“A lot of advisors don’t track where their new clients come from,” Dave Welling, Schwab Institutional’s VP of marketing and advisor business management, says incredulously.

Welling meets with many of Schwab’s advisor clients in part to help with their marketing efforts, such as a firm he visited recently. “It’s a billion dollar firm and by their own admission they have no marketing strategy,” he says. “They don’t know where new clients come from. They can’t document how many of their new clients came from client referrals or professional referrals versus just walked in the door.”

Although marketing avoidance appears to be widespread at all levels of the profession, Welling is heartened to see more of the advisors he works with coming to realize the need for more discipline and accountability in how they market and manage the growth of their firms.