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Episode 3: Mastering a marketing plan

Jun 16, 2014 @ 12:00 am

Runtime: 10:39

Marketing guru April Rudin sits down with makeover recipient Ken Podell to lay out the specifics of a comprehensive marketing plan that will get Ken's practice more visibility.

The Renovation Room

Industry experts and executives offer strategies, tips and ideas on how practices can improve their business.

Frank Maselli

Frank Maselli

Founder of The Financial Lifeguard Academy and The Maselli Group

Turning a practice around with the help of an outside marketing consultant can be miraculous, but risks running afoul of what I call the "The BBQ Syndrome." You throw gasoline on some coals, toss in a match and the result is an explosion of light and flame. But it's the steady heat after the flame dies down that does the real cooking.

It seems that Ken is in great hands with April. Her comprehensive internet marketing and branding strategy should produce some impressive exposure. Does Ken have the necessary attitude and ability to incorporate and sustain these changes? Will he be willing to invest the time and money to have April's firm handle his marketing/branding process going forward?

There's nothing wrong with using an outside partner or coach to keep you focused on growth and in front of new people. Many of us make our living from this valuable service. The days of the lone fighter pilot adviser are over. It's rare to find anyone who can manage money, nurture clients, handle compliance and run marketing all on their own. The key is finding a partner who knows the modern profession and takes the time to understand your deepest and most powerful strengths. Those are the critical elements to building a brand identity and generating new business.

April is obviously passionate and skilled, and she's taking most of the heavy lifting upon herself at this point. I have no doubt that she will do wonders for Ken and it will be fun to witness his rebirth.

Ray Sclafani

Ray Sclafani

Founder and CEO of ClientWise LLC

Ken has a lot to accomplish before he develops his web presence. His business has grown over 25 years. Ken is in a position to leverage this experience and create a more targeted approach moving forward, then spend time developing his digital marketing strategy.

I would recommend that in addition to narrowing his current focus based on age, and specification of pre-retirement planning for small businesses and professionals, Ken start by talking with his current clients to gain their perspective on his approach. These conversations will reveal more about the impact Ken provides as an adviser. How do his clients describe his work and where is he most effective in his services? From there he can determine how to improve or hone in on his ideal client and niche market.

The decision to jump immediately into creating a comprehensive marketing program prior to determining these things could be premature, since something like a social media presence might not be the highest priority based on Ken’s target market. Targeted coaching conversations with his clients could reveal much needed information to guide his marketing strategy.

Ken also needs to prove himself as an equal if not greater partner in the marketing process, since he and his team will be the ones driving it once April has provided her guidance. His investment in this process will provide an authenticity to his digital footprint and voice, which will be evident to clients and potential clients even over the internet.

Kelly LaPalio

Kelly LaPalio

Vice President of National Accounts, FocusPoint Solutions

Ken is a perfect example of an adviser who is so used to his situation that he hasn’t needed to explore beyond what has basically always been provided for him. At this point he probably doesn’t realize that — depending on where he wants to take his business — there are so many other options available to him that may work better for him than what he’s accustomed to.

To consider making these (necessary) changes must feel very overwhelming to Ken, especially since he hasn’t needed to make an effort to keep up with ever-evolving areas such as technology in the past. He has also probably always associated his own personal identity and brand as an adviser with the insurance firm he’s been affiliated with for so many years. Once he is really able to step outside his comfort zone, I’m confident Ken will discover that there are lots of resources he has access to — well above and beyond the other reps in his office.

As a first step in the process of transitioning to an updated business model, he could opt to hire a temp to get through the tedious (but finite) tasks of getting all client forms and documents scanned into an adequate online storage system, plus transferring all client information into an appropriate CRM tool. Then, if he wanted to avoid hiring additional staff beyond say one key person, Ken could likely outsource virtually every non-client-facing aspect of his business.

He has already chosen to outsource his new marketing, branding, and website design to a competent partner. Beyond that, there are many firms to whom he could choose to delegate other activities, such as compliance support, back office assistance (reporting, trading, billing, etc.), portfolio management/investment research, etc. This would free up his time to do what he appears to enjoy most, which is working with and focusing on his clients.


What do you think?

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