Should it Cost $40,000 for Marketing Materials?
Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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Some of my advisors are pushing hard to update our marketing materials. Our website was developed 12 years ago and our materials are 10 years old. I understand the need for refreshing marketing, but the quote we received (for $40,000.00) is outrageous.
Is it necessary to spend so much money to do a refresh? How important is it to update your materials on a regular basis?
Do you consider every 10-12 years to be a “regular” basis? I would agree with you if you were doing a refresh every 12-18 months. But it is reasonable to consider an entire overhaul a decade or more after you’ve put your messaging together. Reviewing the messaging every couple of years and a refresh every three to five years is a good idea. You might review it and decide where you are is great, but it is worth having a regular schedule of consideration. The market changes, the competition increases, and your offering might shift. Making sure you are in alignment is important.
To your question of cost – it is an “it depends” answer. I’ve seen advisors pay upwards of $100,000 on a website overhaul and I’ve seen it all done for around $15,000-20,000. It depends on the vendor, their process, their knowledge of the industry and/or website development and your relationship with them. It can be worth paying more if you are going to have a good partner in developing this next phase for your firm.
The overall answer to your question is “yes.” You should be upgrading your materials. I often say that – in a high-end services business – nothing sells via the website. If you are hawking products that can easily be purchased, then website sales are common. But for a relationship-driven, expensive service business like ours, you aren’t going to sell a wealthy prospect via your website. You will get inquiries and you might get someone to fill out whatever questionnaire or form you have, but you aren’t likely to grow by closing prospects via the website.
However (and it is a big “however”), you have no idea what potential clients you are losing who come to your website and see something that was designed 12 years ago. Just like any trend – the countertops in your kitchen, the suits or dress clothing you wear, the car you drive – things change. Items become outdated and are noticeably so to the audience. Many of my advisor clients are concerned about multi-generational marketing and appealing to the younger generations who will inherit this wealth and/or build their own. The next generations (and even some of the retiring ones looking for an advisor…) will hear a name and Google it to see what the firm is all about. If they come to an outdated or difficult to navigate or unappealing website that doesn’t ask them to learn more, they are going to move on and go to the next option. There are a lot of options. Having a clean, clear, crisp, updated website is very important. It’s your face to the market and people do make judgments on you for better or for worse.
Only you can determine your budget for this and if the firm you are talking to is worth the investment, but I will heartily endorse the process and your need to do this. Don’t wait – make it a 2021 priority.
I’m not sure if this is too psychological, but our advisory firm has never been stronger – our growth rates are amazing, we’re closing new business and onboarding new clients and our existing client retention is right at 100%. Our recent client survey results were the best they’ve been in the 12 years we’ve surveyed. We’re all making more money than we ever have before.
In the midst of this, my partners and I talk about how depressed and worried we are. I know you work with many advisory firms – is this normal?
How do you define “normal”! This week alone I have had advisors talk to me about “Zoom fatigue,” “change fatigue,” “fear of what’s next,” “fear of the unknown,” “exhaustion,” (from working too much) and “overall malaise.” These have been challenging times from a cultural and lifestyle perspective. No matter where you live in the country you’ve been touched by something – COVID for sure, but also weather-related tragedies and lots of infighting.
Then take the incredible success we’ve seen in the financial services business. Most of my advisor clients are having their best year ever, or if not the best, very strong years. Many are seeing record numbers of referrals and new prospects. There has been a lot of wealth created and the market has been strong. Those two factors (and, of course, excellence in running the business and having a strong team) has meant it’s been a long celebration of success.
Now put these two together. Should you be exuberant or humbled? Should you be celebratory or worried? Should you dance in the streets or hunker down and hope everything passes? The answer depends on the day or the week, the week in the month and the month in the year, and also what’s going on with you. As one example, and there are many, I have an advisor who I enjoy dealing with very much and whose business is strong. Both of this advisor’s parents are very ill with COVID – the mom is fighting for her life. This advisor went from high fiving and being excited about the possibilities for the practice, to working with healthcare providers to figure out the next steps for sick parents and barely able to speak to me because of this commitment.
I had another advisor making great strides in taking a series of clients from his partner. He had a good plan in place and was making great progress. He is on the west coast and has friends and family who had lost homes or had to move due to the wildfire conditions. He has become very engaged in helping them to relocate and said to me, “I can’t focus all of my attention on my firm when people I care about need me so much.”
There are just as many who have been untouched directly, but who are depleted from watching the news. One of my clients, in a recent teambuilding call where we were talking about negative experiences during the last 18 months, observed how down he often feels after watching the news and he continues to question whether we’ll ever get back to a unified country. He says it colors his day, and he has to work hard to pull his attention back to positive things.
This is what many people are facing. If you aren’t touched closely, you are probably touched by extension, and everyone is feeling some emotional tug in one direction. The fact is that both emotions are real – celebrate and honor your success, and experience the “down” emotions that come from the unknown and the fearful events going on. I prefer to stay on the positive side as much as possible, but you also have to be real. Don’t be falsely optimistic or upbeat if you aren’t feeling it. But when it is appropriate, celebrate the wins and honor your staff by acknowledging what they have done well during these difficult and challenging times.
Beverly Flaxington co-founded The Collaborative, a consulting firm devoted to business building for the financial services industry in 1995. The firm also founded and manages the Advisors Sales Academy. She is currently an adjunct professor at Suffolk University teaching undergraduate and graduate students Entrepreneurship and Leading Teams. Beverly is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA).
She has spent over 25 years in the investment industry and has been featured in Selling Power Magazine and quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, Investment News and Solutions Magazine for the FPA. She speaks frequently at investment industry conferences and is a speaker for the CFA Institute.