[In a rapidly changing business environment, it is important to hit the “pause” button regularly and have a deep think. Accelerating change requires a commitment to ongoing reassessment of your activities because mindsets, resources and strategies are evolving faster than the industry can keep up. You need to take time to continuously rethink and develop new perspectives on what works, why, and how you apply them to move your business forward.
To that end, we reached out to Institute members Kirk Lowe and Matt Halloran of Proudmouth — a done-for-you podcasting and influence accelerator company that has a great tagline of “liberating financial experts from the torment of sales.” Based on a great discussion they had on their Top Advisor podcast “Our 7 Biggest Marketing Lessons From 2021 for Financial Advisors,” we wanted to dig more into their insightful observations and how they turned their lessons learned from a very hectic year into marketing approaches that scales advisors’ credibility and attracts ideal clients.]
Bill Hortz: What was happening with your business in 2021 that caused you to take stock on your activities?
Kirk Lowe: In 2021, we rebranded from Top Advisor Marketing to ProudMouth, surpassed 300 episodes of the Top Advisor Marketing podcast, expanded to over 100 industry podcasts that we run for industry experts, and built a learning platform called PodRocket Academy. While these are all great milestones for our company, the most valuable milestone is the creation of our RocketBooster Influence Assessment. We have known for years that most advisors do not have a marketing plan. What is worse is how few know what good marketing is. And it’s not the advisors’ fault. They have been misled by so many marketing “experts.” Our assessment will help advisors, and other professionals, score their marketing gameplan, identify gaps in thinking and tactics, and show them how to fill the gaps with links to courses, resources and experts all located inside of our online academy. We have systematized creating a robust marketing plan with the why, how and who. We think it is going to be a game changer for advisors and the companies they work with.
Matt Halloran: We have been busy. And we learned a lot about marketing last year, but we had to sit down to regularly review and discuss together, to pull out lessons and develop new strategies and actions from all this whir of activity. We cannot really change how market advisors if we cannot help them where they’re at, and why. If they do not have the mindset to be successful for the next 5-10 years, we need to fix that.
Listening is everything, so we asked ourselves, “what do advisors need to change their trajectory and sustain that?” We are going to keep asking that question, but we have taken a huge leap in answering it for advisors. Our next big challenge here is to start benchmarking the industry and how good a job everyone is doing at marketing, company to company, and advisor to advisor. Another way we can help do this is by making it easy for advisors to track their RocketBooster Influence score as they implement their tactics. We have gamified marketing but not at the cost of marketing excellence. We are super proud of this.
Hortz: What process do you both follow to arrive at your learnings and develop them into strategies for advisors?
Lowe: We follow a Kaizen mantra of continuous growth and gradual improvement. We also take a Lean Startup approach by testing and improving before we launch new tactics, courses, and services. A year ago, we hired an analytics expert which has helped us take a deeper look at what is happening with our clients’ success; some why are killing it and where others can use more help. This played a substantial impact in us building the influence assessment. We are investing cash flow back into helping our clients achieve more success, more quickly and more sustainably.
Halloran: We first practice before we preach. We have built our business on the exact same marketing principles and tactics that we teach and do for advisors. We also learn from the 5 years of collaborating with advisors, and the many fintech, wealthtech, media, and RIAs we serve. I would say most recently our Mastermind groups have produced some great ideas, several of which have been implemented in our teachings and service protocols.
Hortz: What were some of the biggest lessons you both determined about advisor marketing and engagement efforts?
Lowe: Mindset is probably the number one lesson. If your worldview of marketing is not right, your marketing will fail. It may fail slowly but eventually it will fail and when you realize it, you will be years behind. The people who invest in relationships with their ideal audiences focus on their credibility, and then scale that. They are building marketing equity with their audience. We used to call that “rapport building” so you could “sell” someone. Now we call it “Influence” so you can “turn a skeptic into a fan” over time. We call this the “Influence Continuum”, moving people from skeptic to fan over time.
In the past, advisors have learned to do this with interruption marketing, event marketing, or cookie-cutter marketing campaigns. These things do not move people from skeptics to fans, hence their marketing is not moving their business forward. This type of marketing has no soul. Great marketing has a soul – you, what you know, who you serve, and what you care about. Filling the pipeline is important, but not if your marketing has no soul, and does not attract the right people for the right reasons.
Halloran: Time is a big lesson. Powerful marketing takes time and advisors need to trust the process. This is why many do not do well at building sustainable marketing. They are always focused on short-term results, not long-term momentum. The thought-leaders many of us recognize took 10+ years to build their authority. Most advisors I have met and talked to want success in 90-180 days. It is absurd to think about achieving anything worthwhile in this timeframe. As a relatable story, imagine networking to build relationships with centers of influence then expecting them to refer you to their best clients within 90 or even 180 days? The other absurdity is thinking your canned email newsletter and cookie cutter social media posts will build relationships with them while you wait. They will not. Find the right process, implement, and let time and consistency work its magic.