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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: John Wernz on Growth Via Organic Marketing

John Wernz describes how he built the organic marketing engine at Wealth Enhancement Group.



Welcome back to the 201st episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is John Wernz. John is the former chief marketing officer for Wealth Enhancement Group, an independent RIA based in Minneapolis that has nearly 20 billion of assets under management for nearly 20,000 affluent clients. What’s unique about John, though, is the way he’s scaled Wealth Enhancement Group’s organic growth through marketing over the past decade, as the firm has grown from nearly 1 billion of AUM to nearly 20 billion, attracting more than 1.5 billion of net new client assets in the past year alone, not including acquisitions.

In this episode, we talk in-depth about how John built the organic marketing engine at Wealth Enhancement Group, why direct mail became a foundation for the firm’s growth strategy, how Wealth Enhancement Group leverages third-party data sources to enrich its client personas to better target its marketing, why the firm uses a centralized sales team to field all prospecting queries before handing them off as leads for local advisors to close in service, and how John structures what is now a 30-person marketing team to execute across all of Wealth Enhancement Group’s marketing channels.

We also talk about the economics and metrics of advisor marketing. How John evaluates the lifetime value of a client to the firm and why the company will happily spend more than $5,000 to get one new client. The core marketing metrics that Wealth Enhancement Group uses to track its success, including cost per lead, cost per appointment, cost per client, and why the firm doesn’t target a certain percentage of revenue to spend on marketing and sales, and instead uses a media efficiency ratio to determine which marketing programs are worth sustaining or not.

And be certain to listen to the end where John shares how Wealth Enhancement Group’s marketing success has led to a unique acquisition strategy to accompany it targeting firms in metropolitan areas that have enough depth to deploy their marketing strategies in that new market. How a growth-based acquisition strategy can result in cost synergies with a merger but avoid any layoffs in the acquired firm. And why John sees digital marketing from SEO to social media advertising, paid search to re-targeting, and more, as the next great frontier of scalable advisor marketing.

So whether you’re interested in learning how John’s firm uses direct mail marketing, how he calculates the firm’s media efficiency ratio, or how Wealth Enhancement Group uses acquisitions to open up new marketing channels, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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