Financial Services Marketing Ain’t What it Used to Be.

Financial Services Marketing Ain’t What it Used to Be.


I want to share what I believe is some really great news for your business. No matter how big your firm or your ambitions are, you can succeed spectacularly – or if you’re already doing well – more spectacularly. Want to know why? Because the business and competitive landscape has been disrupted and it will never be the way it used to be again.

Today, business success is determined less by the products or services you sell (someone else almost certainly sells them too). It’s not the biggest ad budget or the most clever creative either. Today, business success is driven by great ideas and the relationships and experiences that companies create for their employees and their customers.

While leadership treated their employees as though they were friends, they did nothing to challenge or advance their best people, they provided no career path or opportunities for self-improvement, and they ignored their employees’ customer insights – even though they were the ones who were face-to-face with those customers day in and day out.

Employees were expected to work on outdated equipment in a physical environment with no consideration for the employees’ health or well-being. You get the picture. The leaders were “nice guys”, no doubt about it, and their employees were generally satisfied. But from a marketing perspective, this was not a Good Guy company.

Running a Good Guy business is about systems: The policies and procedures that encourage and promote interaction, collaboration and reciprocity. Good Guy companies operate organizations that communicate constantly, not because it’s in someone’s nature to be communicative, but because the behavior has been institutionalized, acknowledged and celebrated.

Let’s start by taking a look at the crucial work of engaging your employees.

By now, you’re probably aware that an engaged workforce gives companies a remarkable competitive advantage. Organizations like the Great Place to Work Institute exist to educate companies about the advantages of an engaged workforce and the statistics are compelling to say the least.

  • Increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation)
  • According to Bersin and Associates, the current annual employee engagement spend in the US is $720 million. Bersin expects this spend to increase drastically to about $1.5 billion.
  • Highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation), one of the most powerful contributors to improved profitability.
  • Companies that foster engaged brand ambassadors in their workforce report an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually per employee, compared to companies with weak engagement efforts, reporting an average of 6.19 sick days. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation)
  • Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%. (Source: Dale Carnegie)
  • Companies who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback. (Source: Gallup)
  • Only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy. (Source: Dale Carnegie
  • Higher service, quality, and productivity
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales (repeat business and referrals)
  • Higher levels of profit
  • Higher shareholder returns or earnings

Now you may be wondering why I, a marketer, seem to be so obsessed with a workplace concern that would fall under Human Resources in a larger company or management in smaller businesses.

Here’s why…in today’s marketplace, operations and marketing are inseparably and irretrievably connected. What you do is every bit as important as what you say.

Thanks largely to digital media, Marketing in the 21st century has been democratized. Today, user reviews on Yelp and, Angie’s List, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon are more influential than any amount of advertising – no matter how good the advertising is.

Of course, advertising, PR and other traditional marketing tools have their place. Billions each year is still spent on these channels to stimulate interest and generate awareness.

But today, these tools must be considered within the whole of the clients’ experience

  • Which is directly impacted by the employees’ experience,
  • Which is directly impacted by companies’ leadership,
  • Who are challenged to establish systems that
  • Serve the greater goal of creating a real connection with the people your company employs, and the people your company serves.

This helps explain why growth in digital marketing has, and will continue to, outpace traditional marketing. Digital marketing is all about generosity. This is what I think is such great news for your company, especially if it is or can be a Good Guy company. Generosity is built into Good Guy companies. They understand that before they ask for the business, they need to earn trust. Your company, no matter how big or small, can do this. I look forward to hearing great things about how your Good Guy company has seized the opportunity.


Michael L Morrison
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Michael is the founder and president of Michael L Morrison Marketing, a consulting firm providing outsourced Chief Marketing Officer services to mid-sized companies in the wea ... Click for full bio

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 

However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (, is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”

That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio