I’ve been running a terribly unscientific survey to find out if advertising for lead generation is dead for todays advisers. Basically the deeply analytical process has consisted of asking advisers continually for the last year whether they are doing any advertising, and whether they are getting any new enquiries from it.
Sadly the answers are mixed….but a trend is emerging based on the collective experiences of a decent number of advisers.
The trend appears to be” traditional advertising is dying in effectiveness”.
The “mixed” part of the answer is that for most advisers there are generally poor results from traditional advertising methods – but there is a clear exception. The old Yellow Pages, leaflets in the neighbourhood letterboxes, advertising and running a complementary seminar for strangers, direct mail….that sort of stuff has lost its oomph. So have the advisers trying to use it. They’ve lost their oomph too.
The exception is when they are choosing to compete on price.
When advisers have an authentic offer based upon price, such as guaranteed cheapest insurance, or lowest cost investment fund then traditional advertising appears to have some impact. An authentic offer based upon price does have its catch however: it is a product sale. It is not selling the adviser or the value of advice. However, if someone’s business model is one based upon moving product to consumers, then there appears to still be some merit in traditional advertising.
It is possible of course that there is still merit in those methods because the transactional price-driven consumers who purchase an insurance policy or superannuation plan on the basis of an unsolicited direct mail piece are the same people who have three miracle ab-maker machines under the bed, and 17 sets of free steak knives that came with various vacuum cleaners, blenders, and “massagers” via the infomercial channel.
Perhaps this type of advertising attracts the consumers who will buy anything just because it seemed like a good deal – whether it was something they needed or not. Hardly the ideal advice client I wouldn’t have thought.
However, I am increasingly seeing advisers who are generating successful enquiries that convert into good clients paying fees from different types of advertising. As strange as it may sound, advisers are picking up clients from Facebook and LinkedIn advertising. They are generating enquiries from blogs and websites. And they are definitely getting leads and enquiries of substance via local search.
So what do these newer advertising methods do, or have, which is different to the direct mail in the letterbox?
There are a number of things of course, but the most relevant ones I believe are:
- One is disruptive – it is an intrusion – whereas the other is a barely noticeable thing on the periphery.
- One is literally a “one-off” action whereas the other tends to be a more constant presence. The direct mail piece arrives with great fanfare and relatively high expense, and typically has little or no follow up. The digital advertising on the other hand is there on the periphery for multiple views for the same budget.
- One makes a one-way trip to the recycling bin whereas the other has a chance to take a trip around the world via friends email addresses and social media pages.
- The Big One: digital puts control in the hands of the consumer through search. Consumers do a LOT of searching now. We (as consumers) use Google to settle debates, find a parking spot, see what’s on in the area, or find out about setting up a will. Consumers use search for nearly everything – including finding professionals or getting financial solutions.
My completely scientific research suggests to me that advertising is not actually dead as a way of generating new leads or enquiries. It It can’t be dead because people are buying more and more stuff than ever before, and they are finding out about it through advertising and advertorials, through testimonials and recommendations, and through constant repetition of brands and messages that are on the periphery of their digital world.
Advertising works. Just not that advertising that we used to do – that is dying. Advertising in the places where people are looking for their information and entertainment, where they are searching for answers to everything, well that seems to be working just fine as far as I can tell.
So for any advisers wanting to generate more leads then it seems that advertising can help – but go online. That’s where the discerning consumers are who are more likely to become good advice clients. After all, they probably haven’t wasted their money on massagers that come with free sets of steak knives yet.
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