How to Translate Marketing

Into a Language Advisors Understand

In my last post, I shared a few data points from the recent Penton and surveys of advisors and their service providers. If you remember, the findings showed that the word “marketing” means very different things to advisors and their vendors. I’ve found a trick to help bridge that communication gap. Maybe it will work for you, too.

Take your cues from the world of investing

Advisors may not always get marketing terms on first read. But they understand investment terms very well. That’s why I talk in terms of “passive” and “active” marketing.

Every advisor knows what passive means. Most have put at least some of their clients’ money in passive strategies like index funds or ETFs. These are vehicles that essentially run on autopilot. Once an investment is made, nobody is actively buying and selling stocks on the investor’s behalf. The market may go up, or it may go down. The investor is just along for the ride either way.

The opposite approach is active investing. In an active fund, a portfolio manager is always analyzing markets, researching companies, buying and selling securities, and striving to outdo the market.

Marketing has passive and active strategies as well. A static website is passive marketing. If you’re not doing anything to get your website in front of target audiences, it just sits there. Sure, you have to maintain it, but it’s not actively trying to bring you new audiences. Active marketing is the opposite. It requires you to constantly build your followers, add new eyeballs, tell your story, and publish new content. You’re always adjusting your tactics based on data so that you can reach new audiences. Social media straddles the line between the two. You can have content just sitting there passively on your website, but you can also actively promote it—posting articles on LinkedIn, tweeting out links, sharing content and actively engaging your audience.

Our job: Keeping advisors from taking the wrong shortcuts

So which approach is the right one?

Advisors always say to me, “We have our brochures and our website already, and we know our clients’ favorite holiday gifts. Can’t we just stick with passive strategies?”

I tell them: Sure you can! As long as you’re satisfied coasting along at your current rate of growth—the same way that a passive investor is satisfied with never trying to beat the market.

Guess what? Never once has an advisor told me they’re satisfied with their current rate of growth.

Remember back when we discussed the marketing funnel? How the lower part of the funnel consisted of prospects, but you always had to keep filling the top of the funnel with new audiences? Passive marketing only targets advisors’ current book of business and not much more. If an advisor wants to grow faster, they have to get active.

Next time, there’s one more survey finding we need to discuss. It reveals a serious disconnect between advisors and their vendors—and it’s a real shocker.