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Why RIAs should avoid the carnival barker approach to publicity

More PR is not necessarily better -- especially if you're a small or midsize firm

Friday, March 16, 2012 – 3:24 AM by Guest Columnist Gordon G. Andrew
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Gordon Andrew: No publicity has the right to exist without a specific business application.


Jason Lahita

Jason Lahita

March 16, 2012 — 5:49 AM

“Your goal is to generate media exposure that will yield a credibility tool for your firm, telling investors, prospects and referral sources that you are a “safe choice.””

This is spot on.

PR is credibility marketing. If you are not getting your key messages out, if you are not getting “impact” coverage and then leveraging it effectively with clients, why bother?

Where getting quoted and being available as an expert source can contribute value to your overall PR strategy however, is by way of establishing yourself as credible to the journalist or the media outlet as well – because even if you only get a tiny mention now, if you have a good interview or appearance you are more likely to be called upon again, or to have your pitches accepted (or at least reviewed) down the line. And with more opportunities to contribute, you will have more chances to get your specific value proposition out to the market.

Gordon G. Andrew

Gordon G. Andrew

March 16, 2012 — 2:53 PM

Jason, Thanks for your insight. There is some long-term value in serving as a source for the media. The issue for small and medium-sized firms is resource allocation. They require a more immediate return on that investment.

Ron Edde

Ron Edde

March 16, 2012 — 4:25 PM

No comment. : )

Paula

Paula

March 16, 2012 — 4:47 PM

I believe it boils down to the “why” you are in business with making more money not being the answer. If you authentically can communicate “why” you are advising clients and that “why” resonates, no amount of PR can generate the same result as the law of attraction. As we have seen this week, people yearn for honesty, integrity and a genuine interest in their lives. If you can identify and communicate the purpose of your business and the value you bring, you will distinguish yourself.

CCOinOC

CCOinOC

March 16, 2012 — 5:02 PM

Need to correct typo in the subheading:
“...not necessarliy better”

Gordon G. Andrew

Gordon G. Andrew

March 16, 2012 — 5:11 PM

Paula, The law of attraction cuts both ways: Bernie Madoff did not use PR to attract investors. Moral issues aside, PR can effectively differentiate a firm’s purpose and value from scores of competitors, and can accelerate word of mouth referrals more affectively than passive, organic business development. Doing good work for the right reasons is a wonderful thing, and taking steps to build market awareness does not compromise its value.

Paula

Paula

March 16, 2012 — 6:10 PM

Absolutely agree.

Sondra Harris PR

Sondra Harris PR

March 16, 2012 — 7:32 PM

Gordon made several good, accurate points. The fact is, in a service profession like the financial advisory biz where trust is the product being sold, there is nothing that delivers an advisor’s message and credibility as cogently as inclusion in a WSJ story or well-written, appropriately placed content. My clients are happy to be included in stories that also quote other high-profile people in the industry. Certainly a dedicated feature story is preferred, but there is a process for getting there. And there has never been a better time to leverage the benefits of PR now that the web, social media and email allow advisors to publish their own content and to distribute the media coverage they obtain to interested parties. Thanks RIABiz for enabling this conversation.

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

March 20, 2012 — 3:50 PM

The challenges our clients face include the hyper-saturation of all markets with professionals, products and messages. How does any financial advisor rise above the all the noise?

The fact is marketing and business development is very expensive and takes a serious and long-term allocation of resources and trial and error. Think of the resources advisors allocate to technology and the stops and starts and missteps and uncertainty. The same is true on any project to grow.

There are tricks, proven strategies or tactics. If there were, everyone would be using them and then they wouldn’t work.

Subtle approaches may work for some, carnival barking for others. Look at Ken Fisher. No one is louder or more of a self-promoter.

In fact, most RIAs simply ignore new business, let alone have a plan. The probability of any new business effort working may be low — but the probability of getting new business from doing nothing is zero.

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