There is a running joke from my wife where she tells me that despite 13 years of marriage, she still doesn’t know what I do. At least, I think it’s a joke.
One of the problems that I had in my career especially when working with the law firm I was at is that people didn’t understand what I do as an ERISA attorney. I’d sit down with the corporate attorneys and try to create some synergies but they didn’t understand the potential liability of a plan sponsor and they had zero interest in sharing my pitch to their clients.
When I started my own practice, I hired a marketing/public relations firms. The guy I hired was and still is a sweet man. But the problem was clear is that he didn’t understand what I did either. It’s easy to explain what a real estate attorney does, ERISA attorney not so much. He suggested that I network with one his other clients, a plaintiff-side negligence attorney and I told him that there were zero chances for referrals as accident victims aren’t great referral sources for plan sponsors.
I eventually fired him when the marketing didn’t help with results and he suggested that I should take time off for my own practices. Word to the wise, never tell your client to take a vacation.
Thankfully as a plan provider, you have the opportunity to hire a marketing and public relations firm that knows a thing or two about the retirement plan business. If I had to hire a firm these days, I would only hire one that had experience with the retirement plan business because a firm that doesn’t know what you do, can’t have the background and expertise to help you. Luckily, you have people out there like Rebecca Hourihan and Shari Fitts that know the retirement plan business and can help you out in providing marketing support to help you grow your business. Hiring someone that doesn’t know what you do is not money well spent because the help they will offer will be unfocused on what you need to do to connect with plan sponsors.