The problem: Getting 2,500 small business owners to make the right marketing decisions.

In 2017, I was contracted by Thrivent Financial’s newly formed integrated marketing department to build out a marketing consulting function for its agents in the field.

As a Fortune 500 company that is also a nonprofit fraternal organization, Thrivent spends less on mass marketing than many of their competitors. Instead, they have traditionally gone to market through they field, asking each agent to market to their communities as appropriate to that context.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of these agents have little or no expertise in marketing. The consulting service I was asked to create was intended to fill this gap, providing more sophisticated marketing and branding strategy to what are often two- or three-person offices in small towns. Teamed with a veteran marketing trainer, I was able to make good use of the “bedside manner” I’ve developed over years of freelance work. Although I had little expertise around marketing tactics specific to financial services, I was able to give valuable guidance to practices on how to brand themselves within the larger Thrivent brand, helping them distinguish themselves within their communities and markets. Most satisfying was the positive response I got from our pilot program cohort. I was not only helping them sell themselves better, but I was providing a much-needed improvement of the image of the corporate office in the field.

The contract ended in February 2018, before measurable metrics would become available. Even so, I feel like my work laid the groundwork for a change of culture between integrated marketing and the field agents.

(There are no images of my work here because Thrivent expressly prohibits exporting of files outside their intranet.)