Creating a Marketing Engine, with Pete Matthew
Pete Matthew is a legend.
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard his story before.
After reading the book Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, Pete realised that he could use the internet and social networking to get a very important message across.
A Chartered Financial Planner and Managing Director of Jacksons Wealth Management in Penzance, Pete is the driving force behind the movement that is Meaningful Money.
What started as basic personal finance explainer videos, shot with a cheap video camera on the beaches of Cornwall, has grown into a massively popular audio podcast with more than 3.2 million downloads to date.
In this conversation, I wanted to take Pete a little off the well-worn path and ask him some slightly different questions about Financial Planner content marketing and how we can all get started, right now.
Here’s my conversation with Pete Matthew in season two, episode five of the Financial Planner Marketing Playbook.
This is the largely unedited transcript of our conversation, so apologies for any typos or weird spellings!
Martin: [00:00:00] So welcome Pete Matthew to the Financial Planner Marketing Playbook. This is not your first rodeo. You and I have both been guests on and presented in many, many podcasts, but for people who don’t know about you and about your background and what you do, we’ve very few of them out there in the financial planner world. So tell us the potted history. Yeah. Who are you? What do you do?
Pete: [00:00:21] Okay. Potted I’m Pete Matthew. I’m managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management down in Penzance. My accent is Northern though. I married a Cornish girl and that’s why I ended up at the very end of the country, a 22 year veteran financial advisor and follow the classic path; tied advisor, IFA, financial planner, and now co-own and run there, this practice down in Penzance, which are very well established.[00:00:47] Passionate about financial planning and about financial education. And to that end, nearly 10 years ago, I experimented with a video camera and started shooting sort of simple explainer videos on personal finance under the name of Meaningful Money. And that has become a monster. So it, you know, so YouTube channel, it became a podcast in 2012. [00:01:08] Um, and it now takes up more and more of my time. And. Surprised me and continues to do so, and just that it’s scope and the response that it gets and that I’m still having fun doing it.
Martin: [00:01:20] It’s, it’s an interesting point. That was nearly a decade ago, and I remember those first videos. You on a wind swept Cornish beach, talking into your camera about various, I guess, basic personal finance functions, but did you ever think back then it would become such a monster and what it would turn into?
Pete: [00:01:37] No! The whole thing mostly is happening entirely by accident. I’d love to say that I planned it open. I don’t have that kind of foresight. It started because several reasons, which I’ve sort of talked about before, but I read a book by Gary Vaynerchuk and he’s messaged basically in the book called Crush It is, look, if you’ve got a message and if you want people to hear it, it’s now easier than ever. So just start. And if it’s good, people will turn up and listen, and I just thought I’d have a go.[00:02:04] And so it started very much as a hobby. There was no pressure, there was no expectations of it really. I certainly didn’t set out for it to become a marketing engine. It turns out I’m doing something called content marketing, which I’m not even sure that content was. That phrase was coined back in 2010 when I started, but it turns out that. [00:02:23] It’s become a marketing engine, which was never the intention. It was genuinely just to try and fill a gap in knowledge because we don’t teach. Personal finances school. We don’t teach it properly in the workplace. There are some moves towards that, but it’s certainly not, don’t write yet. you know, the Internet is an incredible medium, and if people want to show up and, uh, and learn about this stuff, then I just wanted to have some content for them, for them to see. [00:02:48] And it turns out. That if you do that long enough and consistently enough, it leads to a whole load of client enquiries to your financial planning firm. So that was a happy accident, but it’s completely changed. [00:03:00] Jackson’s completely changed my life in all kinds of ways.
Martin: [00:03:03] Why video? I mean, you picks up a video camera for your first, you know, dabbling with content marketing. And that’s a strange decision in the sense that video is probably the most complicated medium to, uh, to edit, to produce. Uh, people get nervous in front of the camera especially 10 years ago, you know, people weren’t doing that. So why, why not a blog and why not a podcast on day? Why was it a video camera?
Pete: [00:03:25] Yeah, I can write and I do write, but I, I wasn’t excited by writing. I found a little bit too much sort of a perfectionism in it. And then I found I would write something and then obsess over the editing and it just never, it would never go out. And by the time it did go out, it wasn’t timely anymore. Um, podcasting was in a kind of slump when I started really at a sort of, it was, I mean, you.[00:03:48] Well, well, no, you were doing it back in 2004 or five or whatever, and it was really complicated then, you know, sort of organizing all the different bits that would create an RSS feed. I mean, you probably created your first [00:04:00] by hand in
Martin: [00:04:00] hand coded. Yeah,
Pete: [00:04:01] exactly. Right. So obviously you don’t have to do that anymore.
And so that didn’t really felt my bones, to be honest. I wasn’t listening to podcasts then, so it didn’t, whereas I was watching YouTube, so, and Gary Vaynerchuk, the sort of my, one of my online heroes, he was doing video. And so I guess that was how it was really. But I am a nerd. I love, I’ve always loved computers.[00:04:21] I’ve always loved technology and software and trying to wrangle software to make it do what I want is a, it’s a happy evening, well spent from my point of view. So, so it appealed to my nerdiness. And obviously there’s this power in video in that you get to see the whole picture. You get to see you on set and facial expression and body language and stuff like that. [00:04:41] Ah. I think if I had my time again,, I think with video you have to be very good. All very different because even back in 2010 YouTube was a very deep pool and the, it’s even deeper now, so you have to be very, very good. At the art of video, so somebody like a [00:05:00] Peter McKinnon or Matti Haapoja, some of these guys who are videographers, you know, and can just put together. [00:05:05] Oh really? Oh, in what is the most mundane of subject matters? Sometimes just a day in their life. You might have to be very good or very different than the like Mr Beast, and basically just. It gives money away, you know, or, um, Colin Furze who just builds incredible things in his garage and you’ve got to be very different or very good, I think. [00:05:23] And I wasn’t at YouTube, you know, there wasn’t many people doing what I was doing, but I never really gained traction. And then. I started listening to podcasts and so I made the switch and I’m glad I did.
Martin: [00:05:35] The nerdiness is, I guess, quite an important factor even today. I mean, you, you do have to have a certain level of engagement with the toys, the technology. I mean, even looking at your studio setup behind you, I’d be up in and the colored lights and things, and it’s obviously all intentional and it’s developed over the years. You didn’t start off when you were podcasting with a beautifully lit studio. So how much do you need to love the toys and love the equipment?
Pete: [00:05:59] Ah, I think it helps, but I don’t think it’s necessary. So, you know, if there are business owners watching this and thinking that, you know, I can barely turn my computer on, let alone, uh, dive into premiere pro or final cut pro and style editing video, or, uh, understand why these lights need to be a certain frequency so that it’s not flickering, that sort of stuff.[00:06:18] It’s been nice. I’ve learned all that by doing, but you don’t have to. I really do think it helps and it certainly helps you to bootstrap if you’re prepared to. Learn this stuff. So my first camera was literally a Flip video camera. It cost a hundred quid. It’s about the size of a packet of fags, and that was you. [00:06:35] It had a USB stick that kind of flipped out and you can just plug it in the side of your computer files went across. And there was minimal editing. Then, uh, is basically the odd title that I sort of struggle for hours to get to look even remotely half decent. Um, and you just get a little bit better each time. [00:06:53] And I have done 500 old videos now, and 300 well, naturally probably 409 podcasts [00:07:00] on each one. It’s a little bit better, and I still make rookie mistakes. I’ll still do a half hour recording and watch it back and think, Oh, I forgot to set this setting, and it means I have to do it all again. You know, I’ve done that and I’m sure you have as well. [00:07:12] It’s a learning process, so enjoying the process helps, but it’s not necessary. You can just buy it in. Right?
Martin: [00:07:18] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, podcasting, in the UK, financial planning space is still, I guess more or less of its infancy. We can, we can count on probably now both hands, the number of financial planners who have their own podcasts and there’s more coming in, which is great news.[00:07:32] But why the reluctance do you think for financial planners to start what you term as content marketing to start a video channel to start a podcast or write blogs?
Pete: [00:07:42] I think I do. I’ve had conversations over the years where I’ve been asked to speak on marketing, which I think is hilarious cause I have zero marketing qualifications, right?[00:07:52] Just learn by doing. Um, so I get asked at those conferences, you know, so well I’ve got all the clients I need, so why do I bother? [00:08:00] And that’s, I think he’s an entirely. Valid argument from my point of view, I’ve kept going so long. Firstly, because I enjoy it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t. Um, but I’ve kept going so long because, okay, he has borne fruit, but it took awhile. [00:08:16] Yeah. I think if I were starting again now, it would bear fruit much quicker because I’ve learned a great deal, obviously. So if you could go about 10 years, knowing what I know now, then I think I probably crush it. And I’m sure you know you were too. You’ve learned so much in the more than a decade that you’ve been doing this. [00:08:30] So I think probably a couple of reasons. Ah, I don’t need new clients. I don’t need many new clients. I’m getting everything I need from traditional mediums and an entirely valid argument. I wouldn’t argue with that. So. A reluctance with the technology. That’s an obvious barrier. You have to remember. Um, there is, I kind of raise it Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell’s book, where he talks about, you know, people like Bill Gates and stuff. [00:08:55] They were just happened to really be born in the right place, the right [00:09:00] time to become the sort of computer geniuses that they were. And I look back on my life, certainly as far as technology is concerned. I’m 45 just gone. And my dad, as well as being a Church Minister was a editor of Record Magazine, so we always had computers in the house. [00:09:14] It was that early Apricot PCs, and then the IBM saw all that. And so I grew up with computers in the house. Where’s my brother in law who’s only five years older than me? Just didn’t really, and so I’m kind of at the age where I was on the vanguard of computers starting to really be prevalent. I remember when I was six years old, my computer got my school, sorry, got a Commodore pet. [00:09:38] It was about size of our house. It’s tiny little screen, but by the time I left school at 18 we had suites of PCs doing computer aided design. So. You know, I kind of grew up on the Vanguard of home computer use, and while I’m not a coder, I can get by, but I certainly would not coder. That’s just kind of wired in me. [00:09:57] And I just happen to have been born at roughly the right time [00:10:00] to have grown up understanding software. Whereas, I mean, my kids, man, you know, they can wrangle a computer better than I ever will. Um, and so I think. A lot of advisors are older than I am, right? Not the baby that I was in the industry, but a lot of advisors are all I, and that I’m sure will be a factor in there. [00:10:22] So there’s somewhat reluctance to really dive into the technology.
Martin: [00:10:25] I’d overheard a conversation, um, towards the last part of last year, uh, at a bar, at a conference, five planning conference. And it was people saying, well, there’s no point in me getting started with a blog and our podcast now, or a video, cause it will take me, yeah, three years, five years, seven years, to create the, the back catalog of content that the likes of Pete.[00:10:42] We’ve gone, you’ve got, um. Is that, is that a good reason not to get started today? And it has a lovely, I’m trying these problems and they are about the best time to plant the tree being, you know, 20 years ago, second best time today, which I was always fall back on. But does it take a long time to build an audience, to build a tribe, to build a presence?
Pete: [00:11:00] It can do. Yeah. And easily, the best tool you’ve got to build anything is consistency. Um, uh, I, couple of times, and I’ve spoken, I’ve shown a graph when I started doing podcasts, I did, I think 13 episodes in six months is very sporadic, you know, two weeks between three weeks between each one. And I thought, no, if I’m going to do this, I need to go weekly and commit.[00:11:22] Yeah. And it just. Hockey stick up in terms of the number of listeners and, um, so with podcasts, and I think with any kind of content or a regularity, consistency is, is vital. Um, it really just depends on what your aims are, right? Numbers fundamentally are irrelevant. You know, I am fairly lucky in that I had early mover advantage in what I do. [00:11:45] Right? There was literally, it was like me and you, and that was probably, it. You know, the time I’m doing anything remotely like content marketing in the financial planning space. So I benefited from that. And if you’re [00:12:00] starting now, 10 years later, you simply won’t benefit from that in the podcast, as you rightly say, there’s still a very, very small number doing it. [00:12:07] So I think that’s a great medium. If I was starting from scratch now, I would start with a podcast for sure. Um. But it’s hard to get traction. Writing is hard to get traction on YouTube. It depends on what you want out of it. If you want a million subs, then that’s going to be difficult, right? I’ve been doing YouTube. [00:12:25] 10 years and I’m not doing nearly 6,000 you know, but it’s really starting to take off now. That’s consistency with a podcast. I was literally at that point, the only person doing it you had to done. And then around about the same time you started again. And I was literally the only person doing it. And so, you know, everybody’s going to listen to me cause I’m the only voice. [00:12:45] Yeah. And so. You know, I’m aware that, well, I’ve done this quite a lot of serendipity, but if I was talking to somebody thinking about doing it, I would just say, look, decide on what you want out of it. As well as being a marketing [00:13:00] engine. Uh, for me it’s helped me massively refine my thinking. I think any kind of content production, because you have to distill your own thoughts in a way to get them across. [00:13:10] That has been incredibly powerful for me as a communicator, when it really counts with my clients, with my family, with my colleagues and staff here. It’s massively helped me become a better communicators, no doubt about that. That’s, I would have done it for that reason alone. Okay. So marketing, yes. [00:13:28] Distilling of thoughts. Um, and then, uh, even as a way of communicating with your own. Clients is incredibly powerful. Even if you don’t get another, a single new client out of it, as a method of being consistent in communicating with your own clients is super powerful. So decide what you want out of it and then you won’t be aiming for something which actually is irrelevant to what you need.
Martin: [00:13:50] Yeah, that that’s really key for me as well. I think I discovered after about 250 episodes that I wasn’t scared of standing up on stage and speaking anymore was a silly thing, but I’d obviously got so [00:14:00] much confidence subconsciously, unconsciously through the practice of podcasting, the actually an audience of 50 people to a hundred people to other people was no big beer anymore because it was, yeah, it wasn’t speaking to 10,000 people a month. It was speaking to a small audience. And yeah, the words come out. Incredible benefit of it. Many, many financial planners do tell us that they’re not looking for new clients. And I know Jacksons is still in the growth trajectory, which is fantastic, but you are, you’re in an interesting position.[00:14:26] You’re all the way down there in the Southwest. So how do you. You obviously got a national prominence national audience with your podcasts, with your videos. How do you balance the two when you get those inquiries? And the first one though, doubt comes from Aberdeen. How do you work with clients at distance and nationally?
Pete: [00:14:43] How does that work? So I use this format primarily started with Skype and moved to Zoom because I find it a little bit less flaky and Skype very often. Um, and. It’s not quite as good as face to face, but it’s nearly there [00:15:00] now with ubiquitous broadband and decent connections everywhere and stuff. So it does require a slight change in maybe the way you approach it.[00:15:07] But. What is for me, because people are finding me online, they’re happy to work with me online. And that’s, I think is unusual. I, you know, it’s very unlikely. I think that some random person in Aberdeen would stumble across Jacksons Wealth Management website, whether it’s like, our content is just, you know, here we are. [00:15:27] Come and see is if you want sort of thing. Um. And get in touch, but mean for money because of the consistency and all that sort of stuff and the availability for all to consume it. Uh, people just get the feel like they get to know you without a exception. Everybody that comes to me as a new client says, this is really weird. [00:15:48] It’s like, I’m on a live podcast. It’s like, yo, I’m still me. Right? And I’m so you kind of over the first hurdle, there is no. Uh, gaining of [00:16:00] trust with the client because they’ve been listening to you for months. And so they already know how you tick. They already know how you work and what you think about how investing should be done. [00:16:08] The power of planning. So there’s no courtship. It’s basically like, okay, you want to work with me? This is the cost, yes or no. And if something more cost a bit more than I thought, no problem. Really. Sorry, I’m busy. It’s gotta be that, um, or, yeah, absolutely. When do we start? So. Again, it’s been a sort of work in progress. [00:16:26] I’ve learned about how to. Uh, communicate. I’ve learned to look at a camera and not the screen below. Tiny. Nothing’s really important, right? But if you’re talking to people about their deepest goals and worries about their money and everything, you need to eyeball them. And online, that means looking directly at the camera lens. [00:16:45] Um, I’ve learned to, uh, move around the Voyant planning software, live with a client so that I can. You know, show my worth in being able to use the software to think through the implications [00:17:00] of what they’re thinking of doing, all that sort of stuff. But it’s only practice, man, but so it’s almost as good as in-person. [00:17:07] Not quite, but it’s massively opened up the world to me. I mean, I am 10 miles from Land’s End, right? It takes me two hours to get to Exteter for crying out loud. It’s a long way. Excuse me. It’s a long way to anywhere and so. It’s just opened up the world to me. I mean, I know I’m to wait in this down to the late summer. [00:17:25] So you know that you can’t put a price on that. It’s amazing.
Martin: [00:17:29] No, no. It’s something else I find fascinating about, um, about the way you’re doing things and the way you, your meaningful money platform has evolved over the years is, um, following this model that we saw from Kevin Kelly, 1000 true fans. And you would have the doubt read his essay in the past and things, but you’ve built a tribe of very loyal.[00:17:47] Yeah. trusting followers and listeners and viewers. But the way you then converse in what you do away from that sort of one. So one, which I know you still do, yeah. Once a one in five to one to many through courses through your book. [00:18:00] So do you, do you see that as a transition? Other financial planners will increase in the making the
Pete: [00:18:04] future?[00:18:05] I think it could, and I think they should. Um. A bit of a milestone for Meaningful Money. This week I had to register for VAT, right? So it’s now bringing in a certain amount of income and its own right through book sales, through affiliate arrangements to um, courses. So. I mean that, again, that’s a surprise to me. [00:18:26] But working with a gentleman called who, uh, is just an online marketing genius, so he’s come on board to help me with that and it’s just sort of opened my eyes to what’s possible really. Um, it’s just another string to the bow. It’s non reg of course. So it has its attractions, not point of view, but it’s a lot of work. [00:18:46] You know, there’s no easy way to achieve this. I mean, I work hard and long to build. Meaningful Money because I love it still, but it is the responses from the tribe [00:19:00] that really gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s the, you know, last year I had 25 grand with a credit card that, but using the tools you gave me, I’ve cleared it. [00:19:08] I’ve now got an emergency fund. And I’m saving for my kids. You know, I just think, man, my work is done. You know, I, if I’ve had one of those, I’d die a happy man. But they come in thick and fast these days and you know, 300,000 people in a Facebook group and it’s a group. Well, there’s a really good feeling about it. [00:19:27] There’s none of the snarkiness that you get, and not least because we stamped on it when it does show up, but generally it’s a group full of people want to help each other. Um. And that’s kind of my ethos. So it really does depend on what you want. Well, it’s in, if you want to build a really solid, uh, long lived financial planning practice, you don’t have to do any of this, right? [00:19:50] But it will only help if you do, for the reasons that we’ve talked about. For me, I guess I just wanted to see what was possible. And I keep trying stuff. And [00:20:00] more by luck, the judgment that keeps working, you know? And now I feel extremely blessed, uh, to have. Tried stuff on it any and it has continued to work. [00:20:10] So I’m, I’m bemused and blessed by already. Yeah.
Martin: [00:20:14] blessed is a good place to be, isn’t it? Do you see a time in the future when Meaningful Money becomes your main thing. And so know your Jacksons is no longer, you’re no longer the driver and no longer the main source of revenue and things.
Pete: [00:20:26] This is, yeah, it’s the sort of eternal struggle for me.[00:20:28] And it’s. I am in business with my two best mates in the world, so I’m never in a million years just going to say, thanks for the memories champs. I’m off, buy me out. Um, I can see possibly some kind of a convergence in time. I had no idea what form that would take. Um, I have no desire. Yeah. You know, like any decent financial planning firm, we get approached at least once a week by somebody looking to buy us, and we’ve had some fairly eye watering numbers [00:21:00] waved in front of us, and we didn’t even think twice, but say no because we just weren’t interested in selling to some lowest denominator, lowest common denominator consolidator. [00:21:10] Uh, Cornwall was a small world, right? If I sell my clients down the river, I’m going to have to either. I have extensive plastic surgery, I’m going to have to move out of the County cause I’ll be lynched. So, so I just don’t want to do that. So I do feel somewhat torn, but. The, the convergence is happening already. [00:21:28] Uh, Meaningful Money drives what’s two thirds of all new enquiries last year came from me for money into Jacksons, it’ll probably be three quarters. I can see, Oop, maybe two thirds of new business revenue possibly will come from Meaningful Money this year. And so it’s becoming increasingly important. [00:21:44] And so it’s changing. Jacksons, I have the biggest team here because I need it. And so. I can see it just continuing to change and that’ll happen organically and that’s fine by me. I really would like for as long as possible to stay at the coalface with real people. [00:22:00] Um. But doing the bits that I like and not the bit side
Martin: [00:22:04] that is, that’s always the to go to, to wrap things up there.[00:22:07] And if anyone listened to this conversation, watching this conversation, who wants to get started? Who wants to start a YouTube channel? Who wants to start their podcast? What are the first steps? What would you, given all that learning experience you’ve had over the past decade, how would you do it today differently? [00:22:22] So how you did it 10 years ago, how would you get started now?
Pete: [00:22:26] Uh, I think knowing what I know now, I would get started by saying, what do I want out of it now? For me, I never expected it to drive revenue. I never expected it to drive clients to Jacksons. And that meant my expectations were very low, which I think helped.[00:22:40] So that meant when nobody was watching and nobody was really listening, that was fine. I was doing it for my own pleasure. Almost. Now, time is precious, right? And most advisors listening to this don’t have whole loads of spare time. But for me, you know, I don’t play golf. I don’t watch telly. Uh, what I do is mess around with software technology and [00:23:00] stuff, and so it was easy for me. [00:23:02] If I started from scratch now, I would set out what I wanted from it. I would pick the medium that appeals to me most and give it a try. I would sit down and write 50 to 75. Headlines for what I wanted to talk about subject lines. All right. For a blog or for podcast or whatever, because I reckon if you can’t do that, you’ll probably going to run out all stuff to say fairly quick. [00:23:25] However, any advisor listening to this, you know the questions you get asked by clients weekend account, that’s your starting point. I would probably read, They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. Um, that would be a good place for folks to start. So the principle of, um, right as answering people’s questions, he, it, it’s the big five questions that people ask all the time. [00:23:47] You can build 75, uh. Podcast episodes around just those four questions easily, and probably many more. I would read Known by Mark Schaefer as well. Uh, I used to recommend a book called Platform [00:24:00] by Michael Hyatt, but that’s a little bit old now. No one is a little bit more current and just immerse yourself in the medium that you want to try. [00:24:07] Um, I generally say become a consumer first. And then if you want to, there’s a step between consumer and creator, which is curator. You can curate other people’s content for your audience. Build an audience by finding the best stuff and curating it and putting links out. By doing so, you’ll build contacts as well, which will help. [00:24:26] Um, but I’ll become a consumer first. I was listening to podcasts. Just the ratio and so when I sat down to do my own, I already had a sense of how I wanted it to sound and all that sort of stuff. So I’ll consume first and then create. And there is a step along the way if you want to, which is to cure rate, which kind of gives you a stepping stone into the whole online marketing piece. [00:24:45] But there’s tons of stuff online about how to do it. Um, and some of it’s really good, a lot of it is garbage, but there’s some really good stuff about how to do this.
Martin: [00:24:53] Yeah. And if you, if you consume a ton of podcasts and different genres and things, you can steal the best bits and you can bring it to show up at your own [00:25:00] style on it and make it your own thing.[00:25:01] So that’s, that’s really good advice. Pete, thank you so much for joining us today. I’ll put links in the show notes to Meaningful Money to your tweet, Twitter and things like that so people can find you nice that you’re easy to find online anyway, but so, so people can find you anyway in our show notes. [00:25:16] I’ll do that now, but thank you for your time. Thanks for joining us today.
Pete: [00:25:18] Thanks for having me, man. I always get to chat. Thank you.