How to Market Through the 401k Noise

Each quarter, identify one topic and then focus on it (well)

401k, marketing, retirementToo much is happening for him to think straight. What to do?

Lawsuits, regulations, white papers, new studies, government changes …the 401k and retirement plan industry is reeling from information overload. Every day, something new and BIG hits the newsroom. While this is great for our talented editors and industry writers, it’s very challenging for retirement plan advisors, and especially plan sponsors, to keep on top of the changes.

However, it’s also an opportunity for you to rise above the noise and stand out as your target market’s retirement plan expert.

Pick One Theme

Each quarter, identify one topic. Focus your marketing efforts on that specific topic and do it really well.  For example, right now some hot topics are:

  • Financial Wellness
  • Legislative and Regulatory Updates
  • Automated Plan Design Features
  • Active vs Passive Investment Line-ups and Selection …just to name a few

As you narrow your quarterly marketing campaign to one purpose, it’s much easier to research and discuss that one topic. Find the best white papers that address it and read them. Form your own opinion. Once you have the information readily available, it’s time to create marketing content that shares your new knowledge.

Find Your Voice

Armed with a topic and an arsenal of data, research, and information, it’s time to find your voice. By incorporating your mission statement and core values, try expressing your response to the following questions: what do you believe in? Where do you agree (and disagree) with popular industry opinion?

  • Do you believe Financial Wellness is important? Or, do you think it’s just a buzzword addressing pie-in-the-sky hopes and dreams?
  • Do you think the Conflict of Interest rule is in the best interest of the industry? Or is it rather more red tape and unnecessary hoops through which to jump?
  • What are the benefits of auto-features? Are they a long-term solution or a short-term Band-Aid that will eventually lead to more loans?
  • What about active vs passive investments? Is passive fine and dandy during a bull market? But what happens when there is a market correction? How are plan sponsors documenting their active and passive investment selection process to demonstrate thoughtful analysis (that would hold up in court)?

Express your hesitations and expectations. Convert your knowledge into a position of authority. Then talk about it—digitally and professionally. It’s okay if your voice is in sync with industry thinking and okay if your voice differs. The important point is that it’s your voice; it’s your position on that topic and it’s what you believe in.

Put Your Words into Action

Once you have your topic and opinions set forth, the next step is to share your voice with the world. This can be accomplished in a lot of different ways. One of the best ways to stay organized is to create a marketing calendar. Your calendar tells you day by day, week by week and month by month what content to create to promote your message. Here is a hypothetical example:

Quarterly Topic: Financial Wellness

Opinion: Extremely beneficial for both employers and employees. Enables employers to reduce health insurance premiums, decrease presenteeism, and increase workplace productivity. Employees experience increased financial confidence, lower money-related stress levels, and an increase in workplace morale.

Marketing Calendar (example)


  • Research and gather topic information
  • Write blog article on topic
  • Submit to compliance for review and approval


  • Post blog article on website
  • Share website article on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter)
  • Ask trusted professionals to “like”, comment and share article


  • Host webinar on topic
  • Record webinar
  • Post-webinar recording on website
  • Share webinar recording hyperlink on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter)
  • Ask trusted professionals to “like” and comment on Webinar Recording

Each quarter, select a topic that you are passionate about and create materials that demonstrate your knowledge and authority. It’s okay to discuss the same topic more than once. The retirement plan industry is complex. Each topic will lead down a slightly different rabbit hole that allows for deeper exploration—embrace this.

What you may find is that the more you learn about a topic the more conviction you will develop. That is excellent! It means you thoroughly know and understand your topic and you are the expert. This will lead more centers of influence, plan sponsors, business leaders and others to seek you out for your specialized knowledge, thus opening the door to opportunities like guest speaker invitations, magazine articles, podcast interviews and much more.

However, it all starts with focusing your efforts on one topic you are passionate about and doing it very, very well.

About 401(k) Marketing

401(k) Marketing is a niche branding and marketing agency for the retirement plan industry. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors, TPAs, recordkeepers, DCIOs, broker/dealers and RIAs in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We work with them to develop a marketing strategy and then to professionalize marketing collateral including websites, brochures, presentations and other plan sponsor-facing materials.

For on-going client awareness and pipeline development, we create turnkey marketing programs designed to educate plan sponsors, centers of influence, and the professional community with thought-leadership articles, social media, webinars, infographics, videos, and other modern marketing campaigns. 

Ultimately, we professionalize, spotlight, and highlight our clients as the expert retirement plan teams.  401(k) Marketing is based in San Diego, CA. Check us out at     

Be the first to comment on "How to Market Through the 401k Noise"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.