Five Questions with Meredith Boggess from Buckingham Strategic Wealth and BAM Advisor Services
At Atomicdust, we’re lucky to partner with brilliant business owners and marketing professionals. Our clients and partners span various industries — from healthcare, to restaurants, to professional services and consumer goods — and with each project, we learn as much from them as (we hope) they do from us.
This month, we talked to Meredith Boggess from Buckingham Strategic Wealth and BAM Advisor Services. As Relationship Director, Meredith is responsble for creating experiences that inspire engagement, education and enthusiasm for financial advisors and the clients they serve.
How do you approach marketing? What’s your marketing philosophy?
A good financial advisor builds a plan around what’s important to their client. They understand their clients’ goals and fears and use them for a starting point to provide peace of mind in the form of a well-crafted plan.
Our marketing philosophy is the same. Our team starts by seeking to understand what’s on the minds of the audience we’re targeting and creates content, educational resources and engagement experiences around those instincts. We deliberately leverage different voices and create a variety of content in order to appeal to the many different types of thinkers and savers and spenders out there that need financial advice!
What has been your most successful or favorite marketing effort? Why do you think it was successful / a favorite?
Funny enough, my favorite marketing effort was never supposed to see the light of day. In 2015, we set out to refine our core values and the mission that guides the work we do for our clients. It was intended to be an internal project — an effort to motivate our teams, rekindle organizational engagement and update how we expressed why we do what we do.
We talked to people at every level of our organization, with the intention of unveiling our effort at a big all-firm meeting. As part of the project, we created cards with the new language meant to live on the desks and bulletin boards in all of our offices. We also created a video to play at the meeting that featured a wide variety of associates describing the process and reciting the newly written mission and values.
It was a hit at the meeting, which itself was satisfying, but a light bulb went off that day. These items and the words and images they contained reflected the very essence of what we want our existing clients and those individuals, families and businesses out there that had never heard of Buckingham Strategic Wealth to know about us.
It sounds cliché, but our people have always been what makes Buckingham a great place to work and what our clients love about us. The video was the perfect representation of that—nobody’s titles are identified, senior leadership is barely represented, and, although the words are meaningful, the vibe feels relaxed and honest.
The very next day we put the video front and center on our homepage where it has been ever since, and those cards are now included in the materials given to every new client.
These days, it isn’t enough to offer a great service. Consumers want to know they are aligning themselves with the kind of organization that shares their values — especially when it comes to something as important as their money! Mission-based marketing is something I get really excited about, because when it’s done well it inspires internal and external constituents.
On the flip side, what is the biggest risk you’ve taken? What did you learn from it?
Creating content in a vacuum is always a risk. It can be tempting, in our own little financial services echo chamber, to make things more complicated than they need to be. There are marketing initiatives we’ve undertaken in the past that we look at now and think—were we guided by what was on our minds or what was on their minds when we wrote this?
It’s something we try to ask ourselves every time we review our work. Is this the simplest way to say it? Are we pulling on the right thread to get someone’s attention?
That, and choosing stock photographs in print materials that feature any sort of technology device. I cringe looking at the digital point-and-shoot cameras and super thick lap tops-that show up in some of our not-too-distant-past marketing pieces that now are dated.
What do you think is the most significant marketing challenge facing your industry today?
Financial services, like so many other industries, is at a crossroads. New technologies, shifting demographics (for both wealth advisors and the clients they serve), even regulatory and legislative actions are changing the game.
It can be difficult for firms to differentiate themselves when their competitors promise they do the same thing—even when in reality the services they offer, the transparency they’ll commit to and the role they’ll play in their clients lives are actually quite different.
But as a marketer, that’s an exciting crossroads to be standing at. How can we find new ways to connect with people on something as important as their financial peace of mind? How can we inspire families to be proactive instead of reactive about planning for their future? Helping more people is a powerful motivator, and hardly feels like ‘marketing’ in the traditional sense at all.
What is the most helpful business book or resource you’ve come across?
If you knew me, you’d know this was a very hard question for me to answer. I’m constantly reading and listening and watching something great, and social media makes it easier than ever for me to curate good recommendations from people whose opinion I value. But in the spirit of cooperation, I’ll share one quick read and one longer one:
If you have 20 minutes, read the special section on ‘The New Science of Teamwork’ published recently in the Harvard Business Review. It breaks down four different leadership/communication styles, and how they typically present themselves in our interactions with others. My job hinges on collaboration and good communication, and this article really helped me put some of my own strengths and weaknesses into perspective. Cognitive diversity and an awareness around how to leverage it can make a good team a great one.
If you need something to add to the stack on your bedside, I highly recommend Adam Grant’s Give and Take. I’ve found that sometimes it can be tempting, especially in marketing, to take a proprietary approach to your skill set, content or work. But Grant makes a great case that the more giving we are — of our ideas, our talent, our time, our treasure — the more likely it is we’ll find success in whatever endeavor we’re in. He has all sorts of cool examples that have really stuck with me since I read it last year.