Final Sneak Peak:

Blowing Up—and Blowing Out—Your Marketing Plan

This is my last reminder to sign up for INVINCIBLE: The Most Direct Path to $1 Billion on May 9 in San Francisco and May 10 in Portland, OR. Yes, it’s a full-day commitment, but it’s designed to make a permanent change to your firm’s growth trajectory. Meanwhile, here’s one more quick sneak preview of our themes—this time, on marketing planning.Before we get to the actual planning process, let’s be clear about one thing: If you want to become INVINCIBLE, you can’t be INVISIBLE. Typically, advisors stay within their own little orbit of clients and centers of influence. They’re very visible inside their own network—but completely invisible outside of it. That orbit is big enough for you to grow your business up to a certain point. But if staying inside it could bring you up to $1 billion AUM, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post. To grow further, you need to become visible outside your current orbit, and that means changing your trajectory. First, as we’ve already discussed, you need to build a strong brand.

Second, you need to launch that brand out into the universe. Your old marketing ideas were fine for reaching your existing circle. Now you want to go much bigger, bolder, brighter. You want to be practically visible from space.

That’s why I decided to call my second workshop session “Marketing Mayhem.” You may remember my post from last December about the pompoms and glitter at FiComm’s own planning meeting. (Go back and reread that series—there are a lot of practical tips you can capitalize on.) You need mayhem. You have to start by crashing everything into the ground. If you don’t, you’re just going to find yourself following the exact same trajectory in the same small orbit, and you’ll never reach $1B.

Don’t start by debating which restaurant has the best function room. Start with big goals, big ideas, and a vision that’s not about making incremental improvements, but about completely reinventing the advisor firm for your specific client target, offering solutions they’ve never seen before. Go offsite. Stand up and move around. Use silly props. Hire a facilitator. Do whatever it takes to get out of the well-traveled path and explore something new.

Afterward, you’re going to bring those pie-in-the-sky ideas down to earth. You’re going to make sure every goal you set is something you can actually achieve with specific, concrete steps. You’re going to budget and fund each of your marketing initiatives, perhaps by leveraging niche financing resources like LiveOak Bank.

The session at INVINCIBLE won’t be quite as crazy as our own planning meeting. I’m going to walk everyone through the process of creating a marketing plan step by step. But I hope everyone starts by dreaming big.

Final thoughts: There’s no way to escape the pressure to go big. Custodians are shutting down smaller accounts. Automation is changing the way accounts are sold and serviced. If you don’t want to be swept away by what happens next, you’ve got to get your firm completely shipshape. Either scale up, or develop enough efficiency and scale to compete. You want to have options, not find yourself stuck in a place you never wanted to be.

In their hearts, advisors know this is true. They tell me they’re trying to change. But to be honest, they’ve been saying that for a while. They sound like somebody in marriage counseling, promising their spouse they’re really trying to open up. Okay, but if you’re still “trying” ten years later, it’s too late. After a point, “trying” just doesn’t cut it anymore.

INVINCIBLE is May 9-10. Coincidentally, that happens to be the week after Star Wars Day, so I’m going to steal a line from Yoda here:

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”