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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hourihan

Tale of Two Offices

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. With the Conflict of Interest Rule, retirement plan opportunities are everywhere. For the expert, seasoned advisor this is a golden marketing event. Today, 91% of retirement plans are serviced by retail wealth management advisors; it should be easy conversation to influence plan sponsors about why they should work with an experienced professional.

Yet, it seems more challenging than ever for plan sponsors to distinguish generalist financial advisors from retirement plan experts. You can change this.

Digital Office

7 seconds. That’s how much time your website has to engage a plan sponsor. Also, 8 out of 10 prospects are going to research you. Prospects are going to visit your website. If your website is compelling, organized and easy on the eyes, that action could convert to an inbound lead. In a recent MassMutual study, 43% of plan sponsors said a good website is important and 41% said they would like to see a good value proposition clearly stated on it.[1]

Ask yourself, does your website have a clear retirement plan centric message? Do you have the words 401(k), 403(b), Cash Balance, Pension, and/or Retirement Plan written on your website? Is it easy for visitors to immediately understand what you do?

If your website needs a little refresher, don’t fret – the Internet is editable! Update your website, LinkedIn profile, and biography. Small changes can go a long way.


Physical Office

Make a great first impression. You are a retirement plan expert and your marketing should reflect your professionalism, experience, and integrity. If you begin a conversation with a handshake, business card, and yellow-pad, are you hurting or strengthening your brand?

Let’s demonstrate with an example. You go to a restaurant and the host greets you, “Hi and Welcome to Henry’s Gastropub.” Then you sit at the table and your menu says, “Larry’s Produce.” The waiter explains that your food is from Larry’s Produce– and yet they specialize in sushi. Now as a customer, what are you thinking?

By standardizing your brand, you stop the confusion. You create a clear path that plan sponsors can follow, you build trust and credibility, and you improve the reputation of the entire retirement plan industry.

Your presented marketing materials should strengthen your brand. It is a way for retirement plan experts to differentiate. Show and tell plan sponsors how you can help them with their fiduciary responsibilities, plan governance, operational compliance, transactional oversight, plan design, investment monitoring, fee benchmarking, cost reasonableness, service provider analysis, retirement readiness, and participant outcomes. With your years of experience, it should be easy for plan sponsors to understand how you service retirement plans and why they should partner with specialists.


We’ll leave you with one last thought, in today’s interconnected world: we all have two offices. The first is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. When people visit, you have a nice board room, fresh flowers, and complimentary refreshments.

However, you have a second office. It’s your digital office. It is open 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. People can visit anytime.

Now – one last question: how many clients actually visit your physical office?

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

About 401(k) Marketing

We believe the retirement plan industry can do better. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors and TPAs in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We are proud to share their voices through industry writings, professionally-designed marketing materials (including websites), and expert content collateral. We lend support by promoting businesses through ongoing awareness campaigns.

About Retirement Plan Marketing

Retirement Plan Marketing is a product of 401(k) Marketing and is an ongoing turnkey marketing solution for retirement plan advisors. It is an easy-to-follow, consistent marketing program designed to get you noticed in your community and generate new retirement plan sales. When you deliver relevant plan sponsor content, you add value to your conversations and can work your way up to become known as the “go-to” retirement plan advisory office.

[1] MassMutual Retirement Plan Referrals Study. Opportunities for financial advisors to obtain referrals from retirement plan sponsors August 2016.

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