Painting Your 2022 Strategic Marketing Plan

In a recent survey, 77% of advisors admitted they don’t have a marketing plan.[1] If you don’t have a vision in mind and are looking to create one, this column will give you the outline, color, and perspective to start with. So grab a brush and let’s get to work!

Overall planning for 2022

First, answer these questions:

  • What is your 2022 revenue goal for your retirement plan business?
  • How many plans do you hope to acquire?
  • What percentage of your business plan do you plan to keep?
  • What is your target market? (Geographic location, plan size, number of participants, niche sectors, employer characteristics, employee demographics and other unique identifiers)

Sketch your outline

Did you know that one in three plan sponsors consider switching advisors? The two main reasons why they want increased pension expertise and advice on financial wellness programs.[2]

As plan sponsors move through the prospect-to-client journey, they enter four distinct phases:

  1. Sensitization: when the plan sponsor realizes that something in their company’s pension plan needs attention.
  2. Interest: when they begin to search for more information, ask questions and gather knowledge.
  3. Decision: when finalist meetings are held to discuss capabilities and learn how services will align with plan goals.
  4. action: when the plan sponsor decides to hire you as a plan advisor.

At every stage, the essentials of marketing are needed to move your prospect forward. As a professional pension advisor, you should have these resources at your fingertips to showcase and demonstrate your abilities.

Primary colors

Here is a list of marketing essentials that most pension plan advisors have on hand. Place a checkmark next to each item you have and, more importantly, which you think represents your business and services in a professional capacity. In other words, you love these marketing essentials.

_ Website

_ Presentation of the company

_ Factfinder

_ Service brochure

_ Location platform

_ Business cards

If the control lines are empty or you lack conviction, these are opportunities for improvement. Decide which elements are most important, then look for partnerships that will help you reinforce your essential elements to increase your brand authority and recognition.

Mix the paints

In the interest stage of the sales pipeline, your plan sponsor’s prospects are looking for more information. This can include something as simple as searching for yourself on Google, clicking on your LinkedIn profile, or diving deep into a specific retirement plan topic.

Check off all the digital marketing resources you use to promote and capture new business growth opportunities.

_ Blog posts

_ Digital advertisements

_ Email campaigns

_ Infographics

_ Landing pages

_ Newsletters

_ Podcasts

_ Search engine optimization

_ Social media posts

_ Videos

_ Webinars

Read more comments from Rebecca Hourihan here.

Due to the pandemic, more plan sponsors are taking their new advisory relationship research online, so if your digital image is muted, it’s time to add some bold definition so you can stand out. in the digital world.

Pro tip: Make sure you enjoy doing each of these marketing activities. If you’re not enthusiastic about completing them, don’t. If an idea makes you smile, prioritize it. Always remember that marketing should be fun.

It’s not blue, it’s cerulean

Bring consistency and scalability to your business with a marketing calendar. An easy way to create a calendar is to simply open an Excel spreadsheet and fill in the months. Then add your retirement plan topics, content type, distribution frequency, and distribution channels.

Some hot topics for 2022 include post-pandemic recovery; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); financial well-being; inflation; the restatements of cycle 3; ESG investments; unemployment; talent wars; remote work; work-life balance; corporate culture; cryptocurrency; SECURE Law 2.0; trial and more. Select topics that interest you, then find/create content that appeals to your audience.

Your marketing calendar should include the details needed to bring your vision to life and help you achieve your business goals.

Definition in bold

Now that you’ve defined key marketing materials, distribution channels, and plan sponsor topics, it’s time to put your vision into action. To do this, you need to define your budget and timeline.

Consulting firms invest an average of 1.6% of their annual turnover in their marketing budget.[3] However, the best performing consulting firms are investing 2.1% and have seen a 20% growth in their assets under management. So is increasing your marketing budget by 0.5% of your revenue a worthwhile investment?

2.1% of your 2021 revenue = ___________ = your 2022 marketing budget

Interestingly, in most other industries, the recommended annual marketing investment is 7-10%. If you’re wondering if you should invest more in marketing, imagine the startling results you could achieve.

Next, list the top five marketing priorities you’d like to accomplish over the next 12 months.

In 2022, I want:

Find opportunities for improvement. When you have a defined marketing plan, success is easy. Know that if you believe you can do it, you can.

Now put down your pen and take a look at your 2022 business marketing plan. Congratulations on a great job – great to hear about all your successes in the new year!

Thanks for reading and happy marketing!

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing, which she founded to help qualified experts run a professional business with professional marketing materials and ongoing awareness campaigns. This column originally appeared in the winter issue of NAPA Net Magazine.


1. “Only 23% of financial advisors have a defined marketing strategy, according to the Broadridge study.” Broadridge, November 18, 2020.

2.”Attitudes of plan sponsors.” Fidelity Institutional, July 20, 2021.

3.”Comparative study RIA 2021.” Charles Schwab Advisor Services, July 2021.

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