Over the summer, we had a client ask our team to put together a brand awareness campaign targeting a cold group of prospects. No problem, we do that all the time. The client had little to no budget for paid channels, so the bulk of our efforts were going to need to be executed organically and via email. And from the time the campaign launched, the client added, they wanted to see substantial results in 30 days.
Now there’s a problem. My team tried to explain that a month is simply an unrealistic time frame to expect significant results from any digital campaign, particularly one focused on brand awareness targeted to a cold audience, without the ad dollars necessary to accelerate visibility in critical channels. The client insisted. The campaign needed to produce high-quality leads in 30 days, clamoring to purchase their $40K+ ACV software.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a unique or isolated situation. Marketing continues to be misconstrued as a magic button that can just be flip-ped on, opening the floodgates to a pipeline of prospects eager to buy.
In fact, several times a week I paraphrase Joe Pesci’s iconic line in My Cousin Vinny: “Perhaps the laws of marketing cease to exist at your firm?” This pervasive misconception about marketing’s role, which often transcends the executive level, does real damage in two important ways:
1. Marketers are forced to act on short-term tactics that aren’t scalable, sustainable, or aligned with business goals.
2. The business itself misses out on the powerful, ongoing impact created by true marketing.
This is a good place for me to point out that quick wins do play a critical role in marketing success. The sign of a great marketing leader is being able to balance the right short-term initiatives with setting, executing, and optimizing a long-term strategy. When it’s done right, your firm’s marketing function should be responsible for:
• Understanding your target audience’s needs.
• Inspiring them to think differently about how they’re approaching their challenges.
• Building trust and brand affinity with educational content that helps them solve a problem or reach a goal.
• Creating demand for the solution you provide in service of their needs.
• Making it effortless for them to choose your firm when they’re ready to make a purchase.
The truth is, when you approach marketing with a long-term view, your short-term and ongoing results improve. Sending spam emails to pump up pipeline volume over a month-long period isn’t going to do anything except get your business sent to HubSpot jail. But executing marketing with the expectation of building a compounding growth engine over time will make everything more effective:
• Prospects will be much closer to a decision when they get to sales, because you’ve educated them through their buying journey.
• Sales cycle length and customer acquisition cost will decrease, because you’ve spent time building a foundation of trust and brand affinity.
• Word-of-mouth and referral traffic, the holy grail of marketing, will skyrocket, because you’re helping your audience solve critical business challenges with your marketing content.
• Retention will improve because you’re targeting the right people with the right message.
Another client we’ve been working with for some time on advisor recruitment marketing had some initial doubts when our engagement first began. He wasn’t seeing the interest from advisors as quickly as he’d expected. But he stayed the course, giving my team the time to do what they’re so good at doing. Fast forward 16 months, and he’s now petitioning FINRA to allow his firm to grow faster than regulations allow because advisor interest is so high. Changing your mindset about marketing will transform your results. Just not overnight.