The power of group think and its effect on your marketing strategy

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A recent stint on jury duty reminded me of something my parents used to say to me as a child:

“If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”

While I never thought it would happen to me, a letter recently came in the mail summoning me for jury duty. Being a newcomer, I found myself fascinated by our jury group dynamic and the influence that group think had in our task of coming to a unanimous decision.

Group think is a phenomenon that has a large effect on the conformity of groups in their decision-making, and was apparent in our jury. It has a peculiar effect on people, and can serve as a trap when it comes to making any type of decision ─ even when it comes to how financial firms make their marketing decisions.

When making marketing decisions for your firm, many are inclined to follow the path that is already paved. But in order to break new ground in the financial space, it’s best to go against the grain and explore innovative ways to distinguish your firm, whether it’s an RIA, ETF issuer, or life insurance company. I’ve outlined a few ways to break away from the pack and do what’s best for your firm:

Focus on your own agenda

It’s easy to get pulled into what you may think is best for your firm based on what your competitors are doing. While you want to stay on the forefront of the ever-changing media landscape, focus on your firm’s unique goals and develop a well-thought-out strategy.

Maybe your firm is an upstart RIA looking to build a meaningful presence in your local market? Or, perhaps you have ambitions to create impact for your business, your products and your services on a national scale? It’s essential to convey the purpose of your business in the most straight forward way possible. In addition, remember that your marketing plan may pivot as your business goals change over time.

Distinguish your firm from the rest

In the investment product arena, simply having a new ETF or mutual fund to launch isn’t enough to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace anymore. Making a splash boils down to identifying what makes your firm or product different from the rest. Once you’ve identified a unique component of your work, don’t shy away from considering a plethora of media options to tell your story.

For example, CNCR, an ETF that tracks the Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy Index, invests in therapies that harness the body’s own immune system to treat cancer. With so many choices in the ETF market today, CNCR targets an innovative area that stands out from the rest. To showcase this, Loncar Investments enlisted portfolio company CEOs to help tell the immunotherapy story via a video series. Not only did the series educate investors on what immunotherapy is, but it also further established the firm’s credibility by underscoring its association with highly regarded thought leaders in the space.

Make room for creativity

With new content flooding our social media streams every minute, creative approaches are essential to attracting the eyes of more consumers. In fact, the opportunity to embrace out-of-the box ideas helps your firm remain relevant in the eyes of your customers. In 2016, the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company conducted a survey about the topics that individuals would frequently discuss at the dinner table. The challenge was to demonstrate that people would rather talk about imaginative or even gruesome topics than life insurance. To make light of this, the company was open to our idea of implementing cartoon strips in their campaign to illuminate the survey findings and resonate with more consumers.

Group think is a concept that inadvertently affects many decisions we make. However, to successfully refine your marketing strategy and drive results, it’s crucial to have your own voice. And when it comes to jury duty, just remember that even Obama gets summoned.