Do the discovery calls and due diligence, and run the cost-benefit analysis. I think the numbers will jump out at you.

- Dan Goeddel, Gatewood Wealth Solutions

Get strategic about your marketing goals, needs, and budget

Dan Goeddel of Gatewood Wealth Solutions has tried it all when it comes to marketing the St. Louis, Missouri, financial firm — from an intern, to hiring internal marketing staff, to working with three external marketing agencies. They were spending upwards of $300,000 each year with not a lot to show for it. That’s when Goeddel, the Chief Operating Officer and a partner, knew they had to take a step back and develop a clear, strategic goal for marketing that aligned to what they wanted to accomplish and the resources they could devote to it.

As Goeddel looked for marketing support for Gatewood, he reviewed LPL’s Marketing Solutions with a critical eye and discovered it was a game changer. “It really came down to value. We didn't need to hire headcount and were able to add tons of capabilities in a more strategic, focused way at less than a tenth of the cost previously,” he said. “I absolutely love that savings because we've been able to deploy it toward other strategic initiatives at the firm.”

Dan Goeddel:

I think the biggest thing we've accomplished so far with LPL Marketing Solutions is that to the external world, we are a unified singular firm. Whereas before, clients just interacted with a single advisor, now it's a cohesive brand approach. We are a true professional services firm, and I give all the credit to LPL Marketing Solutions for that major leap forward. My name is Dan Goeddel. I'm the Chief Operating Officer and partner at Gatewood Wealth Solutions based in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2022, you know, the market is going down and we're looking at our budget, you know, with fresh eyes. And that's when we looked at marketing within our company and we were spending somewhere between 250 and $300,000 a year. And that's what made me search for, "Okay, well what does LPL have to support larger teams like ours?" And I found LPL Marketing Solutions.

The value of our LPL marketing consultant cannot be highlighted enough. It's been a game changer to where you have that external strategic perspective on, "Hey, because I work with other advisors in other areas of the country, they're deploying tactics that maybe you guys should think about." I think that challenge on our actual strategy for marketing, asking the right questions to really clarify the strategy, so it's explicit and not just an implicit strategy, has been extremely helpful.

The first one I love as a COO is cost. You know, the cost is almost one tenth of a typical agency. The next one is compliance. It's direct integration, manage all your submissions and marketing compliance is beautiful. An external marketing agency can't do that. The third one, I feel like they actually get to know you and they know our industry so well. And I feel like LPL Marketing Solutions and our amazing consultant really gets us.

Where we see an impact in the actual data in terms of results is our website traffic. It's substantially up. It was really stuck at 2,000 visitors a month, and now we're breaking through 3,000 consistently. We had zero leads coming into the website, you know, that were qualified and high quality. Now we have one to three per month. I think the other little detail is just how our clients are actually opening emails now. We have HubSpot data to say who's opening emails, who's not, which is a good marker of engagement. The primary goal we had this year was to really brand as a cohesive firm, and I think that has been entirely accomplished. I think that the goal for 2024 is we really want to be impacting the leads generate for the firm in terms of qualified leads.

The demands start to pick up where you need to have cohesive, centralized client communications. You need a great website, you need great social media. You're trying to establish, "What is my brand, what is it not? What are the strategic goals for marketing?" If you're considering LPL Marketing Solutions, I would, I would go ahead and make the leap. You know, it's really not a long-term commitment. It's not a lot of costs out of pocket, and they're going to do everything, you know, that a full-time marketing employee could do and maybe then some. So it's a great savings when you think about it as, you know, "Do I want to hire an external agency that's eight to $12,000 a month? Do I want to hire a full-time marketing person, pay them, you know, bonus and benefits and all that? Or do I want to go with LPL Marketing Solutions?" I think you should really run the numbers, look at the cost, look at the benefits. But you know, I, having been in every one of those camps, I'll tell you the best value by far was LPL Marketing Solutions.

Marketing can help your financial advisors be seen as a cohesive, unified firm

Goeddel credits Marketing Solutions with presenting the financial firm as a unified, singular team to the public, as opposed to a group of individual financial advisors. This has established the 19-team member company as a true professional services firm under one cohesive brand.

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LPL’s marketing strategists understand who they’re working with and the financial industry

LPL’s marketing strategists take the time to get to know who they’re working with. They are integrated within LPL Financial and understand the industry where external agencies may struggle with that. Goeddel said, “Our amazing strategist really gets us: the tone we're going for and the things our client audience would appreciate. They're an extension of our firm.” Another positive aspect of working with Marketing Solutions is that because they are integrated with LPL, they manage all of the marketing compliance, an important step an external marketing agency can't do.

One recent example of how Gatewood’s marketing strategist helped the firm shine (and made their clients feel closer to them) was with the creation of a monthly company newsletter. Featuring their families and firm updates, the newsletter showcases who they are while streamlining how clients interact with them.

Gatewood focuses on the family unit as a client versus the individual, and their marketing strategist helps them convey that. Families they work with often include their initial point of contact, as well as their parents who may be going through long-term care events, and children who are getting their first jobs, starting to open their first accounts, and creating a plan for the first time. Goeddel said, “We found our ideal client is a family where we're working with all three of those generations. That's who we're built to serve.”

Delivering the right outcomes at a great value

Gatewood started working with Marketing Solutions about 18 months after joining LPL. For the first six months of the partnership, Goeddel met with his marketing strategist bimonthly. Now, one of his teammates connects with their strategist bimonthly, and Goeddel is part of the strategic discussions that happen on a quarterly basis.

He believes the ideal candidate is any financial firm that currently has the budget and resources to work with an external marketing agency and isn’t satisfied with the outcomes or value. As demands on a company start to increase, Marketing Solutions can help determine your strategic marketing goals, establish your brand, and deliver cohesive, centralized client communications, which include a great website and social media.

“We made the pivot [to Marketing Solutions] and the marketing quality has gone up and it's been way more efficient. I don't think it's ever too late to do it, but you want to be established enough to where you can carve out about two hours per month to really give marketing attention and focus.”

Since Gatewood has accomplished amplifying their brand with the help of Marketing Solutions, Goeddel’s 2024 goal is to impact business development and generate more qualified leads for the financial firm. Previously their website had about 2,000 visitors a month, and now they’re consistently breaking through 3,000 visitors. And with HubSpot data, they’re able to see who is and who isn’t opening their emails, which is a good marker of engagement that will help them develop and nurture leads through targeted campaigns. 

His advice for financial professionals considering LPL’s Marketing Solutions is to do the discovery calls and due diligence and run the cost-benefit analysis. For him, along with the quality work his strategist delivers, he appreciates that there’s no long-term commitment and the price is much lower compared to a full-time marketing employee or external agency. He said, “It's a great savings when you think about if you want to hire an external agency that's $8,000 to $12,000 a month or a full-time marketing person with bonus and benefits. Run the numbers, look at the cost, look at the benefits. I think the numbers will jump out at you. Having been in every one of those camps, I'll tell you the best value by far was LPL Marketing Solutions.”

Finding a strategic partner in LPL

Gatewood joined LPL Financial the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2019. They found LPL to be the perfect partner as they made the transition because LPL allowed them to go independent with the least amount of risk. “LPL provided transition assistance in the form of affordable notes that helped us build a new office and build out our whole new tech stack. At the time, our firm was 100% owned by our founder, John Gatewood, and he was near the end of his runway for retirement. Fast forward to today: we've bought out John and are a second generation-owned and operated firm.”

Goeddel shared the most recent example of LPL’s support was when they wanted to launch a new line of revenue within their financial firm. LPL made sure they navigated to the right person within the LPL ecosystem to get what they needed. “It's really unlocking a whole new stream of revenue that's diversified from our classic wealth management business, which has been amazing.”

Featured in this article

Dan Goeddel, Partner and Chief Operating Officer

LPL Marketing Solutions

LPL marketing strategists get to know you, and plan and execute a customized digital marketing strategy for your business.

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