Marketing: Why You Need Both a Plan and a Strategy

Most advisors I meet want to know how to become better at marketing and what tactics and strategies are most certain to work. In short, they want to know what “good marketing” looks like and how to get it right for their firms.

The reason why advisory business owners frequently run into a wall with marketing, though, isn’t because they don’t know what to do. Rather, it’s because they don’t know the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.

A strategy and a plan are two distinct parts of marketing. It’s important to have both, and here’s how to develop them so they work together.

Defining Strategy and Plan

“Good marketing” simply is the true story you tell about your business and yourself. It explains what you do well and who benefits from that expertise.

Identifying what you do well is your marketing strategy. If your firm spends its time on creating extremely easy-to-read financial plans that are used in all meetings, then your strategy should focus on the value of that approach and process to prospective clients.

Your marketing plan is focused on how you go about communicating that value in a specific way. This is where tactics — like writing a monthly blog and sending email communications — enter the equation.

Identifying Return on Investment  

Before you can create and deploy an effective marketing plan based on the strategy, you must understand why most marketing strategies fail.

In the strategy phase of marketing, once you know your value and before you invest time and money into any tactics, there should be discussion about ROI expectations. In other words, if you spend $2,000 on marketing, what’s the number you hope to make back?

Even if a firm has a marketing plan, most advisors get tripped up by using the “spray and pray” method of marketing.

They think that the best way to ensure they meet their ROI is to use as many different tactics as possible and be everywhere all at once. They create a blog, post heavily on social media, start a podcast, and run Google ads, all at once.

But that approach merely serves to dilute an advisor’s focus. Instead of every tactic working, most often what happens is none do.

Advisors are much better served by finding only one thing to spend their marketing dollars on that will generate results and invest heavily in that tactic.

Be a Consistent Marketer

Marketing strategies and plans can work wonders if their existence can provide the feeling that you are in control of your growth. That feeling of control only lasts, however, if you continue to live by the strategy and execute on the plan consistently.

Consistency in marketing is about staying true to what you do well and knowing your desired outcome. You wouldn’t take on a client with $100,000 to invest who has no idea what they want to do with their money. That’s the start of a bad relationship and unhappy client.

To get results in marketing, you have to ask yourself what you want your outcome to be. Just like with financial planning, the goals you decide on will determine where the strategy takes you.

Only you can determine how much you are willing to invest in marketing, and your target ROI.

Beginning with knowing what you do well and setting the ROI, the payoff in growth on your marketing plan will work to consistently communicate it. As a result, success is more likely.

 

Janelle B. Smith

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