Small Changes for a BIG Impact

Did you know that Missy Schoedel is a competitive power lifter? She held two state records and competed at Worlds last year in Las Vegas. However, if you meet her at a 401(k) conference, you could never tell by merely looking at her.

It’s the commitments of our life that make us unique – the little characteristics and idiosyncrasies that define us as people. As one of my brilliant friends said, “We are all just coin-operating machines.” Yet, the non-coin (salary) interests are what make us interesting.

If you want to do something well, two major phrases come to mind: “consistency over time” and “it’s all in the details.”

These phrases ring true for marketing too. Focus on the details. Would you like to be known as an expert? Here’s an example:

  • What industry awards have you won?
  • Are you writing articles that demonstrate your knowledge?
  • Tell us about your case studies showing your client experiences.
  • What boards and steering committees do you sit on?
  • Have you authored a book, white paper, or other publication(s)?
  • Are you asked to speak on panels or mainstage about a topic?
  • What webinar presentations are you hosting to share your ideas?

These are all advanced marketing techniques to help you create the culture of authority. The more responses you have to these questions, the more your community will see you as an expert. Keep in mind that most experts – in the beginning – had to reach out and ask for these opportunities. They weren’t waiting by the phone. So, find local chapters and volunteer to help. Share your experience, papers, and thoughts to gain authority and ask to join the next meeting and/or conference. Small changes over time lead to big success.

For example, let’s say the first public speaking event is at a local Rotary Club. How did it go? There were about 20 people in the audience. Were you excited? Do these kinds of events every chance you can. As you speak and gain comfort in groups of 20, 50, 100, 300 and 1,000 people, it will become easier to achieve bigger and bigger expert-level speaking opportunities.


Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here


If you would like to put this into practice, take a look at the questions above and write out your responses. Identify any soft spots in your business and then seek out ways to strengthen them.

For example, if you haven’t yet acquired any industry awards, go to the website that discusses the award (for example, NAPA’s Top DC Advisor Firms) and fill out their questionnaires.

By taking the time to reply (and record) your responses to these questions, you are helping your business in three very impactful ways:

  1. You are defining your mission statement and value proposition.
  2. You will have ready biographies and firm overviews.
  3. You will have a deeper understanding (and in writing) of the services and offerings you provide to your retirement plan clients.

This will help immediately and in the long term. Many of the questionnaires for industry awards ask about your professional background and firm, so by having that information polished, professional and available, it can position you for success. This means it will take less time to complete the questionnaires and you can focus your time on the case study questions that promote your passion for the industry and client results.

Circling back to competitive powerlifting – it’s about putting in the work. Reaching a goal, weather that is a 350-pound deadlift or being recognized as a 401(k) expert, is achieved by making improvements every day and focusing on the details.

Hope that is helpful and Happy Marketing!

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

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