Many years ago, I lived in Boston and every workday, I would jump into my car and drive to work. Now, at the time, I was about 22 years old and living on a very meager salary. So much so that the daily Mass Pike toll of $2.25 was too much to afford.
Instead, I came up with a driving labyrinth from my house, snaking through the city, and finally arriving at the office. From doorstep to cubical, the journey took about 80 minutes. But then on special days, like Fridays, when I wanted to really treat myself, I would take the toll road. Straight roads, no stoplights, no dodging pedestrians, and smooth 70 MPH sailing. The commute time was cut in half. Even though it hurt to spend $2.25, oh boy, did I look forward to taking the toll road.
After roughly two years, I got a job that paid well enough that I could afford the daily transaction. And not just one way – both ways! I was in toll road heaven. And I even got an “EZ Pass”. I had made it; I was living the high life!
After the toll road became part of my normal daily commute, I couldn’t fathom the idea of going back to the old snake labyrinth. The idea of spending twice as long in the car with all the stopping, going, and congestion the old way seemed--well, it was crazy.
Paying the toll
No one likes to pay the toll. It’s like a little papercut. It won’t kill you, but you don’t like it. I think about this a lot when I’m looking over my company’s expense reports. For items I know we need, of course, they are non-negotiable: for example, lease, phone, and internet. But then I see other expenses and think, do we need these?
Now, some advisors feel this way about marketing. What are we paying for and do we need it?
When we begin a new advisor conversation, we ask:
What marketing do you do today?
How much do you invest in your marketing?
From that we usually have a good base of information and can open a meaningful dialog. The responses range from:
All of my business is referral.
I do email campaigns, digital ads, blog articles, social media, events, and more.
To say the least, we’ve heard the gamut of replies and everyone’s is amazing.
Take the next question, how much do you invest in marketing? The responses for this one are also fascinating. They range from zero dollars to millions per year (yes, some enterprise financial services companies invest millions per year.)
For the companies with a defined marketing budget, the next portion of the conversation is a little more delicate. We ask, how has your business grown since implementing your marketing campaigns? The reason why this portion of the conversation is more sensitive is because we believe that all marketing works.
Think of it like this, prior to purposeful marketing, what percentage did your total business grow per year? Let’s say your firm invests $5000 per year in marketing and your total business grows by 20%. Do you think your marketing efforts helped? If so, what do you think were the driving forces that helped your business reach the fast lane? Look at year-over-year growth and factor in marketing investments to learn your total marketing ROI.
In a recent study, they was found that RIAs plan to spend more on marketing in 2018, as they consider it the #1 way to drive growth. Additionally, in a different survey, they found 46% of firms in 2017 created a documented marketing plan and 49% had a defined marketing budget. More and more advisory firms are realizing the benefits of why it is important to invest in marketing.
Yes, while it does sting a little to pay the toll, most people realize that it’s a lot better than sitting still in traffic. This is the same for marketing; the initial investment or shift to a monthly subscription may seem daunting, but after you take the plunge, you wonder how and why you ever went without it.
Marketing is an investment in your business that will lead to reducing the time it takes to acquire new retirement plan business, while it builds your professional reputation as a plan advisor and helps generate more inbound referrals. Purposeful marketing is the EZ Pass for your retirement plan business and puts you in the fast lane for total business success.
Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!
About 401(k) Marketing
Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors, TPAs, and industry partners 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 on-going awareness campaigns. 401(k) Marketing is based in San Diego, CA. www.401k-marketing.com