Financial Advisors Should Address “The Darth Vader Complex”

Marketing wizard Seth Godin says “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

To be an effective marketer in today’s attention deficit world, understanding and respectfully addressing a person’s worldview is the payment we must make to get their attention. These people, who are your prospects and clients, have some pretty strong opinions about you. However, you have the power to turn them into your best trumpeters.

Several years ago we conducted a series of focus groups across the U.S. We spoke to a wide variety of market segments including baby boomers, newly marrieds, upwardly mobile singles, soon-to-be retirees and retirees… people who are just like your clients. Our goal was to gain deeper understanding of the larger market. What we learned – no matter which segment we interviewed – was that financial advisors and the industry are perceived in a rather unflattering light; “used car salesmen”, “in it for themselves” and “just want to get their hands on my money” were among the comments we heard. But the one that really stuck with us was this: “They are all a bunch of Darth Vader’s, working for the Evil Empire”.DarthVaderComplex

Face it. This is the market’s predominant worldview. And no matter how much you protest or try to persuade otherwise, people can’t seem to get past that hard mask.

Many simply assume that financial advisors only have a selfish interest. Is that unfair? Probably. But whether conscious or unconscious, it’s an ingrained stereotype, a go-to perception.

So, even though your business may be growing, that growth represents only a small portion of what it could be if your marketing simply and effectively addressed the “Darth Vader Complex”.