The year is almost over. That means it’s time to write your annual marketing plan. (You do have a plan, right? I hope you aren’t spending money without one!) The next few posts are going to show you how to create a plan that gets results—and have fun doing it.

Let’s face it. Most of the time, an annual planning meeting is kind of a downer. It starts by looking backward. What did we achieve against our business plan? Where did we fail? What worked, what didn’t? Obviously, no firm reaches 100% of its goals, so there are bound to be some disappointments. That’s why this part of the process usually feels about as much fun as weighing yourself.

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I’ve been writing about Penton’s for a few weeks. There’s one final data point you might find interesting.Sixty percent of service providers don’t personalize their marketing to advisors.

To refresh your memory, half of these companies employ full-time staff dedicated to delivering marketing support to advisors. Over 70% say that value-added services are “core” to their offering, not an ancillary supplement. Yet 60% don’t bother to personalize their appeals to advisors?

I’ve worked with many large financial and FinTech companies. I know exactly how people who work in those organizations talk. Personalization would be great, a real “nice to have.” Maybe next quarter you’ll try something. You just don’t have the staff or technology to do everything you like right now, unfortunately.

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Last time, I may have given a few people a heart attack. As I mentioned, according to
The Penton’s surveys, companies that provide value-added marketing support to advisors are wasting millions of dollars. Because they’re providing elaborate educational platforms and practice management programs that 75% of advisors don’t even use.

This week, I want you to calm down. You don’t have to cancel all your programs or tell the team to pack up their family photos and cat magnets. You just have to focus your investment dollars where they will make the biggest impact.

What is making an impact these days? Turnkey marketing programs. While your 50-page white paper pdfs sit around unread, advisors are gobbling up quick, easily executed solutions.

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I’ve been talking about the Penton’s surveys of advisors and their service providers. If you’re a vendor who provides value-added marketing services to advisors—or if you’re an advisor who uses those services—here’s some data you definitely need to see.

Let’s start with questions from the survey of service providers.

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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.

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Wondering what advisors are really doing for marketing this year? Want to know whether their service providers are in sync with their needs? If so, this post is for you.

FiComm recently got a look at survey data on both groups from a study conducted by Penton’s I had the privilege of moderating a panel with powerhouse industry marketers at the Executive Forum and Industry Gala that discussed the surveys at length. I can’t share everything that’s in the report, but I can pass along some topline results you’ll probably find interesting—whether you’re an advisor or a marketing partner.

Let me make a confession. The very first thought that occurred to me when I saw the data was, “We have a lot of work to do.”

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“So, let me ask you this, ‘What persona are you speaking to with your marketing efforts?’”

There’s a dead silence on the other end of the line, before, “Well, my clients have an average of $500,000 in investable assets and are rapidly approaching retirement.”

When marketers talk about personas, it’s a much more complex idea than you may think. It’s not just a “who is your client” question, but a “why are they your client,” a “what language do they prefer to use,” and a “how to serve ads to them on social media” question.

If you haven’t drawn up profiles for your target personas, your messaging could be missing the mark.

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Inbound Marketing and Why Advisors Must Pay Attention

Last week, the FiComm marketing team traveled to Boston to attend Inbound 2017. This remarkable event brings over 20,000 marketers together from around the globe to inform, inspire, and lead marketing transformation across geographies and sectors. What is most intriguing about Inbound is that for an event targeted at sophisticated digital/social/mobile marketing strategies, the mission is to “celebrate the human, helpful side of business”.

I was not able to join our marketing team at Inbound because I had the privilege of speaking at other notable industry events including Insider’s Forum, DISRUPTadvice, and ECHELON Partners Deals and Deal Makers Summit. But there is an important connection here. At each of those events, I felt like I was shouting at the top of my lungs about the need for our industry to evolve our marketing practices in new and exciting ways, with the same passion as the speakers at Inbound. The difference? I bet the speakers at Inbound didn’t hear these responses; “My clients are not on social media,” or “My clients do not want to get emails from me,” or “Snackable content diminishes my expertise,” or “My prospects are the ultra-affluent and cannot be communicated with that way.” To which I respond, you’re missing the point.

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“What marketer isn’t technical? Who hasn’t entered a tracking code onto a website, or created last-minute tag attributions?” begins today’s session on Google Analytics (GA). What marketer isn’t technical, indeed. I know I’m guilty of it: using words and concepts that leave clients in the dark.

With that in mind, let’s be honest: GA is a fascinating and terrifying place. It’s like a CRM (like Marketo or Pardot), only on steroids. You can get really granular in your marketing analysis when you’re running your reporting out of GA, but unless you know what you’re looking for, it can be overwhelming.

So, for today’s lessons from Inbound17, here are a few high-level things web tracking can help you find.

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The FiComm team is back with your daily update from Inbound17, where marketers are discussing the future of marketing. A common theme, though, is the need to talk about the past – as in, what no longer works. SEO is still a thing, but not keyword SEO. Direct mail is making a comeback as individual tracking codes increase in popularity. But nothing is quite so contentious as email.

We in the marketing industry are always so eager to tackle the newest, most innovative way to engage with our audience, there’s a pretty wide margin of error in this space. More so than any other marketing pillar, email is built on trust. Your subscribers and lists have given you permission to communicate directly with them, and it’s an avenue that – when implemented correctly – can leverage a brand’s referrals.

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