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Should You Hire a Marketer or Do It Yourself?

eMoney Communications Team June 29, 2021

making marketing decisions as a financial advisor

When financial professionals are ready to start investing more time and resources in digital marketing, one of the first questions they face is whether to start themselves or to hire someone else to do their marketing.


On Episode 2, Season 2 of the That Makes Cents podcast, host Spencer Israel sits down with Christine Golden, Chief Marketing Officer of SigniFI Advisor Group, who after spending a decade at marketing agencies, now directs financial services marketing strategy for professionals all across the country. Davin Carey, Financial Planning Consultant at Avantax Planning Partners, also joins the podcast. He’s a co-founder of SigniFI Advisor Group, a Senior Wealth Advisor at Carey & Hannah Tax & Wealth Planners, and as the youngest advisor to ever qualify for Avantax’s President’s Advisor Council, he’s been recognized as a ‘Pacesetter’ and ‘Field Leader.’

Getting Started with Marketing for Financial Services

Golden and Carey bring unique perspectives and experience to the table when it comes to marketing. They have both navigated the question of outsourcing marketing or keeping it in house, as well as a number of other considerations when launching a marketing initiative.

When Does It Make Sense to Do Your Own Marketing?

In Golden’s experience, it makes the most sense to do marketing yourself when you’re a one or two-person operation. This “DIY model,” as she calls it, focuses mainly on communicating with existing clients—using the right channels, sending the right messages, and connecting with clients in a timely manner. It’s essential, she notes, if you’re doing marketing yourself to have some form of a digital presence. A financial professional’s online presence is a major part of how prospective clients vet potential planners today, so demonstrating your expertise and credibility online is invaluable. For financial professionals that want to bring in new clients outside of their referral network, Golden recommends they consider hiring some help.

Carey has a similar take. When he started testing different marketing tactics, it made sense to do it himself. Even though he wasn’t part of a small practice, he had an existing relationship with a successful tax business, so his initial focus was on delivering financial plans to tax clients. He knew these clients well and knew what it would take to show them the value of having a plan. But once he started expanding beyond this set of existing clients, he realized he needed more help.

Should You Hire In-house or Use an Agency?

Golden and Carey are in agreement here—when you’re first starting out, it’s better to get an agency’s help. An agency simply has more resources at its disposal across a wider set of services compared to what one individual’s skillset may offer. Plus, Carey says, an agency can help direct the marketing process. A financial professional may not know how to manage a marketer, how to hold them accountable, or where to direct them next.

In-house or agency, though, the marketers you work with should have B2B experience, Golden advises. The sales cycle for financial professionals is very long and complex. There is an important personality check that goes both ways before someone will trust a financial professional with their money. The sales process is very different from a simple online transaction, for example, and the marketing tactics that prove most effective in financial services reflect this reality.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Marketing in the Financial Services Industry?

Having worked with advisors all across the country, Golden often sees that financial professionals think any marketing tactic that’s effective in one industry will automatically apply to financial services marketing. A marketing campaign in the retail or hospitality industry, for example, would likely fall flat in the financial world. This is because the buyer’s journey is not the same. These types of campaigns target different audiences in very different ways.

Golden also sees confusion over marketing’s role in the financial planning process. Some think that a certain investment in marketing should predictably yield a certain revenue result. On the other end of the spectrum, some think there’s no role for marketing because planning is a relationship business and that’s how they should get new clients. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Golden says marketing first and foremost must demonstrate a financial professional’s or firm’s expertise and competency. Nobody will give their money to someone unless they’re confident they can handle it properly. While your brand’s influence on business development may be hard to measure, it is essential.

What’s the Most Effective Marketing Technique You’ve Used in Financial Services?

Once again, Golden and Carey agree: Authoring original content is the most impactful marketing technique. Carey finds this technique enjoyable and effective because it allows him to take a one-to-many approach and extend his reach. Most of what he’s writing or saying are things he would bring up in a meeting with clients anyway, so it allows him to essentially multiply the volume of conversations he’s having with clients.

Golden adds that original content is impactful because it allows the financial professional to showcase their personality, their planning philosophy, and the things they care about as an individual. Whether it’s a blog, a podcast, a video series, or any other format, few other marketing tactics are as effective in letting clients do that personality check before they ever even walk in the door.

Finding Success in Digital Marketing for Financial Services

Knowing whether you should do your marketing yourself or hire an expert can be a tough question. The same goes for knowing whether you should hire in-house or an agency, which marketing tactics you should try first, and what expectations you should have for results.

Fortunately, most financial professionals face the same questions, and many have found success in their business development pursuits. Continue learning about financial services marketing and check out Season 2 of That Makes Cents.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

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The eMoney Communications team is dedicated to helping users find the most efficient and impactful ways to plan for their clients, while striving to make basic and advanced financial planning accessible for all.

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