We recently wrote about using “agile marketing tactics” and disguising them as strategy versus incorporating agile tactics into a well-thought-out marketing campaign. You can CLICK HERE to read that article. To further clarify the dangers, here are eight pitfalls that can happen when financial advisors fail to have a solid marketing strategy and only use agile marketing tactics:
1. Failure to properly plan your marketing can result in you unwisely spending money.
The irony is short-term marketing sprints do not actually save as much time and money as you might think; these sprints can sap a lot of time and resources from the core of your business resulting in higher labor and time costs allocated to your marketing. Planning only a few months at a time can also fool you into overspending your entire annual marketing budget in just a couple of months. A 12-month marketing calendar is ideal because it allows you to optimize how you spend your marketing budget throughout the year as well as ensure your marketing is balanced between proactive communications, engaging client events, and brand-awareness campaigns.
2. It is easier to conceal your overall spending when you are impulsively buying your marketing strategies as one-offs.
Companies that suggest you plan only a few months at a time might actually be knowingly taking advantage of your business. They may be using predatory selling techniques and preying on your immediate needs to try and sell you strategies that truly will not help your business grow. Think of it like walking into a retail store to buy a new movie, but a salesperson convinced you to also purchase a new TV, a popcorn machine, 3D glasses, a set of lounging chairs, and a bigger sound system to enhance your movie experience. That $25 movie suddenly became thousands of dollars. Did you really need all of those extras? Most likely not. Taking the time to craft your marketing plan well in advance helps prevent buyer’s remorse and ensures you are meeting your own goals and not the sales goals of other companies.
3. Some marketing activities simply take longer to plan out.
Many charitable events can take upwards of six months to plan and promote (or even longer). It is not realistic to expect large crowds at an event if the event was only planned a few months before and promotional notifications only started going out at the last minute. Even the creation of an invite for an event should be started no later than six-weeks before the event to ensure it has plenty of time to get designed, compliance-approved, printed, and mailed. Note that you still need the invite to hit mailboxes a couple of weeks before the event date to ensure there is enough time for clients to RSVP. Building brand awareness can take time, even with a well-crafted strategy. If you are not careful, you can lose sight of the bigger picture in your focus on the day-to-day grind.
4. Getting the best prices and availability for event venues is more difficult when you do not reserve them far enough in advance.
Many of the best dates, times, and places can be booked up (or worse, sell out completely) many months in advance, especially around the holidays. If you only plan out a few months at a time, you can severely limit the options available for your events and be stuck with whatever is leftover. The best stories clients will want to share with their friends and family are not often told using just the leftovers. Even if there is space left for a reservation, it can cost you many times more when you book it closer to the event date. Case in point, have you ever tried buying a plane ticket the day before your flight?
5. When plans are rushed, mistakes can happen.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks to agile marketing; its focus on quantity marketing rather than quality marketing. Nothing tarnishes a brand’s reputation faster than poor quality in content, design, and execution. Mistakes happen when things are rushed; it is like building a rocket ship while on the launch pad and the launch countdown has already started counting down. This is already a fast-paced industry, so there is no need to add more stress than necessary especially if much of it can be avoided.
6. Advisors’ schedules can fill up quickly leaving little to no time left for marketing activities.
Let’s face it. Financial advisors can have very busy schedules as they meet with clients and prospects. Their time is extremely valuable and some client meetings might be scheduled months in advance; but this is what grows the business. This is what advisors do best and should be doing with their time. When time has already been reserved, it is easy to see the difficulty squeezing in a chocolate tasting or educational event into whatever time is left over. Ideally, time for events should be reserved on an advisor’s schedule in advance to avoid these types of scheduling conflicts.
7. Being fast paced all of the time is exhausting.
Imagine an advisor doing short marketing bursts back to back…to back…to back; it is exhausting to keep up with that kind of momentum. Once one project is finished, the next one begins. Remember that each event typically takes a minimum of six weeks to plan, so there will be long spans of time with grueling activity. You are not focused on form, technique, or real strategy; everything is reduced to “getting everything done as quickly as possible.” It is like running a marathon at top speed without pacing yourself; eventually, your body will force itself to stop because it simply cannot handle the workload. There is a reason Usain Bolt – one of the world’s fastest runners in history – has reportedly never run more than a mile at a time. It is unrealistic to expect anyone to maintain those high speeds for the long haul without doing some serious damage to one’s health and wellness.
8. A lack of preparation often leads to inaction.
If an advisor does not adequately prepare marketing communications or events well enough in advance, he/she may believe there is not enough time left to act. The overwhelming amount of energy and resources that is needed to manage these short bursts of planning – plus the minimal amount of time available to complete them – can result in the marketing endeavors getting pushed out to later dates. This usually leaves advisors in a vicious cycle of constantly pushing marketing out and leaving trails of inactivity. The advisor may intend to do more client events, but a history of idleness speaks for itself.
If you have experienced any of the pitfalls mentioned above, it may be time to review your marketing activities with a marketing strategist. Give us a call and we can walk you through the proven techniques and strategies some of the most successful financial advisors in the industry have used when planning their own marketing calendars.