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  • Writer's pictureFinancial Marketing Pros

Pro Tip #23: What actually drives marketing response?

Joe Bayliss and Roy Furr


As a financial advisor, why does someone respond to your ad?  


Why do they call in? Book an appointment? Why do they choose to become a client and trust you with a significant chunk of their life savings?

Zooming out, why does anybody buy anything?


Put simply, we buy because we believe we’re getting the solution to a problem, or the fulfillment of a desire.


For financial services, the problem might be making sure we don’t run out of money in retirement. Or that we have enough income to cover expenses. Or that we won’t pay too much in taxes. Or…  Fill in the perceived problem.


When you strip away all the superficial details, that’s why someone is becoming a client.  


The way they’re doing things right now isn’t good enough. It’s not solving the problem. It’s not fulfilling the desire. They’ve decided they need a new solution. And they believe you have that solution for them.


We can use this to reverse engineer what will generate marketing response, in 3 steps.


  1. We need to find the person who knows they have the problem, or has it and doesn’t know it yet. 

  2. We need to make an offer that’s a good solution to the problem.

  3. And we need to clearly communicate to them that we have a better solution to their problem.


Do that, and they’re likely to respond.


This radically simplifies marketing. Now it's not about getting 1,000 superficial details right. We're no longer pulling levers that have no impact on response. We can focus our marketing efforts on the 3 most important things: the person, the offer, and the message.


We’re far from the first to suggest this. In the 1960s, there was an advertising guy named Ed Mayer.  Based on his work in direct mail, he came up with what he called “The 40-40-20 Rule.”


Put simply, Ed Mayer’s 40-40-20 Rule states that:


  • 40% of your marketing results are driven by the target audience.

  • 40% of the results are driven by the offer.

  • And the remaining 20% are driven by the creative.


You’ll notice the parallels.


First you need to get your marketing message in front of the right person. The person who has a problem that your offer can solve.


For most of our advisors, this is someone nearing retirement. They were successful in accumulating assets during their career. Now they're realizing retirement requires new strategies to make the most of their nest egg. And they're looking for or at least open to help.


Finding this person gets you 40% of the way towards marketing success, according to Mayer (and we agree!).


Next you need to nail your offer. This person has a problem they want to solve. Your offer needs to be a compelling and obvious solution to that problem.

Too many financial advisors create lead generation offers their perfect prospects just don't care about. They're focused on the wrong thing. Or they're too vague and generic to stimulate interest. And that’s when they’re making an offer at all — “give us a call” doesn’t count.


Get the offer right though, and you're another 40% of the way to success. Add that on top of targeting the right person, and you're already at 80%. And you haven't even started creating your advertising or marketing yet!


Finally, you need to have a clear and compelling message — the creative, the copy. Your copy needs to connect the dots between the prospect's problem and your solution.


Clarity trumps all other factors. The maxim "Don't make me think!" is worth remembering. Any confusion will suppress response. The prospect needs to easily internalize the message, "This is the solution to my problem."


Beyond the message itself, everything else is superficial details. Anything that stands in the way of clarity and comprehension will suppress response. Anything that makes sure the message gets through will improve it. Any decisions on details like design, presentation, and packaging must focus on improving clarity and comprehension.


If you want better results from your marketing…


  • Improve your targeting of the right audience.

  • Make sure your offers nail your prospect’s core desires.

  • Ensure your marketing copy is as clear and easy to understand as possible.


Can we help you generate more leads, clients, and production? Schedule a free Marketing Audit by clicking HERE. In just 30-minutes, we’ll share objective and straightforward advice on your strategy, marketing channels, marketing copy and offer.



We only work with financial advisors, tax consultants, and estate planners who invest more than $250,000/year in marketing.


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