Podcast: How to Become a Specialist Advisor with Doug Rainbolt (Listen Now)


How to Become a Specialist Advisor

We know that embracing a specialty can help advisors be more successful in their marketing, charge a premium for their services, and make it easier to find their ideal clients. But how can you go about choosing a specialty that’s right for you? In this episode, consultant to top advisors, Doug Rainbolt will explain how to become a specialist advisor:

  • How to evaluate potential niches
  • A proven process for defining your ideal client
  • Solving the biggest problem facing your target market
  • How to embrace a specialty you love
  • How to market to your ideal prospects as a specialist advisor

Listen here now, or download and subscribe on iTunes to listen on your commute!

New episodes will be published weekly with various guests, including top advisors, tech consultants, and marketing machines who are excited to tell you how to use proven marketing strategies to grow a thriving practice.


Claire Akin (CA): Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of The Marketing Podcast for Financial Advisors. I’m your host, Claire Akin. Today I’m really excited to have Doug Rainbolt with us. We are going to be talking about how advisors can figure out how to embrace a specialty. What’s the right specialty for them? How can they test out a different specialty before they put a bunch of marketing dollars towards that? I’m really excited to have Doug with us.

Doug is a partner and CMO with Chief Outsiders. He has been a senior marketer for many years. I actually came across Doug when we were working with a financial advisor together who had a fascinating niche. He was doing financial planning for Intel employees. Doug, I know, really helped their firm to focus on that specialty and embrace that niche. It was really successful for them. He was a great resource on that project. We’ve kept in touch over the years. Doug is going to help us today to talk about his process and how he helps financial professionals to figure out who they should focus on. Welcome to the program, Doug.

Doug Rainbolt (DR): Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

CA: Great.  Let’s start out with talking a little bit about what you’re most excited about personally this year. What’s going on in your life?

DR: Good question. I think I’ll carve this in two pieces. First is the personal side. For the second part, I’ll share some thoughts or tips to marketing growth and marketing education, which I love doing.

On the personal side, the great news this year is my youngest graduates from high school. On top of that, he got a basketball offer to play college basketball in Seattle. In fact, signs his Letter of Intent today, so that’s really exciting, really pleased about that. I wish him the best going forward.

On the business side, I would say on the marketing front, a couple of things really have been on my mind this year, as far as learning, and the application of such. The first is this idea of what we call advocacy marketing, the idea of being able to turn your customers into advocates, you know, post a sale. I think so much of the time we as marketers are so focused on the acquiring of somebody, getting a lead in, working the lead, nurturing the lead, and that eventually closes. We don’t think about, oftentimes, what happens post the transaction.

There’s a whole group of thought around how do we nurture people post the transaction to keep them focused, to keep them engaged. To have them be motivated to actually help in some ways as far as, for example, content creation, or word-of-mouth to different prospects. In doing so, the key thing is that it actually increases your referral count. As you know, Claire, referrals, as far as lead source, is like gold. It does shorten the sales cycle. It does help people self-qualify themselves. The key to this process is to really get people engaged post sales, so they can be your best advocate to increase your referral count. That’s been a top-of-mind thing for me as I coach clients.

I’d say the second thing would be, I had a CMO peer who made the introduction to a guy named Patrick Renvoise, who wrote a book called The Persuasion Code. It deals with, in a nutshell, neuromarketing and the importance of you finding balance between the logical side and the emotional side, the primal brain and its responses and its role as far as the buying process. The thing about that is when he helped me as far as how I think about messaging in a very authentic way, but being mindful of people’s emotional side as they engage, and as they work through their process of buying.

CA: That’s fantastic. Congratulations on your son’s scholarship, that’s awesome. And I agree. There’re so many opportunities from a marketing standpoint, and particularly for financial services, it’s all about referrals. It’s interesting to do that kind of work around, after you complete a transaction with somebody and they’re happy, how can you leverage them as a referral source?

That’s one thing that we do for our advisors, is that we write client profiles. We’ll profile a client who maybe came to the advisor when they were starting their own business, and they didn’t know if they had enough money to go out on their own. Then they did, and their business was successful, and now their life is better. That’s a fantastic personal client profile that you can create and have on your website. It helps people understand what you do and how you help. It  humanizes the whole process. I think that’s great advice there.

Let’s talk a little bit about specialization in general. Of course, I have a very unique specialty, and people, sometimes when I talk on the phone with advisors, they can’t believe that this is all I do. I work with independent financial advisors who have a specialty. That’s pretty unique. People who have a specialty need custom content, and they need somebody familiar with our industry, familiar with compliance. It’s a very specific niche. There’s certainly a need for it, and there’s a higher willingness to pay. I encourage advisors to embrace a specialty so that they can command that higher willingness to pay. Charge a premium for their services, and make it easier to find their ideal clients, and solve the most pressing problems for their potential clients.

Walk us through why is it so important to choose a specialty, and how can advisors go about evaluating potential specialties?

DR: Sure. First of all, let me just say as a premise here, as I walk through this, I’d like the listeners to understand, first and foremost, my conviction, my visceral belief is you’ve got to be passionate about people to start with. There’s nothing phony or make-believe about marketing, it’s about doing the right thing to help people, and help people solve problems. So you’ve got to have that, you’ve got to love people, which most of your listeners do, I assume. But you’ve got to have that as a foundational piece.

Let me read to you a problem statement I see when it comes to financial advisors, and the problems they solve. We all know that there’s a need out there. The need is immense for people who need support and guidance and tips to financial planning. Part of the problem I see, a foundational problem, is that when I look at messaging on websites, or listen to presentations, not yours, obviously, others, they all sound the same to me. There’s no differentiation as far as the messaging. It’s logical. It all comes down to, I should say their approach seems logical. That the idea that people need this, and you’ve got a plan, and we build a plan, and the plan is bulletproof, and we have all these methodologies to really test your plan, make sure it’s rock solid, and you have us as a, really, your trusted advisor.

The problem from a listener is that it all sounds the same. It all sounds the same, so therefore, it’s really hard to respond to something that’s so homogeneous. That’s the first part. The second part deals with this, and it ties back into this idea of neuromarketing, right? We think about why people do things. We think about why the approach. Let’s face it, oftentimes when an advisor says, “Let’s meet,” and it’s fairly soon in the sales process, you get this visceral “No, I don’t want to do this.” It’s almost this fear of response, even prospects can’t explain because the money piece is so emotional, it’s so deep. Yet what oftentimes happens is that people won’t respond unless there is that emotional response. We tend to almost genericize this messaging, and we’re not really hitting the key pain points around why they should meet, and what’s going on.

That idea about specialization really is to provide a unique messaging that really addresses a pain point. A pain point is bigger and deeper than perhaps this need for a financial plan. They all know that, but something deeper. The problem, if you become very general, as far as even the messaging, and you reach out in a very general way, you get very mediocre response. You’re much better off finding your wheelhouse, the area that you’re really passionate about and unique in, where your superpower is exercised, to be able to really be pinpoint and accurate around trying to appeal to people’s emotional state, backed by logic. To motivate them to engage, and to keep the conversation going, to a point where they feel comfortable, based upon the merits, and your credibility to extend to a meeting and going forward.

It may be a longer sales cycle. You do it that way and do it right, with meaningful information around positioning, how you solve their problem. Then they move along the process, and then if you do it right, you find a group of people who are so satisfied, post that, that they’re your greatest referral source. From there, it does begin to accelerate the sales process.

Specializations are about really pinpointing the right people, the right message to engage them. Then having them be your best advocate going forward to help you build more leads and bigger funnel, in a much more accelerated way.

CA: That’s great. That’s great advice. It’s so funny because this morning, before our recording, I was on the phone with an advisor who pretty much exclusively serves interior designers, which is pretty cool. He works with and gets a lot of his clients from a CPA who serves interior designers, and the CPA firm is called Interior Design CPA. It’s all over their website, they have a cool, hip logo, that I’m sure was created by one of their designer clients. That’s what they do. It’s interesting because in my conversation with this advisor, I said, what about rebranding to the design financial planner? He said, “No, no, no, no, no. I couldn’t do that. I don’t want to alienate anyone who isn’t a designer.”

Well, you just told me that everyone you’re working with is a designer, and everyone that you want to work with in the future is a designer. So, if you were the interior designer financial advisor, it would be a lot easier for people to remember you and to refer to you, and to feel at home with you. Yet he was really reticent to do that because the fear of alienating people that don’t belong to that group. And it’s interesting, because I’m not even sure if interior designers have specific needs when it comes to their CPA, that they need to be that familiar with the interior design business model. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But maybe it’s just a memorable way to get new clients. “My CPA is the interior design CPA, you should go to him, he’s great.”

So it’s about both embracing a specialty because you serve them best, and also to make it easier to refer and more comfortable to refer. And so I do always encourage advisors to really take a leap of faith and make the jump and embrace your specialty; if it’s the people that you love working with, you won’t be disappointed.

Let’s talk a little bit about, as they’re evaluating, maybe of a generalist advisor that right now will take anybody with a heartbeat, or who casts a shadow, but they know they need to specialize. What are some ways that they can evaluate different specialties to figure out whether or not it will work?

DR: That’s a good question. Let me just share an example, what I’ve done, and add some color to it. And much of this stuff I learned from my working in Silicon Valley, where I worked for years and years and years, this idea of testing, testing value propositions, testing markets. I’ll start by saying that oftentimes people just guess at something, go at it full blast. I think that’s wrong. You should do some testing up front to make sure you’re in the right place. Oftentimes what I do with my clients, we’ll sit down and I’ll ask them, what are you passionate about? What really causes you to get up in the morning and just have great enthusiasm and passion for your work each day? What kind of people would you like to serve?

I’ve seen some businesses where people will serve clients who they’re less enthusiastic about, and maybe for good reason. I think it’s a recipe for disaster, or people’s lives not being enriched, being a provider of the service. Sit down and just think about what would you like to do? Who would you like to serve? It’s not just the who, but what kind of problems would resonate with that group? What we would do is put together a list of potentials and then applying some what we call lean principles for startups. Begin to describe that group from a demographic and cyclographic standpoint. Who are these people? Begin to fill out a form and say, this is what we think they are, this is what we think they do, this is what we think their problems are.

The important thing up front is to recognize, oftentimes, that these are what I call, without being too nerdy, hypotheses. We think about these. We think these things might be true. We weigh them and say, gosh, given these different groups that we can market to, and given our hypotheses around who they might be and so on, and the problems they might have, how do we test this? We prioritize that list. And then the idea is to what we call “leave the building.” Oftentimes we tend to look behind our laptops and make phone calls, but we sometimes are reticent to go out and actually meet people and talk with them. I really encourage people to go out to those spaces and meet people.

The way I do it is, be really careful to present to these people that this is not a sales call, I’m trying to learn something. I’m trying to understand something about the market. I’m testing something. It may help that being the marketing person, and not as much the analyst or the advisor, might help. But what was surprising to me in the financial sector, how many people, I should say the advising sector, how many people said yes, they would take a call with me. I would slot these calls for 30 minutes, and the first part was what I call the problem statement hypothesis, first meeting. I would say something like, “I know you work in this space, let me just read to you a narrative that describes what I think your life is like and where you’re at as far as your business and your personal life, even your finances,” which became quite personal.

By doing so, I put something on the wall. I put down an assumption that could be tested. And what they would say is, as far as recipient goes, “That’s not my problem. It’s not that, it’s this.” I was then able to really use that canvas to be able to uncover what the problems were and ask questions about what really was going on in their lives. It was surprising what kind of feedback I received. It was surprising as well to uncover things I hadn’t thought about.

For example, I’ll share one area that really struck my heart cord was, in talking to people about financial services, there was one specialty that really stood out to me personally. It was families with disabled children, such as Down syndrome, or something else going on, but which they just felt so isolated relative to support. Their financial plans were in shambles, or close to being, and needing help relative to getting through that. Getting help in some ways was more than just the financial advisor, but an ecosystem of people around them that the financial advisor be part of to really facilitate a plan that was well thought out and connected.

My point is that these interviews yield different things and ideas. You came into it, what you think might be true, is not true. What you thought might be, the ideas you had about where to target are different. So then you come back in the group, you say, gosh, we learned all these great things, what do we think about this? Does this make sense? Are we missing something that we don’t understand? If that is the case, you go back and test some more. But you get to a point where you think, gosh, given that focus, what would be the appropriate solution for that? Do we have that today, or do we need to make some adjustments?

Next, you do a powwow around that, and just come to terms with that, and then you go out again for a second series of interviews, and you test that with people. You say, gosh, we have again these hypotheses about these problems, and by this time, you have enough data by which, by and large, these people say, yes, that’s true, that is my problem, that is real. Then you say, given that, we’re thinking about this solution to that problem. Next, they’ll tell you again, that’s on or that’s off. And so you do the same process again, refinement around that, to a point where you know where to target, because you have the data, and you know what solution is required.

Then it comes down to a process by which you say, we’re going to target these people based upon this messaging framework, that’s very pinpointed, around pain problems that guides them through this process in an incredible way. Make them aware, to educate them, to help them compare consideration, different offerings, as they investigate, even to a point where they feel comfortable asking for a meeting to engage in terms of sitting at a table, discussing it. So all that content is laid out. Then from there, being able to lay out the right acquisition channels and lead nourishing programs, everything else. It all follows. My point is, this clear, up-front research that’s based upon observation, iteration, and testing. It really does, like I said, deploy some Silicon Valley-type processes. I think it’s equally applicable to financial services and many things.

CA: Absolutely. I agree. It’s interesting because a lot of times advisors don’t necessarily have a long-term view on their investment when they’re getting to know their target market, or they’re trying to paint the picture of their ideal client. That’s why I do my free 30-minute marketing brainstorm calls, is because I love to talk to advisors, hear what their pain points are, hear what they’ve tried, what’s a waste of money, what has worked in the past, what are they thinking about doing? That’s how I get my market intel. The same thing should be true for advisors listening.

It should be your hobby to learn more about your target market. You should be offering a free brainstorming session, or a free Q&A session, or a free sounding board workshop for your potential clients, where they can ask you questions. They can tell you about their frustrations, their goals, their fears. No one ever came to a financial advisor because they thought that their investments were paying too much in fees and not getting a high enough return. That may be what you think you do for them, but that’s not why they come to you. Understanding why they come to you, what they’re interested in solving in their lives, what’s going to help them sleep better at night, what are they excited about moving forward with you to address? That is the key to your marketing.

It does take work, and it takes listening. You may spend a lot of time on the phone and not make any money. It’s all an investment in your future and in honing your expertise, to grow your business. I really appreciate all of your insights, Doug. Why don’t you close it out by telling me a little bit about the mistakes you see people making from a marketing perspective. If you could recommend them doing one thing, what would you recommend?

DR: I think the mistakes I see, I’ll say there are probably three that come to mind. The first is, as I said before, generic messaging, about who and why. Being really focused is really important. Knowing your passion, knowing the problems out there and creating really custom messages that move people, that stand out, make you different.

The number-two mistake I see quite a bit is people trying to accelerate their process, the sales process, the gates. As I said, too quickly saying, “Let’s have a meeting.” It just rocks people sometimes, like, I’m not ready to have a meeting. Oftentimes, you try to too prematurely, and the door’s closed, or people stop returning phone calls. Being patient, I think, is really key. Having that really mindful, heartful approach to where people are, and nurturing them along. In some ways, helping them self-qualify themselves, and move through the process. Because that trust is really earned.

I think the third thing I would say is not asking good enough questions. We tend to already listen. We tend to give the pitch and we’re so eager sometimes to say, here’s our pitch, as opposed to taking the time and taking three breaths, and saying, hey, I have some questions for you. I always thought the idea of an ideal sales call early on is when the prospective client talks two-thirds the time. If you can do that and be disciplined at that, you’ll learn so much more and be able to really come back with a precise answer to help guide them through.

Those are the three things I see happening. My one advice for people as they go through this is to know your superpower. Know what you’re really good at, what you’re really passionate about. I was reading a book by Seth Godin, called This Is Marketing. Maybe some of the listeners have read it. It really made an impact on me. The idea is that people, because people who want to hear your voice, they really want to hear what advisors have to say, believe me there are. But it’s almost like this, what we do in marketing is we change lives for the better, like we change lives for the better. And there are people out there, we have to believe that you could help change their lives in the area of financial planning; you can, right? The key is to find them.

What Seth says in his book is, if you don’t do that, you hold your voice back from helping somebody, that their life could change for the better. It’s equivalent to stealing. You have a duty and an obligation to support them. So if you do that, it really motivates people to, this is my duty to serve these people, how do we do that? So that’s my one advice to really help guild advisors in their prospecting and support efforts.

CA: I love that. I think it comes from a place of serving people. I love that idea of not being afraid to serve people and to help people. I know all the advisors listening love to help people. But what if you could put that into your marketing? I’ll give you an example. I work with a business coach that his onboarding process is, he does two free sessions. A lot of people do one free session. I do one free session for advisors on their marketing. My business coach does two free sessions because you can’t experience the positive impact of business coaching unless you actually have two sessions.

The first session, you set your goals, and the second session, he holds you accountable for achieving your goals. After your two free sessions, you’ve actually seen the results, you’ve accomplished something that you wouldn’t have otherwise accomplished, in your business or in your life, as a result of his serving. I think that there’s a way that advisors can bring that into their marketing. Instead of offering one sounding board session, maybe you offer free recommendations that people can implement, and they can get a sense of the benefit that you are giving through your financial planning practice. They can feel better about their life, about their future, feel more confident about their financial plan as a result of your introductory process.

To give them a taste of what you offer is often more powerful than any sales pitch in the world. I just encourage you guys to think about that, think about how you can incorporate it for your own practice. Don’t be afraid to give away 90% of what you know because when people understand how much you care, and how much you can help them, they will come back, and they will hire you.

Thank you so much, Doug, for being a part of the show. I hope it was really valuable for the advisors listening. We really appreciate your help.

DR: My pleasure, thanks.

CA: If you’d like any resources from today’s episode, or from other episodes, go to IndigoMarketingAgency.com/remember. It’s hard to forget that address, IndigoMarketingAgency.com/remember.

How can we help you with your marketing?

We help top advisors with a true specialty to create custom marketing plans. Our most popular services include our Independent Websites for Independent Advisors, our Search Engine Optimization service, and our Monthly Marketing Package, but we can also help answer your questions and work with you on project-based marketing campaigns.

About Claire

Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency, a full-service marketing firm serving financial advisors. It’s her mission to help independent financial advisors help more people through their incredibly important work. Claire is a former Investment Advisor Representative who holds her MBA in Marketing from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego as well as a BA in Economics from UC Davis.


Katie Cress Digital Marketing Consultant, Sales & Client Strategist
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Samantha Triglia

Marketing Assistant
Queens, New York

In her integral role, Samantha Triglia schedules social media posts, deploys email campaigns, and updates Google Business Profile pages for clients’ new blog posts. She also assists with lead generation/tracking and other administrative tasks. Helping out wherever she’s needed, Samantha appreciates the opportunities she has to learn and grow in her position. She says, “I love being a part of the team, especially when content deployment involves many moving parts and collaboration to get done and ready to go.”

A former teacher for 14 years, Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Education from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. She also holds a Master of Arts in Middle School Earth Science Education from CUNY Brooklyn College and a Master of Science in Educational Administration and Leadership from the University of Scranton. (Yes, TWO master’s degrees!) While in college, Samantha was the assistant to the Chief Compliance Officer of a brokerage firm on Madison Avenue in New York City for high-net-worth individuals and families, so she’s quite familiar with the types of clients Indigo serves.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Samantha currently lives in Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York (the place the Ramones song is about!), with her husband, Matt (a Navy veteran and currently a New York City Firefighter), and their three sons, Matthew, Thomas, and James. Outside of work, Samantha enjoys spending time with her family riding bikes on their neighborhood boardwalk and going to the beach. They love to travel, including yearly family trips to Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Universal Studios in Florida (they’re big Harry Potter fans!). Samantha also stays active exercising and playing on a women’s softball team and a co-ed beach volleyball team with her husband.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Beverly Anderson

Beverly Anderson

Account Manager
Portland, Oregon

Beverly Anderson is the go-to contact point for advisors to create a targeted and cohesive marketing strategy that is unique to their specific goals. She loves seeing her clients experience positive results from their marketing efforts, and as a world traveler, she appreciates the ability to work remotely and connect with clients from any country.

Beverly holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Oregon State University. In addition to traveling, she enjoys making music as a singer/songwriter and anything outdoors (she’s an avid snowboarder and rock climber). She and her partner have a rescue pup, Toro, a former street dog in Cabo, Mexico, before they adopted him. Beverly has three older sisters, with whom she is very close, and they all, along with her mother, live in the Portland area. Although she spent the first half of her childhood in Fountain Hills, Arizona, Beverly considers Portland to be home.

Watch this video to hear why Beverly loves working with Indigo.

Hugo Fernandez CEO of Indigo Marketing

Hugo Fernandez

Whispering Pines, North Carolina

Leading the Indigo team with heart, Hugo Fernandez is passionate about helping our financial advisors attract a flood of their A+ clients with sustainable marketing campaigns. He enjoys running companies that are wildly successful and wearing a black t-shirt every day of his life. When his two favorite things come together, you have an average day at Indigo.

Hugo Fernandez is also CEO of Indigo’s partner company, Just Digital, and author of The Client Acquisition Blueprint. He has personally helped hundreds of entrepreneurs grow their business through his proven blueprint for creating an EPIC marketing strategy and online presence.

Kelli McLeod Director of Client Services

Kelli McLeod

Director of Client Services
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Kelli McLeod plays an integral role at Indigo while overseeing the Account Services Team, providing customer service, getting financial advisors onboarded and in serving as their primary point of contact during that process. Her team looks to her for her leadership and decision-making abilities For Kelli, the most rewarding part of this role is working with clients one-on-one to ensure they’re happy and that their needs are met.

Kelli has a bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations from Pacific Lutheran University. More recently, she’s done extensive work in the corporate housing and property management industries.

Kelli currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Ian, who is an officer in the U.S. Army, and their two sons, Zachary and Cameron. When she’s not working, you can find her running or hiking, attending group fitness classes, and cooking. Kelli’s also an avid book club enthusiast, so be sure to reach out to her if you’re looking for a new read.

Sara Dressler

Director of Operations

DuPont, Washington

Sara Dressler manages all systems and operating processes while overseeing several departments. Sara is responsible for supervising many activities within Indigo and identifying areas of improvement to better meet company goals. She functions as the bridge connecting management to every department.

Sara has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in communications from Pacific Lutheran University. She leverages this degree, along with her years of experience as a virtual assistant, to keep our company running like a well-oiled machine. Sara is happiest when spending time with her family. Her three young boys and life as a military spouse keep her busy, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. She lives an active lifestyle and loves working out, getting outside, and watching sports with her family (whether it’s on TV, at her kids’ games, or in the backyard).

Indigo Marketing Team Member Elizabeth Reider Director of Marketing

Elizabeth Reider

Director of Marketing
Clearwater, Florida

Elizabeth Reider is a woman of many talents. She spent 10 years as a Chief Marketing Officer for a top-level independent financial advisor, and since her entry into financial services, she has networked and become friends with many advisors. Elizabeth admires their empathy, knowledge, and passion for their work, and has seen how independent advisors are more than professionals providing investment and planning advice; they are trusted confidants, life coaches, and guides. Over time, they become a part of their clients’ extended family—and she loves coming alongside that. (Check out this video to hear directly from Elizabeth about why she loves working with financial advisors.)

As Director of Marketing, Elizabeth helps get the word out about how partnering with Indigo can take an advisor’s marketing to the next level and beyond to grow their business and increase their productivity.

Elizabeth earned her bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business. She also holds a life, health, and variable annuity license, which gives her a special understanding of the many products and services advisors offer. Originally from Clearwater, FL, Elizabeth loves to travel and has visited 12 countries, including extended visits to eSwatini, Africa, to visit family and assist with humanitarian relief programs. She has seen firsthand how independent financial advisors are providing advice to their clients that outpours into the lives of their own families, staff, community, and sometimes across the globe. When she’s not working, Elizabeth enjoys attending orchestral and theater productions with her husband, David, and taking their son, Julian, to art museums, as well as family evenings in the backyard playing baseball with her son and shih-tzu poodle, Wrigley. She is also an active participant in overseas humanitarian work—using her skills to make a difference in the lives of others.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Katie Cress

Katie Cress

Digital Marketing Consultant, Sales & Client Strategist
Cincinnati, Ohio

It’s Katie Cress’s mission to help financial advisors reach their ideal prospects through custom digital marketing. On any given day, you can find Katie meeting with new financial advisors to learn more about their marketing goals, who they love working with, and why they’re passionate about helping others. Her favorite part of her job is meeting new advisors every day and continuing to learn how each firm and individual advisor is different, and using her marketing and small business background to help them craft a game plan that empowers them to grow their business and enhance their services. Often described by loved ones as a “helper” and “caretaker,” Katie is passionate about advocating for her advisors’ needs and supporting her coworkers to help them succeed.

Katie holds an MBA from Xavier University and a BA in Economics from Ohio University. A Midwest girl for life, she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband, Brandon (who’s also a marketing guru), and their three kids, Charli, Lucy, and Teddy. She and her husband also own Clean Eatz Cafe, where they use their collective marketing prowess and love of food to create a welcoming space for employees and hungry customers alike. Katie is passionate about and for small business owners, being raised by her father who was an entrepreneur, being one herself with her husband, and working with them every day at Indigo. She loves the spirit, creativity, and drive of entrepreneurs. When Katie’s not working or helping run the family business, she enjoys working out with her husband at Orange Theory, loving on her three kids, and cooking delicious food.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Lori Koepke

Lori Koepke

Account Manager
Boise, Idaho

Lori Koepke plays a major role as a liaison between Indigo Marketing Agency and its wonderful clients. She works directly with our advisor clients on their marketing strategies, marketing calendars, article creation, editing processes, compliance approvals, deployment of their content, and more. Lori enjoys helping strategize and be a support to her clients, and loves the camaraderie among the Indigo team members.

Before joining the Indigo team, Lori was a schoolteacher for 10 years. She has a Master of Education and Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Concordia University in Portland, OR. She was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C., and lived in Vancouver, WA, for 25 years before moving to Boise, Idaho, where she currently resides with her husband, Jeremy, and four wonderful kids, Sophie, Tanner, Jonas, and Violet. In her free time, you can find Lori reading, watching football, and driving her kids to all their activities.

Watch this video to hear why Lori loves working with Indigo.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Heidi Wilson

Heidi Wilson

Account Manager
Fort Knox, Kentucky

Heidi Wilson thrives on helping advisors create an online voice and streamline their marketing efforts. With her mother being a retired financial advisor and her brother-in-law currently a CFP® professional, she’s passionate about taking the marketing pressure off of advisors so they are able to focus on their clients. She loves when advisors tell her something we did for them helped; it can be as simple as taking something off their very busy plate or helping them land a new client with one of the articles we wrote. With broad-based consumer and B2B marketing experience, Heidi is constantly thinking outside the box and brings a fresh perspective to the Indigo team.

Heidi holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Florida State University and hails from Tampa, Florida. Her husband, Chris, is in the U.S. Army, and as they are constantly moving, they take every opportunity to explore the new areas where they’re living. Some of their favorite places they’ve called home include Hawaii and New Orleans. Heidi is thankful for the opportunity to work remotely with Indigo, which allows her to take her job with her, no matter where the Army moves her family next.

Watch this video to hear why Heidi loves working with Indigo.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Jillian Segrue

Jillian Segrue

Account Manager
Columbus, Georgia

Jillian Segrue acts as a liaison between clients and the Indigo team, using her 12 years of customer service experience in fields such as healthcare, financial services, and risk management to help hone their message and deploy it effectively and efficiently. Jillian enjoys building unique relationships with each of her clients as she uniquely helps them reach their ideal target audience.

Jillian has a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and a minor in business administration from SUNY Brockport. Originally from Rochester, NY, she currently lives in Columbus, GA, with her husband, Tim (an Army captain), daughter, Macie, son, Henry, and two cats. As a military spouse, Jillian appreciates the flexibility Indigo provides—allowing her to juggle motherhood and excelling in her career—and its unmatched positive, supportive, and uplifting company culture. In her free time, Jillian loves to read, shop, and go running outdoors (just not in the Georgia heat!).

Indigo Marketing Team Member Amanda Laskey

Amanda Laskey

Account Manager
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Amanda Laskey works with clients one-on-one to develop and implement marketing strategies that help spread the word about who they are and how they help. In her role, Amanda strives to deliver outstanding customer service to our clients. She is tech-savvy, an independent problem-solver, extremely organized, an excellent communicator, and thrives on helping others. She appreciates the ability to work remotely in a collaborative team environment while supporting her family.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Inclusive Education from Seton Hill University and has over 10 years of experience in secondary classroom teaching and over 3 years as an Executive Assistant. A proud Army spouse, Amanda resides in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband, Brandon, their two sons, Jackson and Harrison, and their sheepadoodle, Waylon, and goldendoodle, Cash. Outside of work, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family, relaxing at the beach, traveling to new places, dessert, and all things Disney.

Indgio Team Member Dan Corcoran

Dan Corcoran

Account Manager
Madison, Wisconsin

Dan Corcoran enjoys being on the front lines of financial advisor marketing, working directly with advisors to help them build a strong marketing plan to get their firm’s message out. Working remotely can be a challenge as talking to others, brainstorming, and sharing experiences recharges him; he maximizes touchpoints to connect with others to make every day at Indigo rewarding.

Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He enjoys drone photography and videography (he owns his own drone business, Forward Focus Photography), sports broadcasting (he was a hockey broadcaster for four years prior to COVID), spending time with family, camping/hiking, running, swimming, and road biking.

Originally from Sun Prairie, WI, Dan has three siblings, and prior to joining Indigo’s team, he worked for an RIA in Madison for two years.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Kasey Yhap

Kasey Yhap

Account Manager
Ellicott City, MD

Kasey Yhap’s commitment to her clients is the driving force behind her work. Her diverse educational background (a bachelor’s and master’s degree in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in communications from Syracuse University) has equipped her with the unique skill set required for success. Kasey’s strong communication skills and creative mindset, combined with her passion for helping her clients, make her a valuable asset to the team.

In her free time, Kasey stays active and maintains a healthy lifestyle through yoga, CrossFit, and spending time outdoors. These hobbies complement her professional life by allowing her to recharge and bring new ideas to her work at Indigo.

Kaitlin Thornal

Marketing Assistant
Fort Moore, Georgia

Kaitlin Thornal helps clients onboard as they begin their marketing journey with Indigo, and she loves meeting new people and learning new things. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication/Public Relations, International Studies, and a minor in French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University.

Kaitlin was born at Fort Lewis, Washington, but she moved around a lot growing up, spending the most time in North Carolina. She now resides in Fort Moore, Georgia, with her husband, Mason, and their four children, Caroline, Mason, Jack, and Bo. Kaitlin’s favorite place to live has been Europe (Italy, Ireland, and Belgium) and she would go back in a heartbeat! In her spare time, she enjoys long-distance running, reading, and spending time in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Anne Wheeler

Anne Wheeler

Marketing Assistant
Cincinnati, Ohio

Anne Wheeler is responsible for a variety of administrative tasks as well as updating social media pages for clients. Anne enjoys the creative side of her position and the ability to collaborate with the team to help advisors get started with Indigo.

Anne holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee. Outside of work, she enjoys walking, baking, spending time with her husband, Rick (a structural engineer), and two sons, Thomas and Turner. Anne loves being a full-time mom, and appreciates that Indigo gives her the opportunity to work part-time while still caring for her boys.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Lisa Gaines

Lisa Gaines

Content Deployment Manager
Fort Hood, Texas

Lisa Gaines spends her work days uploading blog posts to our clients’ websites and LinkedIn profiles, drafting emails, and making adjustments to content as advisors request. Lisa has learned a lot as a long-time member of the Indigo family and has enjoyed seeing the processes evolve to become more streamlined and efficient over time. And she loves working with the amazing Indigo team! 

Lisa is a proud alum of Texas A&M University, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. As a military child, Lisa feels as though she grew up everywhere; however, she claims central Texas as home where most of her family is originally from. She currently lives in Fort Hood, Texas, with her husband, Korey (an active-duty Army officer), and two kids, Madelyne and Jameson. As a military family, Lisa moves quite a bit—often to areas where the job market is small. She loves that Indigo provides her with a steady job she can take with her wherever she goes. When she’s not working, Lisa enjoys dabbling in interior design, binging a good Netflix series, and spending time with friends and family.

Read more about why Lisa loves working with Indigo.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Jennifer Farrior

Jennifer Farrior

Lead Writer & Proofreader
Louisville, Kentucky

Jennifer Farrior is Indigo’s go-to for all things proofreading and editing. Her attention to detail is unmatched, and she takes pride in making sure every article is clean and concise before it heads out to our financial advisors. She says, “Even a single typo can affect an advisor’s credibility, and we strive for perfection when it comes to how they’re presented online.” As Lead Writer, Jennifer trains and manages the team of writers, and also writes and collaborates with team members to create Indigo’s blog posts and promotional material.

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA. In addition to her role at Indigo, she runs her own copy editing and proofreading business, She Proofreads LLC. Jennifer hails from San Diego, California, but now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her three kids, Joshua, Julia, and Joel, and goldendoodle, Dexter. She loves working at Indigo because it provides her with the income, flexibility, and the community she needs as a stay-at-home mom. Outside of work, you can find her spending time with her kids, friends, boyfriend, or working on a puzzle while watching Netflix.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Sarah Robichaud

Sarah Robichaud

Social Media Manager
Rochester Hills, Michigan

Sarah Robichaud uses her love of spreadsheets to create engaging content calendars for our clients’ social media pages. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Salisbury University and a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from Liberty University. In addition to her role at Indigo, Sarah volunteers as a virtual administrator for Army Wife Network, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower and educate military spouses through blogs, podcasts, and various other resources.

Born and raised in Maryland, Sarah currently lives in Rochester Hills, Michigan, with her husband, Andrew, two children, Emily and Logan, and two fur babies, Penny and Chewbacca. As a military spouse and mother, Sarah loves working for Indigo because of the flexibility it affords her, allowing her to continue to build her career while frequently relocating around the globe and working on her own schedule to accommodate a busy lifestyle. Sarah also loves Indigo’s supportive team atmosphere. Outside of work and volunteering, you can find Sarah enjoying time outdoors with her family, typically running, camping, or traveling. An avid traveler, she’s visited 16 countries and is always planning her family’s next great adventure.

Peter Wardenaar

Peter Wardenaar

SEO Specialist & IT Lead
Cali, Colombia

As a natural problem-solver, Peter Wardenaar uses his skills to help financial advisors find new ways to grow their site traffic and attract more clients they love. Peter enjoys the dynamic nature of his role; the challenges are never the same as every situation is unique and requires a different approach. But don’t let Peter’s technical prowess fool you—he also has quite the creative side! Before joining the Indigo team, he worked as a first-grade teacher and university English professor in Cali, Colombia.

Peter has bachelor’s degrees in education and in music from Portland Bible College and a master’s degree in music production and technology from Berklee College of Music. In his spare time, he loves writing and recording music, graphic design, engaging with people, and studying leadership and theology. Peter is also one of the most well-traveled people you’ll ever meet! He was born and raised in the Netherlands but lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 12 years. Today, he resides in Cali, Colombia, with his wife, Gloria Isabel, and their three kids, Emanuel, Paloma, and Violet.

Indigo Marketing Team Member Kourtney Kearney

Kourtney Kearney

Tech Support
Antelope, California

Kourtney Kearney is a data-driven woman with a knack for coding. On any typical day, you can find her building web pages, troubleshooting bugs in code, and setting up automations to make life easier for our clients. Thanks to her technical background, Kourtney has a vast understanding of the inner workings of websites and the data associated with them. She’s always on the lookout for new technology that will help us improve our workflows so we can focus on what we do best—helping financial advisors grow their business. Kourtney enjoys the variation of tasks and loves the challenge of taking an existing website and making it better without completely rebuilding it.

Kourtney is originally from Newark, CA (Bay Area), but currently resides in Antelope, a suburb of Sacramento, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Curatorial Studies. Outside of work, Kourtney spends her free time reading, playing volleyball, baking with her two sons, and hanging out with family.

Indigo Marketing Agency Adrian Bachini

Adrian Bachini

Web Developer & Tech Support
Manila, Philippines

Adrian Bachini works on tasks requiring technical knowledge and other various administrative tasks. A software developer by day, prior to joining Indigo, Adrian had very little knowledge on how nontechnical positions operate. His position at Indigo allows him to both learn and experience a variety of platforms and gain more knowledge about how to maximize marketing initiatives.

Adrian holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a specialization in software technology from De La Salle University Manila. Adrian considers himself somewhat of a workaholic, with a full-time day job in addition to working with Indigo. When he’s not working, he enjoys watching documentaries, action movies, and anime, and also loves cycling on muddy downhill trails or cross-country rides, playing video games, and simply resting when he can. He is also a licensed commercial pilot and flies in his free time; he obviously also enjoys traveling. Adrian lives with his family and more than a few pets (11 dogs, 6 cats, a few birds, and fish)—he has more pets than humans in his home!

Claire Akin

Claire Akin

San Diego, California
Claire Akin founded Indigo Marketing Agency with the mission to help financial advisors leverage marketing to grow their businesses. As a former Investment Advisor Representative and proud daughter of an independent advisor, she’s seen first-hand the value advisors bring to their clients and community. Claire transferred ownership of Indigo Marketing Agency to Hugo Fernandez in 2022 to spend more time with her family.
Indigo Marketing Team Member Adriana

Adriana Escalante

Website Project Manager
San Antonio, Texas

Adriana Escalante thrives on creating an online representation that looks and feels true to our financial advisor clients as she builds their websites to best represent them and their businesses. Her experience working on travel and tourism websites motivates her to make sure every site she works on is exciting and engaging to web visitors. A graduate of University of Texas in Austin, Adriana double-majored in International Relations and a Liberal Arts program called Plan II. She also received a certification for front-end development from a coding academy in Austin, which has equipped her to serve as a great liaison between developers and clients.

After living in Austin, TX, for most of her adult life, Adriana now resides in San Antonio, TX (a city with a ton of history and many things to do), with her partner, Russell, and their dog, Abbey. She also has a brother and sister with whom she’s very close and tries to see a few times a year. Most of Adriana’s hobbies revolve around nature. She grew up spending lots of time on a sailboat or at a beach, and her family has a small cabin in Creede, CO, where she spends half the year hiking, camping, skiing, or snowshoeing (depending on the season). When she’s in Texas, she tries to get out most weekends to kayak. A Texas Master Naturalist, Adriana loves learning about all the plants, birds, and animals in her home state. She also dabbles in making stained-glass suncatchers!

Hugo Fernandez CEO of Indigo Marketing

Hugo Fernandez

Los Angeles, California

Hugo Fernandez acquired ownership of Indigo Marketing Agency from founder Claire Akin in 2022. Leading the Indigo team with heart, Hugo is passionate about helping our financial advisors attract a flood of their A+ clients with sustainable marketing campaigns. He enjoys running companies that are wildly successful and wearing a black t-shirt every day of his life. When his two favorite things come together, you have an average day at Indigo.

Hugo Fernandez is also CEO of Indigo’s partner company, Just Digital, and author of The Client Acquisition Blueprint. He has personally helped hundreds of entrepreneurs grow their businesses through his proven blueprint for creating an EPIC marketing strategy and online presence.

To get in touch with Hugo, email him or connect with him on LinkedIn.