Welcome back to the 154th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today’s podcast is Mary Beth Storjohann. Mary Beth is the chief marketing officer for Abacus Wealth Partners, an independent RIA based in Santa Monica, California that oversees nearly $2.6 billion of assets under management for almost 1,700 clients.
What’s unique about Mary Beth, though, is that up until very recently, she was the founder of her own independent advisory firm, Workable Wealth, and despite, and in fact because of the successful growth of her solo practice, decided the best way to continue advancing her own personal mission of expanding her financial planning impact was to sell her firm and to take on a marketing leadership role in an even larger firm instead.
In this episode, we talk in-depth about what it means to be a chief marketing officer of a large independent advisory firm. How Mary Beth allocates a marketing budget of just 2.5% of revenue that still adds up to nearly half a million dollars to allocate for marketing purposes, the relative split of marketing dollars towards staff to help implement marketing strategies versus direct spending on sponsorships and advertising, and how Abacus’s marketing team funnels all of its activity to a lead intake team, whose job is to screen all the firm’s prospects to determine who is qualified and who should be referred out instead.
We also talk in-depth about how Mary Beth developed avatars for the firm’s marketing, formally defined marketing personas like builders, protectors, and changemakers that the firm uses to more clearly determine where they should be and not be targeting their marketing dollars, how the firm developed a brand style guide so all the advisors of the firm can communicate in a consistent manner when marketing, and why Mary Beth decided to remove the contact form from the Abacus website altogether and instead, just install an embedded scheduling app to let prospects instantly and immediately set up a time for an initial call with the firm.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Mary Beth shares her ideas about what any advisory firm regardless of size can do to better improve its marketing, given her own experience in both a very large advisory firm, and having previously worked as a solo practitioner. Why often the biggest improvement that advisory firms can make is simply removing the impediments they’re unwittingly creating that may reduce their marketing effectiveness, and Mary Beth’s philosophy that the long-term key to marketing is all about brand consistency, which means it’s better to spend a small amount of marketing dollars in a very consistent manner for a long period of time than trying to spend a large amount of money in a very short period of time.