As you consider your digital strategy and in particular, financial advisor compliance strategies that take advantage of the Charles Schwab RIA Stands For You Campaign, there are a number of questions you may have related to regulatory compliance. The following responses were provided by, Mitch Avnet. Mitch is a Revenue Architects supporting partner and leading industry compliance expert who’s background includes experience with Lincoln Financial Group, Wachovia and PNC Financial.  Need assistance in your compliance program?  Contact us!

Below are some FAQs for compliance and Mitch Avnet’s replies:

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The Twitter Buzz was so great for #SchwabIMPACT and #RIAS4U during Schwab’s annual IMPACT conference this year, it reached Twitter’s trending list!!  The Keynot by EVP Bernard J. Clark, unveiling enhancements to “RIA Stands for You” campaign propelled the buzz.

Below are a selection of tweets as well as some highlights of a related webcast next week.

In next week’s webcast John Stone will be discussing five strategies for using the #RIAS4U campaign:
  • Website Hub – Use RIAS4U to enhance your website content and value
  • RIAS4U Branding – Gain from program’s “halo effect” by using the brand and content
  • 1:1 Targeting – Use new tools to filter and focus on 1:1 engagement using RIAS4U
  • Social Media – Expand your reach and influence with social media engagement
  • Campaigns – Combine RIAS4U elements into your custom campaigns.


RIA Stands for You: Tips to Get Started! –

Are RIA Firms Using CRM Effectively? –

Bernie Clark at Schwab Impact: RIAs’ Competitors ‘Want What You Have’ –

Check out our #RiAS4Y blog post and download our Revenue Performance Healthcheck –

Check out all of the news on the Schwab Talk blog –

At the FutureM/IMS Keynote – “Advice from a CMO: How to Avoid Digital Fads and Focus on Things That Work“, Marty St. George, SVP of Marketing and Commercial Strategy at JetBlue shared a top-10 list.  How does this apply to your business?

1.Know what you stand for and how the program fits in
2.It has to fit the logo (e.g. could not swap the logo with a competitor logo and have it work)
3.If it has been done before, it’s not that special
4. If it doesn’t shape culture and conversation, we are not interested
5. If it fits in a standard TV spot ad or banner ad, it doesn’t fit
6. Must work across all media
7.  We want ideas that leverage multiple channels simultaneously and sequentially
8. Ideas of the future don’t fit into containers of the past
9. Ideas must be customer centric
10. Fix your problem while also solving my problem (for the agency).
#futurem  #ims12

Judy Gern, Revenue Architects Senior Client Partner, recently published this article in EContent,  a leading authority on the businesses of digital publishing, media, and marketing.

Here is an excerpt (click the image below to launch the full article)

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By John Nielsen

Lead scoring is the process of evaluating and assigning points to prospects and leads using marketing automation tools. Points are distributed based on the attributes associated with a qualified lead.  It is important to understand whom you are marketing to when managing a campaign, sending irrelevant content to your followers is a quick way to lose.  To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, below are a few tips one can easily follow to update your contact lists and help identify priority focus using lead scoring.

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Since the private equity business is dependent on relationships with a finite number of LPs, executives and entrepreneurs, you need to be sure you can identify every potential opportunity to engage with your target audience.  With 3 out of 4 Americans using social media, various platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have become an extremely cost-effective way for a firm to broaden its reach and strengthen its corporate relationships.  Surprisingly, however, when BackBay Communications surveyed the private equity market for its Private Equity Brand Equity II report, published last fall, only 7 percent of responding professionals said their firms were using social media regularly.

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At Revenue Architects, we are big advocates of inbound marketing with leading solutions like HubSpot, Act-On, Marketo, and Mailchimp for email marketing but we also work with a number of industry sectors where a stronger outbound approach is still needed. For example at professional services businesses like consulting, law firms, financial advisors, the promise of “inbound” is a bit over-hyped and a more balanced approach is critical.

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We recently conducted a review of a campaign that was underperforming expectations. Our team was contributing elements of the campaign and we were very disappointed in the results. What was going wrong? What were the red flags?

English: Red Flag

The campaign was focused on marketing a leading technology solution to a target market based on geographic named accounts.  The client was following core principles of inbound marketing and digital marketing offering unique premium content for download and involving a number of components:

  • Active blog content
  • Active Twitter engagement
  • PPC Campaign
  • Microsite with landing pages aligned to key words
  • Relevant copy on each landing page
  • A call to action with premium content
  • Embedded conversion forms using a leading marketing automation platform
  • eMails tailored to each value proposition and landing page
  • A direct mail program to a validated list of targets.

The content was solid and the program was being executed carefully with iterative updates to enhance content and offering language. On the surface, everything looked good. So, why was the client getting limited response?

To evaluate the program, we took a commercial end-to-end revenue perspective and looked at the revenue cycle. We divided the campaign into three elements:  Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), Middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) and Bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU). We looked for red flags.

Here were our findings:


  • Product revenue performance was good for the business with a concentration on a few large accounts, however the business was not coming from the campaign – rather it was coming from existing customers
  • Performance was driven largely by account-based sales efforts
  • The value proposition seemed to provide a clear competitive advantage, however no validation had occurred with target customers (a red flag)
  • The campaign incorporated many leading digital marketing and inbound practices and partner organizations recognized the program as unique and a stand out among peers.

TOFU- Top of Funnel

  • A microsite was of a very high quality with good relevant content & messaging and the team maintained a strong social media presence which was also building increased organic presence
  • We found that there was a very small target market– the campaign was targeting a named set of companies of only a few hundred companies (a red flag– was there a broad enough market? If the target market is this focused, why the emphasis no an inbound strategy?)
  • A sophisticated PPC Campaign was underway – with a substantial budget (another red flag– why so much investment in PPC with such a targeted audience?)
  • Direct mail campaigns also had little or no results or traction
  • No other new business lead sources were identified.

MOFU – Middle of the Funnel

  • The marketing list had been in place and marketed to for over a year with little or no results. The list was limited in size and consistent with the target company list.  The list was validated and augmented, but this remained a major red flag. Was this list ever going to produce results? Was the campaign targeting the right market?
  • There was no need for a nurture program and lead scoring had little relevance given such low lead gen results
  • Marketing automation was implemented well and while better campaign and email coordination and tracking across campaigns were needed, this did not explain a lack of lead generation within this campaign
  • The company was not engaged any consistent telesales (another red flag – especially given the highly targeted nature of the customer audience) Past telesales had mixed results depending on product, firm, timing and message.

BOFU – Bottom of Funnel

  • The direct sales teams were successfully closing deals and the existing account base for the organization was the primary source of product revenue
  • However, cross-selling the existing account base is difficult with entrenched vendor and sales relationships.

What did the red flags tell us?

The campaign needed to refresh its target universe/ marketing list and expand its exposure while also taking a deeper dive review of the value proposition by conducting a focused survey. Given the target market, budgets needed to shift from the top-of-funnel  inbound and PPC lead gen toward more 1:1 tele-prospecting and sales engagement.

By taking a commercial focused approach and mapping the end-to-end revenue cycle from marketing to sales, it became more apparent where to focus attention and make improvements.

I am operating out of our Vermont Office – which is really a home office looking out over the mountains of northern Vermont including Mt. Mansfield and the surrounding hills  a few miles from the pristine Caspian Lake in Greensboro.

Today’s highlight includes the installation of a solar energy system to generate sustainable energy for our home.  In keeping with this blog’s focus on sales and marketing, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the sales and marketing process that I experienced with the team from SolarTech in Vermont.

So, what was the marketing and sales cycle? Actually it was very typical of a “considered sale”.

The cost (before incentives) of the Solar Trackers  are over $50k – clearly an investment that requires consideration. Incentives bring this down nicely and the payback is reasonable considering the local cost of energy. So, this was a very substantial investment and a classic “considered sale” – where content and the web plays a role along with an active sales process.

1) My first step was research. Of course I spoke with my social network – others in the area that had experience. After learning that I wanted a tracker to maximize power,  I went to the web to search for trackers in Vermont and quickly found All Earth Renewables.  They did great work on SEO – on the first page of my organic search results. Their web presence includes Facebook and Twitter.

2) I posted to the AllSun product on Facebook – seeking to learn more from my network about options for solar power and researched forums to see whether there were any comments. I later ended up connecting with an experienced solar expert who looked over the proposal and the technology solution.

3) I wanted to discuss a solution, so I filled out a form on the web site seeking contact with a sales representative. The conversion form online was clean and simple. I had an introductory email within hours.

4) I was introduced to a channel partner, SolarTech, who managed the sales cycle. Rich Nicol engaged professionally in all aspects of the sale from feasibility to economic ROI. He handled all the objections and concerns and mapped out a solution tailored to our needs – a classic professional sales process.

In order to get this sale,  All Earth Renewables and SolarTech needed an integrated sales and marketing process.

  • Web visibility – organic search and social media
  • Channel Management – with an effective channel website including testimonial
  • Quality value proposition and product
  • Accessibility in a clean, professional website
  • Knowledgable and professional sales approach
  • ROI and product content
  • Professional service delivery leading to references and validation.



So, you’ve realized that you need Marketing Automation! What now?

With a variety of different solutions available – from enterprise to start up – how do you know which solution is right for your organization? Marketing Automation evaluations typically involve both a diverse stakeholder team and a myriad of potential solutions.

  • Diverse choice – many marketing automation suppliers, sales force automation solutions, eMail marketing solutions, etc.
  • Committee buying – the need to facilitate a group of stakeholders in the decision (often including the board of directors)
  • Stakeholder viewpoints –managing a variety of needs (tactical vs. strategic) to align sales, marketing and technology teams
  • Political persuasions – more often than not, key team members bring pet projects and pre-established preferences
  • Organizational culture –implementing a marketing automation solution involves business alignment across the organization – the culture must be supportive and aligned to adopt the new strategy.

We recently published this eBook to serve as a guide to provide you with the information you will need to assess marketing automation vendors and choose which solution is right for you.  Our view? The process should be objective and facilitative to align the organization around a clear choice. Need help? We can help you facilitate the process with our Objective Solution Selection (OS2) methodology:

  1. Document Requirements
  2. Determine the short list
  3. Conduct the evaluation
  4. Rank the vendors
  5. Perform due diligence