Here's What You Should Know About Shiny Marketing

As the Principal of an IMO, I have many opportunities throughout the year to attend national wholesaler meetings. It’s a great chance to bond and see friends who are also direct or indirect competitors. Many of these folks are incredibly successful and run large organizations.The meetings usually last a few days. During our meals and cocktail hours we share stories, business ideas, and challenges we're mutually facing. There’s also podium time where someone will discuss best business practices for an hour or so. 

The speakers I listen to and the conversations I engage in are very informative and inspiring. However, with the rapid exchanging of ideas, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and fall victim to shiny marketing - new, attractive ideas that seem to be the perfect immediate solution to a business challenge.   

Let me tell you about a time when I fell for shiny marketing at one of these national wholesaler meetings a few years ago:

Confronted with a sales and marketing challenge at DMI, I approached a respected colleague during a cocktail hour and asked for his suggestions on how I can overcome my problem. Over the next 15 minutes, he described to me what his company was currently doing to work through the same issue. I asked a few questions about his strategy and took it all in. I couldn’t wait to get back to my office and implement this new solution. I thought, “he knows what he’s doing, so he must be right! My gosh, his organization is bigger than DMI!”

What happened:

After applying the same approach as my colleague, my problem didn’t improve. I attended that same national conference about a year later. I was eager to see my colleague again to find out ways I could modify the solution he had given me the year before. He said, “Oh, that idea I told you about last year- we stopped doing that about six months ago. It didn’t work after two years of trying.”

How and why I fell victim to shiny marketing:

It’s not possible to get solutions to your company’s challenges over a few drinks, dinner, or even a one-hour presentation. I do believe you can garner some worthwhile ideas from these gatherings. For me, they’re inspiring and a catalyst for sales and marketing changes here at DMI. However, it’s important to take into consideration your company's individual needs before diving head-first into a new, seemingly attractive strategy.

Here are some points to consider when a colleague proposes a “shiny marketing” strategy for your business:

  • How long will the strategy take to develop?
  • How much money is needed to invest in this idea?
  • What was the ROI on this strategy?
  • Will you need to hire specialized staff to implement this idea?
  • Did anything go wrong for the company that tried this strategy?
  • What challenges did they not anticipate?
  • Will this strategy fit your culture along with your prospects’ buyer persona?
  • How does this "best practice" complement and supplement what you're doing now?
  • Who can you consult with on an ongoing basis to make sure you’re staying on track?
  • Could this strategy have some compliance risk?

Here are some typical shiny marketing programs that are brought to DMI that need serious vetting:

These marketing concepts can be beneficial to grow your business. At DMI, we speak with hundreds of advisors every year, and they often propose shiny marketing ideas that they believe will immediately grow their organization. My suggestion is to inspect what you expect and adjust your execution according to your unique situation. So, just because a specific strategy worked for one organization, does not mean that exact plan will work for your company.

As a financial professional, it's tempting to dive into new, shiny marketing ideas to grow your business. However, it's important to thoroughly analyze your business and how these strategies will play into your overall marketing strategy. Research the idea you're interested in to see how you can properly utilize it for your growth. Take a step back and look at every aspect of the approach and your business, and tailor it all to fit your own company. 

If you want to discuss any of these ideas further and build a comprehensive strategy, let's chat!

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Brian Donahue, President of DMI Marketing

Brian started his career out of college as a financial advisor. For 6 years, he achieved top of the table sales. In 1989, Brian founded DMI, one of the pioneers of the independent marketing organization (IMO). DMI consistently ranks by sales in the top 1% of wholesale companies and has become one of the most prominent and most successful IMO’s in the industry. Brian has sat on numerous industry advisory boards consulting companies on sales, marketing, and distribution of their products and services. In addition, Brian has engineered annuities over his career that have resulted in sales of over $1 Billion.

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