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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hourihan

Does Marketing Work?

We are a marketing firm, so when we have the does marketing work conversation with potential clients, it naturally inspires an answer to the effect of, “Of course!” We have heard the full range of reasons advisors cite for why a marketing campaign is not for them.

  • I don’t believe in marketing.

  • My business is 100% referral.

  • I’ve never paid for marketing because it’s a waste of time.

Other advisors are more open to building and implementing a marketing strategy, but they have their own concerns:

  • We started a marketing campaign and then we stopped.

  • We piecemeal marketing when we have time.

  • Yes, I know we should be marketing, but where do you start?

The one thing that all of these types of inquiries have in common is that they are coming to us for answers. And by coming to us, they must at least be considering that marketing will improve their business.

But in order to recognize the benefits of marketing, you have to be willing to give credit where credit is due.

One of our clients invested $12,000 in our marketing services. We provided prospect list development (1200+ plan decision makers), quarterly direct mailers, center of influence identification, daily social media posting, four original thought-leadership blog articles, quarterly webinar presentations, infographics and more.

Over the year, he gained six new retirement plan clients with new annual re-occurring revenue totaling $47,000. Yet, he felt that our marketing efforts weren’t related to his new client activities. We asked him, “Last year, how many new clients did you onboard?” He said, “None.” He didn’t recognize the correlation.

Do you?

How does it work?

Let’s talk about what you can do today to create a process that promotes your retirement plan expertise.

  • First, create a budget. As a business owner, you need to establish what you feel comfortable investing in your marketing. For example, $XXX per month or X% of gross revenue.

  • Next, gather marketing materials. Figure out which marketing materials are best suited for your plan sponsor buying persona. Take a look at the aggregated Form 5500 statistics to learn top local industries, plan sizes, demographics, QDIA adoption, 404(c) compliance statistics, and more. Look to see if there are any trends or anti-trends that you could use to market towards soft-spots.

  • For example, in a client discovery, we found only 13% of the local plans adopted the auto-enrollment feature, compared to national industry statistics which are closer to 57% of plans.[1] This is a marketing opportunity to educate the local plan sponsor community about why they should adopt 404(c) protocols and how you can help.

  • Then, create a marketing calendar. Whether you realize it or not, your followers start to rely on receiving your materials at the frequency you set.

  • For example, start sending a quarterly newsletter and you will find that people actually look forward to receiving it. Want to test it? Skip a quarter and see if you get an email asking where it is. You will. People notice. They like hearing from you to learn about recent retirement plan industry trends and topics, and to stay in the know.

In order to fill your marketing calendar with content, you need to decide whether you will create or curate content.

  • Created content are materials that you produce and are original to your office.

  • Curated content are materials that you did not create, but select because they well represent your brand

We recommend that you do both, a healthy mix of created and curated content. Another option is to use a hybrid approach, starting with curated content and then updating it with your voice to make it feel created and sound like your office.

Once you have your budget, calendar, and content, it’s time to promote. Your content will both show and tell plan sponsors why they should partner with a specialized retirement plan advisor.

Get the word out there with consistency about your retirement plan expertise. Consistency is the key to marketing. So, start small (maybe a newsletter) and then work your way up to more and more content pieces.

Marketing does take time, but it also has a multiplier effect. So the more marketing you do, the more plan sponsors learn about you, the more referrals you receive, the more clients you on-board.

We hope that we don’t have to convince you that marketing works. Because, hey, you’re reading this article, and this is marketing. :)

Hope you found this relevant to your business 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] PSCA Releases Results of 59th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans." PSCA. Plan Sponsor Council of America, 19 Dec. 2016. Web.

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