Skip to main content

You are here


Are Throwbacks Ready for a Comeback?

As throwbacks are becoming the new norm, I was thinking about “traditional marketing” and if there might be a new place for some throwback ideas.

This year has been a wedding season to remember, with many of my friends officially tying the knot! At the receptions, each DJ played their fair share of a variety of modern dance music and classic rock. But one particular song by the Backstreet Boys, “Everybody,” was a hit at every one.

Here are three throwback ideas to consider.

Carrier Pigeons

Who doesn’t like a gift? Take a look at your desk. I am willing to bet that you have least one DCIO's or record keeper's branded promotional item. Personally, I have about 10 water bottles from different conferences, and I love them. I even have a wine opener that is at least seven years old. (It’s getting a little worn down, so just a heads up: I could use a new one.)

Now, I'm not recommending that you go out and purchase a million Fidget Spinners. However, consider purchasing some client appreciation items. When you meet with your plan sponsor clients, give them a branded gift.

If you can’t meet with your clients in person, then send a gift via modern carrier pigeons like FedEx, UPS or USPS. We all enjoy getting a present in the mail, and it’s certainly going to put a big smile on your client’s face.

However you go about it, this will show your gratitude, act as a constant reminder, is a potential future conversation starter, and will help to promote your business in the local community.

Snail Mail

On average, working professionals receive 88 emails per day. Our inboxes are overflowing. Yet our mailboxes are virtually empty.

When an employer receives a direct mailer, they do one of three things:

  1. Place it in the recycle bin

  2. Open and read it

  3. Open and place it somewhere to look at later (Jackpot!)

One of our clients called us recently and said, “Hey, you will never believe this. Remember that direct mailer we sent out? Well, a plan sponsor just called me and said that postcard sat on his desk for two months staring at him. When is a good time to meet?”

It happens, and it works.

We all like to receive information in different ways and sometimes going back to “traditional” marketing is a way for you stand out. When everyone is fast to email, maybe it’s wise to be slow and send snail mail.

Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here

Dog and Pony Show

Am I the only one that feels like there is no time? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.8 hours every day. However, a study of nearly 2,000 full-time office workers revealed that most people aren't working for most of the time they're at work.[1. Curtin, Melanie. “In an 8-Hour Day, the Average Worker Is Productive for This Many Hours,”]

The most popular unproductive activities listed were:

  • Reading news websites: 1 hour 5 min

  • Checking social media: 44 min

  • Discussing non-work-related things with co-workers: 40 min

  • Searching for new jobs: 26 min

  • Taking smoke breaks: 23 min

  • Making calls to partners/friends: 18 min

  • Making hot drinks: 17 min

  • Texting or instant messaging: 14 min

  • Eating snacks: 8 min

  • Making food in office: 7 min

So, get retirement plan decision makers out of the office. Host an event. Have plan sponsors in the same room with quality, timely and relevant information. Educate them on their fiduciary responsibilities, updates on regulations or ways to inspire financially fit employees. By removing day-to-day distractions, you can stand out as an authority.

And work with your local SHRM chapter to have your presentations approved for continuing education credits. Many HR directors need either SHRM or HR CE credits to keep their designations, so use this to boost attendance and demonstrate partnership. For more information on how to qualify your event for either SHRM CE and/or HR CE, see these resources:

Throwbacks Might Be the New Comebacks

Just because it’s not Top 40, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. When the DJs played the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody,” everybody hit the dance floor. Off key and out of sync, we didn’t care.

It’s the same with marketing. These types of marketing techniques are familiar and have worked for years, so maybe it’s time to remember, “Oh my God, we're back again.”

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing.



All comments
Richard Miles
1 year 5 months ago
great post