The Worst Seminar Invitation in History

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Old school marketing does not work!

I frequently receive invitations to educational seminars in my mailbox at home.  I think seminars can still be valuable if they are positioned the right way.  For example, hosting an “experience” for a group of clients and asking them to bring a guest can still be effective.  But the traditional gathering of strangers in a room and serving a meal seminar? Typically all you will get is people interested in a free meal!  It’s a waste of time and money, in my opinion. Also, don’t wait for your phone to ring or email inquiries to follow because they won’t.

I’ve spoken about these “Old School” marketing techniques on the Wired Advisor e-Marketing Blog, and I think this one is worth repeating here.  I had received a seminar invite in the mail, and clearly it was more of a mass mailing than a personal invitation.  Spending 15 years as a financial advisor with a couple of the more traditional wire house firms, I’ve done my fair share of cold calling and seminar marketing, so it did not surprise me that the invite was from none other than a financial advisor.  He was also working for one of the traditional wire house firms.

The Worst Seminar Invitation in History

I opened the invitation from the financial advisor.  Rather than this being the typical invitation to come to a group dinner with strangers and hear about where the economy is headed, it was quite different.

This invitation was inviting me to a free, no obligation one-on-one private dinner meeting to talk about my retirement goals!!!

Ok so what is wrong with this picture????

I don’t know, let’s see, perhaps a blind date with a financial advisor to discuss my personal financial life with someone I’ve never met?  Seriously?  This is the epitome of narcissism, to believe that a complete stranger would:  A)want to meet you for dinner and B)want to also discuss private financial matters with a stranger.  WOW!  Is this what seminar marketing has evolved to I wondered?

The invitation went on to discuss how this particular advisor could help me plan and manage my retirement and how this was an opportunity for me to get to know him.  Narcissism at it’s finest!  Oh, but there was one catch…I had to pre-qualify!  I would be ineligible for this opportunity if I did not have $500,000 or more to invest!   Also, the advisor explained that he was very busy and could only see a certain number of people each month.

I think I can safely say that this campaign brought zero results to this advisor, and resulted in wasted time and money.  These are the things that keep me confident that many professionals could use some help in navigating from BAD old school marketing to new school, inbound marketing strategies for a wired world!

Blogging is the New Educational Marketing

If you want to build authentic relationships in your niche markets in today’s world, you must have an inbound marketing strategy which can draw prospective clients and referral sources to you.  Blogging can help you build your digital identity.  Simply put, blogging is educational marketing.  You can build authority by becoming a subject matter expert, and you can build influence through community and reach.  Your potential clients can get to know, like, and trust you before you ever meet them face to face.

Interesting in hosting an educational seminar dinner?  First, build a local following through your blog and then host an event!  You’ll have much better results.

I hope that even if you don’t build a professional blog to showcase your thought leadership that you will, at the very least, learn from this article what NOT to do with regard to your marketing. Let this be a lesson that you don’t forget, outbound marketing is OUT!

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About Stephanie Sammons

I'm Stephanie Sammons. I teach professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs how to build online influence for business success.

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  • Shawn Claycomb

    I agree with Stephanie. I thing this seminar invitation was developed by a nationwide seminar marketing company. I understand that some investment advisors have found that they have been generating some business with it. After all, if you throw enough mud, some of it will stick. It cost alot of money to throw this much much and I think there are more efficient ways. Social networking is obviously more efficient and less costly.

  • Abe Linkedin

    Stephanie, are you sure these invitation don’t work? It’s flawed thinking to just say that “if I don’t respond to it, neither with others.” Cold-calling, for example, while abhorrent to many, does work as does Ed Jones style cold-walking even though I would never choose my advisor that way.

    • Stephanie Sammons

      Might be flawed thinking if I had not sat in the shoes for so many years myself. But I’m speaking from first-hand experience and from working with thousands of advisors over the years on marketing and biz dev campaigns. Cold walking and cold calling are completely different than this
      approach. Additionally, I clearly state that this is my opinion :). The majority of people with assets aren’t going to do a 1-on-1 dinner with a complete stranger financial advisor. If you want to plunk some $$ on trying that kind of campaign yourself go for it and good luck! Let me know how it goes.

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