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What is the Real Cost of Marketing?

Did you know that plan sponsors are personally solicited for plan business four times a year on average?

Your rivals are meeting with your plan sponsor clients, demonstrating expertise through blog articles, educating on social media and gaining more and more local market share. Each day that your firm is not marketing, your competition is winning. Therefore, if you are not the one consistently educating and informing clients, it means that your competition is. Their marketing efforts are advancing their name, experience and services.

By implementing a marketing strategy, you can focus on retaining your current book of business, while dripping on prospects. A well put together marketing campaign can separate your firm from others and help you to become known as the retirement plan expert in your community. If your firm isn’t expressing your value, your company could be losing future revenue every single second.

However, you can change that right now. Let’s get started.

What is Your Time Worth?

The Nuveen Plan Profit (k)alculator can help you as an advisor understand how much your time is really worth. The worksheets discuss roles and responsibilities. Once they are fleshed out, they go on to address project ownership and if those services should be provided by you – the advisor – or, should they be partner-sourced?[1. Partner-sourced: combination of partnered and outsourced. For example, an internal wholesaler or recordkeeper who can help you research plan sponsor prospects in your region. The person is knowledgeable and trustworthy (partner) and outside of your immediate organization (outsourced).] The exercise is designed to help you look at your business and identify how to effectively service clients, while operating a successful business.

To get started, check out:

(Your) Time is Money

The next question is, “Should I be doing this? Or should I partner?” For certain services, such as client meetings, of course, you should be there. Whereas, for administrative duties such as running reports, should it be your time or that of a dedicated team member? What about a prospect meeting? Should it be your time to research the Form 5500 and look for key talking points? Or is this an opportunity for a partnership relationship – such as your friendly internal wholesaler? They know a lot of information about the 401(k) world, and could be a great (and free) professional to ask for support.

Let’s bring this topic back around to marketing. When it comes to researching, writing and creating your company’s marketing, how should you evaluate time versus dollar investment (cash money)?

Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here

Should your firm create all of your marketing content from scratch? Or is it a better investment to partner? Maybe it’s both. The reason it’s important to evaluate is to determine what makes sense based on your firm.

Also, keep in mind that the No. 1 service plan sponsors value in an advisor is retirement plan expertise. Content marketing can help you demonstrate this. Share your plan knowledge with sponsors, who may be hesitant to make changes through consistent marketing and help them see how hiring you (a retirement plan expert) could impact successful plan outcomes.

Limited on Time? Use Created Content and Focus on Execution

If you are part of a smaller team, then it might make sense to lean on partners to create (or co-create) content for you. It can take hours of time, research, design and compliance approval off your plate.

By leveraging pre-created content, it now becomes your firm’s role to focus on execution. It’s your firm’s role to get the word out there. You can promote the content on your website (blog articles, videos, infographics). Next, post the material on social media (updates, blog articles, events). Then, email your contacts timely retirement plan updates (newsletters, compliance calendars, infographics, checklists). Just a few ideas to get you started.

Keep in mind that many home offices have excellent retirement plan marketing materials. Give your HO a call and ask them to walk you through the already pre-approved and available content – it might even surprise you. Many recordkeepers, DCIOs, home offices and industry specialists have great content. Find the content you like and that your clients, prospects and centers of influence would get the most value from. If you are new to marketing and/or short on time, focus your time (or task team members) to distribute the content.

Have Lots of Time? Focus on Creating Original Content

Put your time to good use – and write a blog. Start off with a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Then write a post that explains each question. If you need additional help, check out this article:

Turn your blog articles into additional content marketing – such as infographics, webinar presentations, videos and, of course, an email campaign.

What is the Only Real Commodity?

Whatever the source – the most important take away here is to promote your retirement plan expertise.

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

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