Marketing is one of the absolute keys to success for any business, especially a financial advisor practice. You can be a great advisor with lots of strong technical skills but if no one knows you exist, what good is that skill and technical strength?
There are a lot of different definitions of marketing but for me, marketing is simply communication. Marketing is the process and strategies to let clients and potential clients know about your products and services. It includes the sales process but is also bigger than just the sales process.
Traditional marketing strategies included communication through radio, print and television. When I first started my business, I utilized print media as a key marketing strategy. We held ‘FREE’ retirement workshops and to get people to attend, we spent money putting ads in a couple of the local newspapers. Print advertising was fairly costly given each ad was roughly $500 to $1500 per ad. The nice thing about print advertising is it tends to be sticky. In other words, people can cut out the ads and keep them unlike radio or television. I also explored some radio marketing on one of the local talk to the experts programs.
That was over 10 years ago. If I started the business again, would I stick with traditional forms of media marketing like newspaper ads and radio? Some argue that traditional media like print is dying a slow death given the massive growth of new media outlets like the internet and it’s applications like Facebook, Twitter, Linked in and YouTube.
Is the internet and social media the new future of marketing?
The answer is probably yes but that also does not mean that traditional forms of media will die a slow death.
The internet and social media have created a whole new set of tools for marketing. On one hand, social media strategies can have a huge reach and can be much more cost effective than traditional media forms.
On the other hand, social media can have too broad of a reach and you may not have to spend money but you may find that you waste hours and hours because social media is ‘noisy’ and distracting.
I think social media has taken a bite out of the market share of traditional media but I’m not sure traditional media is dead. There was a time when TV came along and then a lot of people thought that would be the end of radio. Not only has radio survived but it has evolved into other streams like satellite radio. Some thought the internet would crush television but TV is still as strong as ever. There’s no question TV, radio and print have had to adapt and change with the massive growth of the internet and social media but it is far from being a dinosaur.
Make a choice
If you have to choose, neither is better or worse. They both have pros and cons to any business. The challenge is more choice means more confusion. If you add in other marketing strategies like referral programs, seminars, networking, writing books and articles, etc we have so many marketing tools to choose from. It’s much easier making a decision between 2 or 3 choices as opposed to 10 or 15. Regardless, a choice needs to be made. Pick a few strategies (more than 1 and less than 6) and stick with it.
Success comes in developing a plan that includes a multi-tool marketing approach that might include some traditional media, some web based marketing strategies and maybe some other strategies. Find a way to coordinate the marketing into an integrated approach.