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For a minute, put yourself in the place of a prospect.
Imagine that you’re a 45 year old executive with a bulging 401(k). You’ve managed to squirrel away seven figures for retirement, and you know you should hire a financial advisor but haven’t gotten around to it.
You have a short list of advisors who have been recommended to you over the years, and you decide to check out their websites.
At the first website, you click on a link for “Retirement” and are presented with a video and slideshow featuring various retirement facts. The content looks nice, but it doesn’t really sell you on the advisor’s value so you move on.
You open the second website and see a similar menu with the same link. Again, you click on the word “Retirement” and are presented with…
Wait a minute.
It’s the exact same page you just saw on the last website you visited!
Now you’re confused. Is this the same company?
Unfortunately, this scenario plays out more often in our industry each day. I’m frequently told war stories by advisors who say: “One of my clients received my email newsletter from a competitor” or “one of my prospects asked me why I have the same website content as their insurance agent.”
Because I’m connected with hundreds of advisors on social media, I also witness this problem firsthand. It’s not uncommon for my social feeds to be cluttered by the same post repeating over and over again -- auto-published by tens of thousands of advisors who subscribe to the same marketing suite. Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a weird marketing version of the movie Groundhog Day.
Which brings me to the biggest lie advisor marketing companies sell:
“It doesn't matter if you publish the same marketing content as your competition.”
Granted, they may not come right out and speak the lie in this way. But every time they tell an advisor there’s nothing wrong with using the same content as tens of thousands of other advisors, they’re not telling the truth.
Here are two reasons why this particular deception is so dangerous:
First, it leads advisors to an action that undermines their credibility. And credibility, one could argue, is the most important thing for a financial advisor to have.
Second, it makes all advisors look the same. Instead of capturing attention by standing out, they just blend in. This lack of differentiation means getting noticed by fewer prospects. So in effect, this practice gets the opposite result of what is intended. Rather than helping advisors, it actually hurts them.
Think: can you imagine any company of significance using the same marketing as their competition? Would Walmart and Amazon ever publish the same content? Of course not! It’s a terrible business practice.
And yet, advisors get duped into doing this all the time.
The Proper Way
How can advisors make sure they are doing the right type of marketing for their business? One key way is by refusing to publish the same content as their competitors.
There are really only three types of content advisors should use1 (in order of value):
- Original Content
- Exclusively Licensed Content
- Curated Content
Original content is best because it showcases the things that make an advisor unique, cannot be duplicated, and is custom tailored for the target audience. Exclusively licensed content is a close second because it cannot be used by competitors and allows for differentiation within a geographic area. Curated content has less value because there’s really nothing unique about it, but it does give advisors a chance to share helpful resources and highlight what they care about.
Crisis of Differentiation
There is a major crisis of differentiation in our industry today. Sadly, advisors are being sold a bill of goods by marketing providers that only exacerbates this problem. To be fair, there are some marketing companies who offer great custom solutions for advisors, but they are the exception. The vast majority of advisors are being duped into a practice that hurts their business and our industry as a whole.
Don’t be a victim of the biggest lie advisor marketing companies sell. The next time you’re evaluating a marketing partner, tell them you require either original content or exclusive rights to a protected territory. If they won’t deliver for you, move on.
1You can read more about the different types of advisor marketing content and its value in The Worst Kind of Financial Advisor Marketing.