Are you missing the biggest predictor of your future growth?

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  • Why “shiny object” marketing works.
  • Why “shiny object” advertising is killing your business.
  • Why it matters what your audience thinks before they even know they need you.
  • How to position your brand in the ICS.

Why are so many in this financial advisor channel using the same approach to marketing?

You know what I mean. Week after week you see the same approach – “Here’s the latest innovation” or “Check out this new strategy or product” or “We’ve found the secret to success.”

In each case, there’s an attempt to use novelty to get an immediate response.

Here’s the temptation – humans have an attraction to “novel” ideas. We as human beings love novelty. Neurologically, it has been demonstrated that exposure to something new and unfamiliar increases the release of dopamine in the brain. Novelty makes our brains feel like there is a possibility for reward waiting for us just around the corner. That potential for pleasure motivates us to seek it out. It’s the psychological trigger behind “shiny object” marketing.

This is called “direct response advertising.” The goal is to get the consumer to take some immediate action. It’s a totally legitimate approach.

Lots of folks in this space do direct response and do it well. But we also hear from many who confess they aren’t doing as well as they used to do.

Here’s the bigger issue: has your audience over-dosed on you?

Roy Williams offers these insights:

“If your direct-response ads aren’t working, there are only three possible shortcomings.

  1. The ad is not remarkable. People aren’t talking about it.
  2. The ad is not credible. In other words, it’s hype.
  3. The message isn’t urgent. There is no need to take immediate action.

NOTE: There has never been a direct-response ad campaign that was sustainable in the long-term. Because the longer you repeat a message, the less remarkable it becomes.

Direct response – “Take Action NOW” marketing – is different from customer bonding.

Customer bonding ads build long-term reputation and relationship. Direct-response ads erode it. This is why you should use direct-response ads with the same restraint you use prescription opioids.

Long-term customer bonding is the way big brands, and big companies, are built.”

The purpose of customer bonding is to become the provider that people think of immediately and feel the best about when they – or any of their friends – need what you sell.

You have to begin reaching them before they need you, and then wait until they do.

We talked about the importance of the customer bonding strategy in our blog post Redefining Top of Mind Marketing for Financial Advisors. The key is to be one of the 2 or 3 brands in the “initial consideration set” when the customer starts their buying journey. The research from McKinsey is pretty convincing:

“Digging deeper, we discovered just how vital it is to be included in the set of brands that first come to a consumer’s mind when he or she is triggered to make a purchase decision. These brands in the initial consideration set were more than two times as likely to be purchased as were brands considered only later in the decision journey.”

ICS might be “the” driver of near term business growth. McKinsey found that initial consideration, isolated as a factor, is generally much better at explaining the variance in near term (within one year) growth. That explanatory power confirms the need for marketers to win attention for their brands at the very beginning of a shopper’s journey.

How do you get into that ICS?


“In the digital world, your consumers can’t help but shop around. The past few years have seen exponential growth in tools that have made researching and purchasing products online vastly easier. The sheer weight of all this encourages even your best consumers to shop around and changes paradigms that marketers have counted on for years.”

“Earning initial consideration goes well beyond getting shoppers to be aware of your brand name. They also need to have a clear enough sense of its unique benefits and value to include it among products they plan to evaluate as they begin their journey toward a purchase.”

So your brand story and messaging, customer experience, content and technology all need a new focus on the most important step in the customer decision journey.

That’s where our team can help.

About the author

Jack Martin has been an enthusiastic activist for independent financial advisors. His view is that advisors do great and important work for the families they serve. They face a vortex of changes and his thought leadership has helped them navigate those changes and deliver better retirement outcomes. With his team at EAG, he has acted as a Sherpa for financial institutions seeking to grow their financial advisor distribution. In the process, he and the team have pioneered marketing to advisors built on a bed rock of intelligent content and digital technology.