brand.
Step 5: Trusted
Inbound leads. Yes, these really happen. When your firm has succeeded through the marketing journey, you emerge a vetted, trusted retirement plan firm. You receive inbound introductions and are sought out for your expertise. Congratulations – this is the purpose of marketing!
Consistent, quality marketing moves retirement plans advisors through the process. It develops, deepens, and strengthens your brand and ultimately strives to elevate your firm above the competition so that you stand out as the retirement plan expert.
Take these marketing ideas and implement them into your own business growth strategy. Just remember, the first step is hardest. Happy Marketing!
About 401(k) Marketing
We believe the retirement plan industry can do better. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We are proud to share their voice through industry writings, professionally-designed brochures, and marketing collateral. We assist in promoting their businesses through on-going awareness campaigns. 401(k) Marketing is based in San Diego, CA. Check us out at www.401k-marketing.com.