Several years ago, I was sitting in a finalist presentation for a plan sponsor and the key decision-maker made a comment that resonated with me, “If you document it and measure it, it will get done – if you don’t, it won’t.” How about that for a lead into a marketing plan series?
We’ve already talked about discovering your story. Now, let’s get you thinking about writing a marketing plan. Today we’ll focus on goals and measurement: what you want to achieve with your marketing plan, and how you’ll measure that success. Goals and measurement drive your target audience and marketing tactics, but we’ll focus more on that next week.
Sales and servicing keep you busy – I get that. You don’t have time to chase leads, nothing’s worse than wasting precious time on fruitless prospecting efforts. You have to be thoughtful about how you spend your time. A good marketing plan helps you prospect effectively. It keeps you front of mind with your clients and helps create a perception, or brand, with your prospects.
A couple of weeks ago, after a return from an East Coast trip, my five-year-old asked me, “Dad, what do you do on all those trips?” So I went to work and started telling him what his old man does – custom solutions, strategic planning, moving the needle, and all the other buzzwords that rock my world. I was about two minutes into it and he cut me off. “Hey Dad,” he asked, “Can I watch cartoons now?” Yep, I’d lost the sale.
It got me thinking about how we tell our stories – or our value propositions. Through the years, I’ve reviewed hundreds of mission statements, value propositions, core belief statements and I’m convinced most of us (myself included!) suffer from the curse of knowledge (Want to know more about it? Read this short article from the Harvard Business Review).
We’re writing value propositions for our peers – not our prospects and clients. Just like my five-year-old, our target audience doesn’t spend their whole day worrying about retirement plans – but we spend our lives there, and as a result, we’re not addressing prospects and clients on their level. Read more
For a while now, I’ve helped advisors and financial professionals develop their “story,” or their value proposition, and then helped them incorporate it into a marketing plan and their everyday practice. It’s a privilege listening to someone’s story and I really enjoy doing it – absorbing a heap of information, understanding the challenges, and then creating a plan that addresses their challenges and takes their story to the next level. But as much as I enjoy the process, a couple of years ago I learned an important lesson about getting too comfortable.
I know what I’m doing – listen, learn, create, repeat.
I had gotten to the point that I felt like I’d done so many advisor and financial professional consultations, that I was in a groove – listen, learn, create, repeat. I assumed I could simply listen for a few key words, review some of their existing material and slap a plan together.
One day, I dialed into a call with an advisor and shared what I considered a great plan. His response? “This isn’t what I was looking for at all.”
But you know what they say about assuming… Read more
One thing is for sure – we are shaped by our experiences. And when I look back over the past 14 years of my career in the retirement industry, I’ve had some amazing experiences working with many of our industry’s most influential advocates, hundreds of plan sponsors and committees, and thousands of plan participants.
I’ve been so blessed, to learn so much from so many, that I feel obligated to pass on what I learned from these experiences and the wisdom that was shared with me. My blog will focus on practice management and development, mostly for retirement plan advisors and financial professionals, but occasionally broad concepts on marketing, sales, and service.
I’ve been working with advisors and financial professionals for nearly my entire career, but here’s what you need to know about me: