Now is a good time to look at your Website and other primary marketing messages with fresh eyes and to think about it from the perspective of your visitor who really wants to know “how can you help me succeed?”
What is the first thing you want a visitor to your Website to learn about your company? The question—Are you leading with passion, purpose or precision?—may seem like an odd proposition, but observation of Websites across the landscape of retirement plan professionals suggests that many firms lead with “precision.”
Leading with Precision
“Quality,” “accuracy,” and “timeliness” are all measures of precision and, to be sure, these things matter. They are challenging to deliver and require excellent people, process, and technology to accomplish. Unfortunately, none clearly differentiate you from competitors and none are a reason to hire you. Industry partners and company owners rightly expect that any company providing services should deliver accurate, timely work with quality as a matter of course. The origin of statements about timeliness and quality stem from a time when these things were perhaps not so standard, and that’s understandable, but it’s time to retire them and use the precious real estate of your home page to make your case about why you are a go-to partner and expert on retirement plan matters.
Quality, accuracy, and timeliness matter. Unfortunately, none are a reason to hire you.
It’s time to make clear not just what services you provide, but the problems you solve and the successes you help create. It’s a focus on retirement and tax savings goals over listings of plan designs; it’s about reducing liability and risk over routine processes and tests.
Leading with Purpose
Nearly everyone who visits your website knows far less than you about how retirement plans work. Many know little about how to choose the right path and the right company to guide them. “Leading with Purpose” is a suggestion to create comfort about you as a welcoming expert who knows what it’s like to be in their shoes and can help them navigate this course easily and successfully.
Most company owners have little understanding or comfort with the arcane jargon of the rules and regulations that make plans work.
You may communicate your purpose is to offer highest quality, expert plan design, administration, recordkeeping, advisory, or other fiduciary services. Again, noble in intention, but resting on this message has two problems. First, it assumes that most people who visit you know what these roles and responsibilities are, but experience tells us this often is not the case. Second, it doesn’t speak to the needs of the buyer.
A company without a retirement plan may be looking for a competitive benefit for employees and likely an opportunity for owners to optimize current and future tax and retirement savings. Most have little understanding or comfort with the arcane jargon of the rules and regulations that make these plans work.
Our challenge is to translate these choices to plain English and create interest in learning more (a call to action). Case studies, success stories, and videos are great ways to demystify the world of qualified retirement plans and express how you help companies make good decisions, reduce cost and risk, and establish pathways to long-term success.
It’s the same as the orthodontist who focuses on your smile, rather than the many months of braces you need to achieve it.
Leading with Passion
Ask a retirement plan professional what drives them and you often hear about their passion to help others, to be of service, to contribute toward good retirement outcomes for others. In fact, it is hard to argue that anything is more important than contributing to outcomes. Yet, this orientation and philosophical passion often is expressed privately or conversationally, not on the website or in the firm overview brochure or pitch deck.
Passion to help support good outcomes is a focus on the goal rather than the delivery of the services it takes to get there. It’s the same as the orthodontist’s focus on your smile rather than the many months of braces to achieve it. It speaks to the “why” you are here, rather than on “how” you deliver.
The action step to take now is to review your Website and other primary marketing messages with fresh eyes and challenge whether you are leading with passion, purpose, or precision. Think about it from the perspective of your visitor who really wants to know “how can you help me succeed?”
This article was first published by Wolters Kluwer in the Journal of Pension Benefits, Summer 2019