“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
If you are like most advisors, then you certainly understand how challenging planning a marketing calendar for your business can be. It is not always easy to know which events to do, when to do them, and how best to plan them. In fact, the grandiosity many associate with planning all marketing activities long into the future can seem terrifying, especially when you consider how quickly things can change overnight (new technology, changing markets, shifting crises on the international political spectrum, competition, etc.). How does it possibly make sense to plan an event like a wine tasting this time next year when so many other things are still unknown?
Because of this uncertainty, financial advisors often get caught up in an unnecessary web of complexities surrounding their marketing. Some would lead those advisors to abandon a well-thought-out plan and use only short-burst marketing tactics instead. This is typically reframed with sexier terms like agile marketing and these short, intensive bursts within it are usually called sprints.
Rather than planning long into the future, agile marketing operates only a few months out at a time, focusing less on the bigger picture and more on what is right in front of the advisor right now.
On the surface, agile marketing can certainly seem preferable to long-term planning, and this is the trap many advisors get caught in. It sounds exciting, fast, and energetic; but once you start peeling back the layers, you cannot help but notice that an overreliance on short-term marketing sprints can be seriously detrimental to the health of the business, the advisor, and his/her team. Constant reactive marketing is tedious and strenuous; furthermore, it can often lead to a lack of planning overall in favor of what is hot right now. It is a focused and concentrated push on accomplishing a single objective in a short period of time. Once that objective is completed, it is on to the next hot topic.
These fast, nimble, and reactive tactics disguise themselves as real strategies.
That is the deception of agile marketing.
Agile marketing is basically a tactic, a concerted effort to get something done. Tactics are not strategies; tactics are the action steps taken to accomplish strategies. Therefore, agile marketing is not a strategy; rather, it is an approach taken to accomplish a strategy.
Without a strategy, agile marketing is simply chaos.
Please note that agile marketing is a wonderfully powerful tool; but fundamentally, it is not a plan. It would be like an aerospace engineer choosing to forego drawing up the blueprints for a jetliner and instead deciding to build the plane while it is on the runway waiting for takeoff. Would you honestly fly in a plane knowing an engineer did not use a blueprint to build it?
The real strategy is in creating the blueprint, not in using the tools.
A 12-month marketing plan is an advisor’s blueprint. It breaks the advisor’s goals into bite-sized steps so that he/she can execute each one to perfection. A 12-month marketing calendar is much more proactive in its momentum, much like a freight train. Once it gets moving, it can be a powerful force. However, if built hastily (or without vision), it can be slower to build up steam and harder to adjust when things get rocky.
A marketing calendar should not be a collection of short-term wishes or one-off strategies. It takes time to strategize and implement a plan for the year to make sure goals are getting accomplished. The most successful financial advisors carefully craft a marketing plan that typically covers a 12-month span while also being flexible enough to accommodate short bursts of marketing efforts as needed.
They use agile marketing as a tool when it is appropriate.
For example, when Brexit happened, the best advisors were able to adjust their long-term plans and react quickly with timely events and communications for their clients. They did not derail their whole marketing campaign or ignore Brexit entirely; they were flexible when they needed to be.
There is a huge difference between being flexible and not planning at all.
These successful advisors hold regular marketing meetings with their staff to ensure they are still on track with their goals. Whether these meetings are weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, they watch as times change and make adjustments accordingly – but they always have a plan. They never lose sight of the bigger picture.
So how does your marketing calendar hold up?
Are all of your marketing activities reactive? Perhaps you plan well in advance, but a rigid marketing calendar prevents you from pouncing on opportunities as they come. Here at Platinum Advisor Strategies, we truly focus on an advisor’s strategy. We have helped thousands of advisors grow their practice, and a well-built marketing calendar is quintessential to that growth. Give us a call and we can show you the techniques to build a solid blueprint for your marketing.