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“Don’t be that donkey!” I said that out loud to myself the other day.

That may not sound like an inspiring mantra, it is a useful one for making marketing decisions. Let me explain.

It refers to a fable where a hungry, thirsty donkey is placed midway between a bucket of water and a stack of hay. He can’t make up his mind. So, he dies of both hunger and thirst.

When it comes to my marketing, I don’t want to be that donkey. I want to make the right, definitive decision for my business without being paralyzed. You shouldn’t be that donkey either.

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However, the odds are against us. We have way more options to choose from than just hay or water (I wish it were that easy). Every single day, some new tool or service — a promise of a breakthrough — is placed within arm’s reach.

Have you seen the FinTech Solutions Map from Michael Kitces? It has several hundred tools and services ranging from automated marketing and financial planning, to digital asset management and CRMs. That number isn’t getting smaller anytime soon.

The amount of “water and hay” is growing exponentially. As a result, many of us get paralyzed by decision fatigue and do nothing.

Or, we end up choosing random tools and services — one right after the other — and throw good money after bad, hoping that “this time, it’ll be different!”

Other times, we might summon our DIY spirit and try to do it all. Then, we buckle under the strain of managing way too much before landing right back where we started.

Where do we breakthrough? When will real change happen with marketing?

Building the Path

The truth is you will not find your marketing breakthrough inside of a tool. You’ll find it within a mindset first.

Don’t worry! This isn’t about the power of positive thinking (although that helps), or an exhortation to do the work (though, you must). This is about understanding that anyone who becomes your client follows a path.

With this in mind, you can intentionally build out that path for them so that it is clearly understood and a pleasure to go through. If you don’t embrace this idea, you will be leaving it all up to chance, keeping it clunky and ambiguous.

Related: How to Keep Financial Conversations Simple

Take some time to ask yourself and your team these questions — and write down the answers:

  1. What does the path to our business look like?
  2. Have we given thought to the repeatable ways we create awareness and engagement?
  3. Have we created an easy way for prospects to learn more about us, then ask to speak with the right person?
  4. Distinguish between new and existing clients: What does their path look like so that we maintain a strong connection with them, and make it likely that they’ll refer business to us?

Once you have a path mapped out, it will become clear how additional tools and services can help you bridge the gap.

Don’t let the tools dictate the path. You’ll be torn on what to do. Don’t be that donkey! Let the path dictate the tools you use.


Robert SofiaRobert Sofia is one of three co-founders and the CEO of Snappy Kraken, a marketing solution that helps financial professionals build connections with current and prospective clients through content and a turnkey process.