How Lumen Marketing helped PWM Planning define core brand messaging and develop a strategic marketing plan for reaching key prospects

Knowland case study


PWM Planning, a financial planning firm with offices in St. Louis and Denver, needed to better define its core messaging and target audiences. Lumen Marketing & Communications consulted with PWM to deliver a comprehensive marketing plan and messaging that set the firm apart from its competition.


In the world of personal finance, there is an important distinction between a financial advisor and a financial planner. Typically, an advisor is limited in what they do for an individual or family, often investing money on their behalf, but not really providing the client with a detailed, long-term financial plan.

On the other hand, financial planners use a highly personalized white-glove approach to providing a comprehensive plan that considers the entirety of an individual or family’s financial picture.

One of the characteristics that makes PWM Planning unique is its focus on behavioral finance, an area of study focused on how psychological influences and biases can affect investing outcomes. They take a deep dive into client goals, history, and family dynamics — often much more than their competition.

The firm operates two offices, in St. Louis and Denver, and has three partners. With differing ideas from leadership about how best to grow its client base, PWM knew it was time to refine the company’s core messaging and create a thoughtful, strategic road map for marketing its services.


The PWM team had struggled to consistently communicate the company’s core messaging, as well as its unique value. It wasn’t the case that any one message was wrong, but rather that each of the firm’s partners came to the company with their own expertise and experiences that they focused on highlighting to clients and prospects.

“Our biggest hurdle was that we had three different partners and three different visions. Lumen Marketing took the time to understand these three different messages and boil them down into one,” said Tripp Gebhard, Partner with PWM Planning.

In addition to understanding the unique perspectives of PWM’s leadership team, Lumen Marketing dug deep into researching high and ultra-high net worth investors, as well as PWM’s main competitors, the other financial planning firms in the Denver and St. Louis markets who also use a very personalized approach with clients.


PWM Planning knew that they had a very specific target market, but reaching individual segments of that market was challenging. PWM targets three distinct types of high and ultra-high net worth investors: business owners, individuals experiencing a major life event (retirement, death, illness, divorce, birth of a child, long-term care event), and families with multi-generational wealth.

One critical aspect of developing a marketing strategy involved the creation of buyer personas, which would help PWM tailor their efforts even further.

Lumen Marketing identified the key pain points and decision drivers for each of these audiences and mapped them to every phase of the buying lifecycle. The result? Three highly detailed personas that provide PWM’s team a Cliff Notes-type peek into a client or prospect’s needs, particularly as they pertain to behavioral finance principles.


After thorough research of the firm’s target audiences and competition, Lumen Marketing developed core messaging statements for PWM Planning. This included a refined mission statement, well-defined summaries of client needs, competitive positioning, benefit statements, detailed positioning unique to each buyer persona, and a company boilerplate message.

Every part of the new messaging evolved to become more inclusive of audience pain points and behavioral finance principles.

“When you know who you are, you’re much more confident. And when you know who you serve, you’re much more confident. That’s the invaluable side of the work we did with Lumen Marketing. We now have the confidence in us to go forward. Developing a single, unified message got us there,” said Gebhard.


After nailing down the core massaging and buyer personas, Lumen Marketing provided PWM Planning with a comprehensive marketing plan.

The plan included specific recommendations for the company’s website, email marketing strategies, CRM improvements, social media management, thought leadership, marketing content development, events, client communications, and more.

The marketing plan also included a robust 12-month calendar with specific topics and ideas for marketing content aligned to PWM’s three buyer personas.

“One of the benefits of this entire process has been having a clear, defined market. It’s about knowing the lane to stay in and knowing your market. We can now look at our marketing plan and ask good questions — is what we’re doing feeding a need for the types of clients that we’re looking for? We can stop trying to be something to everyone and cut out the noise,” said Gebhard.


Throughout the process of working with Lumen Marketing, PWM Planning was forced to look inward and redefine who they really are as a business — not just as three individual partners with different ideas.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you had better tap somebody for help. We needed to reinvent ourselves, but we were trying to do it alone. Lumen Marketing had their work cut out for them, and they did a great job! They really got us focused and pointed in the right direction. And that work helped build our vision. We didn’t have that before — now we are more united,” said Gebhard.


Lumen Marketing & Communications specializes in inbound and account-based marketing, WordPress websites, branding, and creative for B2B and B2C businesses. Our strategy-first marketing programs help clients generate demand, attract better leads, engage more effectively, and increase qualified sales opportunities that lead to measurable revenue.

Whether you need to augment your existing team on a single project, or a completely turnkey, outsourced marketing solution, Lumen Marketing can help. Our Denver-based team serves clients in a diverse set of industries, including: startups, high-growth companies, technology, software (SaaS), resorts and attractions, banking, finance, real estate, professional services, HR and talent management, and more.


Request a consultation to learn how Lumen Marketing can help you generate demand, attract better leads, engage more effectively, and increase qualified sales opportunities.