In this writer’s (slightly) younger years, I competed in regional powerlifting. This was before kids took over my life!
I was only a light 73 kg. Yet in one competition I ended up bench pressing 120kg, squatting 160kg and deadlifting 200kg.
It was immensely rewarding to see those years of hard training in the gym pay off. I was also fascinated to see what my body could achieve when pushed to its limits.
Looking back now, I can see that powerlifting taught me some valuable lessons – both personally and professionally. Below, I’d like to share some of those insights and how they relate to financial firms with their marketing.
Setting long-term goals
A new powerlifter cannot hope to win a competition in a few weeks’ time, with little/no training or experience. Rather, a powerlifter needs to think in terms of months or years when setting training goals.
When I first started serious weight training at age 21, I was 63kg and barely able to bench press the 20kg bar over my chest.
To add 100kg to my bench press, I needed to gain weight (muscle mass) and build up my strength steadily. A realistic goal for adding muscle is about 0.5 – 1lb per week (about half a kilogram).
So, to get to 73kg in muscle mass, I was realistically looking at 20 weeks of disciplined eating and training – about half a year. In reality, however, it took me 18 months to get to my target – mainly due to a lack of knowledge about diet.
Similarly, financial firms need to be realistic with their marketing goals. A small financial planner usually cannot hope to gain 20+ leads per month, straight away, using organic SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Rather, the firm needs to build up slowly.
There is always someone bigger and stronger than you in the world of powerlifting. It is easy to compare yourself and feel pathetic in comparison, leading to temptations to quit.
Similarly, a financial firm may long to emulate the successes of another business. Perhaps they have a weekly podcast or video series. Maybe one of their directors has a huge YouTube following.
However, it is far better to focus on what you can achieve, rather than trying to keep up with other firms which may have bigger marketing budgets, better visual branding and a more established reputation.
Strengthening the “unseen” areas
As a powerlifter, it is so tempting to want to rush towards the “big lifts” – the bench press, squat and deadlift. After all, you want to feel (and look) more impressive. Few people are going to notice if you are only lifting tiny dumb bells.
However, lifting tiny weights is often vital to powerlifting training. In fact, during my first year of training, I pushed my bench press too hard and ended up with an impingement in my right shoulder.
I went to a physiotherapist who told me that I had a shoulder imbalance due to my training. The front deltoids (should muscles) were too strong in comparison to the rear deltoids.
As a result, my whole posture was being “pulled” forwards – leading to painful impingement.
To rectify the problem, I had to do 8 months of rehabilitation training. This mainly involved pushing very light weights to strengthen the tiny muscles inside my shoulders, eventually giving me the ball joints the support they needed to perform the big lifts.
Financial marketers can fall into a similar trap if they are not careful. You might want to launch straight into a “flashy” marketing campaign or hit the ground running with SEO or content marketing. However, without the right infrastructure in place, you could run aground. A good example is having a robust marketing automation system ready to handle leads.
In today’s digital world, it is very easy simply to sit around all day looking at different screens. It takes discipline to get yourself down to the gym 4 days a week, often early in the morning, and to commit to a diet routine.
Mental fortitude is not always highly valued in today’s Western culture. We like instant gratification and results. Yet, as religions and philosophies have taught us repeatedly over the ages, the best things often come to us after putting in hard work.
Delaying gratification often brings the real prize. Yet putting off gratification takes strength of will and mind. With marketing for financial firms, a similar dynamic often occurs. Disciplined marketers tend to get the best prizes compared to those who cut corners.
An example might be buying email lists from third-party vendors. Here, instead of putting in the hard work to attract high-quality leads with a great marketing strategy, financial firms bombard thousands of people with unsolicited emails – hoping for a few replies.
This approach can sometimes yield results. Yet the long-term effects include damage to the financial firm’s branding and a general attitude of apathy and contempt towards marketing in general. These, in turn, can lead to lost marketing opportunities later.
Strengthening overall health
Did you know that powerlifting can be done by people of nearly all ages?
Indeed, at one regional competition I attended, I met an Oxford University professor who was in her 70s. She went on to win in her weight category and sent a powerful message that weight lifting is not just for meatheads!
Weight training, such as powerlifting, is known to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis later on in life.
How “strong” or “brittle” is your financial marketing? Could your strategy be knocked over easily by a new entrant to your marketplace, or by a new advancement in technology? In short, how “future-proof” is your marketing?
If you want to explore these kinds of questions with a specialist, then get in touch to speak with a financial marketer here at MarketingAdviser. Book a free, no-commitment consultation using our form here.