Financial Advisor Marketing and the MAYA Principle

I’m not sure if it was a syndicated radio show, or simply a format many pop radio stations used in the early 90’s, but I used to love the “Make It or Break It” portion of WFXF FM’s Tuesday night programming. The deejay for “100.3 the Fox” – which was a hit-oriented, classic rock station in Greensboro, NC would play a never-before-heard song and ask listeners to call in and tell him if they thought it was a hit or miss and why. I never called in, but I never got one wrong. I’m not bragging, but I have an odd ability to listen to a song and accurately predict if it will be a huge hit.

Many songs on the show were one-hit-wonders like a tune I clearly recall hearing in June that year: “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes. When the song played from the radio of my 1990 terra brown metallic Volkswagen Jetta that summer evening, I knew it was a winner. Big time. Was it the repetitive, melodic phrasing, the folk-influenced instrumentation or the subtle use of vocal harmony?  All were valid reasons people embraced it, in my opinion. But its star power was more the fact that it could have been written in the 60’s, 90’s or today, and the words and angst would still feel just as relevant. I wasn’t crazy about the song, to be honest. But it was uniquely 90’s grunge poprock, with something also quite traditional about it. I know now what this combination is called – and it’s the reason I knew it would be a mammoth hit despite the two hard rocker’s who called in that night, disliking it quite enthusiastically. It’s called the MAYA Principle, employing the acronym MAYA for Most Advanced Yet Familiar.

To be clear, I lack any basic music ability outside of being a tambourine virtuoso or wicked air drummer, so I’ve never tried to turn this little gift of mine into a marketable record label career skill. I have managed to employ the knack to write jingles, win advertising awards and craft marketing content for my clients, though. And I have found that the MAYA Principle can’t be beaten when it comes to designing something to which people will naturally gravitate.

The idea of deciphering why people find one thing cool and not another, fascinates me. So, I researched the term MAYA and found it was coined by the man widely acclaimed as the father of industrial design, Ramond Loewy (1893-1986). In the space of one career, Loewy developed not only recognizable packaging and products (Lucky Strike Cigarettes, the Coca-Cola bottle, the Sears Coldspot fridge) and legendary logos (Nabisco, Shell, Exxon, TWA, USPS), but also completed a transportation design trifecta with planes (Air Force One), trains (the PRR S1 Locomotive) and automobiles (the Starliner Coupé nicknamed the “Loewy Coupé). A French-born American industrial designer, Loewy achieved fame for making his mark on everyday experiences across the spectrum of design.

His incredible expertise was centered around his ability to brilliantly exceed his users’ present needs while pushing the boundaries of design and technology beyond their expectations. He said that, “To sell something surprising, you must make it familiar. To sell something familiar, make it surprising.” Today, designers and marketers strive to achieve this bliss point – calling it the MAYA Principle, and they still use it in everything from architecture to personal tech.  

Why do I bring this up in a blog for Financial Services Advisors? Well, there are two reasons.

First—if you have a financial product which you wish to sell, and are looking to either expand into a new market or update your current product offering — you can’t make a change which is completely out of left field. It will shock your audience and it will likely be ill-received.

But you can make subtle changes to entice a new market … and this can be your sweet spot.

For example, let’s say you want to sell life insurance to middle income families during an economic downturn. It’s a solid idea because they know they need life insurance. In fact, the Insurance Barometer Study (2021 LIMRA and Life Happens), tells us that 70% of middle-income families believe they need life insurance coverage and more than a third (34%) say they plan to purchase life insurance coverage. But this research also tells us that many middle-income consumers remain inadequately insured due to perceived costs, financial priorities, and an overall lack of knowledge regarding life insurance. A whopping 75% overestimate its cost.  A third (33%) don’t even think they would qualify for life insurance.

The subtle change in strategy could be toward an end-to-life insurance business model — one that offers life insurance products with financial planning flexibility, and simple, yet technically advanced buying experiences. Many people look at life insurance as the best way to provide for loved ones upon death, yet today’s life insurance offerings include a diverse array of versatile products that also provide living benefits. These products may create a more holistic financial plan for families looking to achieve financial goals throughout various phases of life.

In a “click>delivery” world, it is vital that financial advisors build relationships with clients and prospects in real life. This connection should start in person, even if briefly. Perhaps you meet at a club, or a sports league you both belong to, a church or synagogue to which you both attend, a board on which you both reside, etc. Whatever the connection, ask for their contact information so you can share helpful, free VIP info on how to save money on taxes (because who says no to that?) … and then your relationship goes digital while you email insightful and engaging marketing information to them throughout the year, building their knowledge of you until they are ready to buy. Then you meet in real life again to discuss their needs in person. Because this is the type of build-up it takes to generate the kind of trust a person needs to have a purposeful, honest and truly helpful conversation with you about their financial security.

Which brings me to the second reason I note the MAYA Principle in this blog. It is the need for the Most Advanced Yet Acceptable Marketing for financial services advisors. Your clients and prospects are drawn to new concepts (such as life insurance products with financial planning flexibility) because they find them exciting. Yet all humans have a fear of the unknown. So, your marketing has to meet any audience at the crossroads of “Freshly Inspired” and “Somewhat Familiar.” It’s easy to do the same old thing … mail out invitations to seminars, pop something on your Facebook page and hope for the best. But when your target audience sees/hears your content, are they overcome with enough intrigue to respond to your efforts? When you subscribe to e-Relationship, the answer is yes. 

While other marketing systems continue to rise, pivot, and fall, e-Relationship stands strong. Created and innovated by and for Financial Advisors, e-Relationship is a marketing system people continually say “yes” to. Mammoth corporations spend many millions to create their own lightning in a bottle but come back to the simple genius of e-Relationship. Why is this?

  • e-Relationship is intuitive, and effortlessly user-friendly for both the Financial Services Advisor and the client/prospect.
  • e-Relationship is based first and foremost on email, something very familiar to any target market. That same lead generation capability is also included in our social media content – offering a way to capture leads from social media posts that helps generate appointments for subscribers. The same principle is continuously at work in e-Relationship Advisor Branding Websites. 
  • e-Relationship is a cleverly designed multi-touch digital marketing suite that keeps you in front of clients and prospects 24/7 through a powerhouse of automated emails, automated social-media marketing and advisor website development services.
  • e-Relationship’s seamless apps and integrations make it super-easy to upload your contacts from across your various platforms‚ including the built-in Contact Grabber app.
  • e-Relationship works seamlessly with every popular CRM: Gmail, Yahoo, Office 365, Redtail, MSN/Hotmail, Outlook, AOL, Salesforce, EBIX SmartOffice, etc.
  • e-Relationship’s huge library of email communication messages (16 content modules /100-plus different areas of interest) are pre-built, tested, and compliance-approved) are ready at an advisor’s fingertips.
  • e-Relationship isn’t just a global fintech leader — it’s the benchmark. e-Relationship provides technology-driven email communication tools for clients and prospects of banks, insurance companies and financial services companies. It works because e-Relationship founders worked with both psychologists and tech engineers to create the ultimate response-triggering system.
  • e-Relationship is easily affordable and provides a stellar ROI. With a 5 to 10% response rate, your e-Relationship database is a proven revenue generator. (Statistical analysis shows that Fortune 500 company financial advisors using e-Relationship make 43% more Commissions (GDC) than non e-Relationship subscribers.)
  • e-Relationship makes it a breeze to send notes and leads to Redtail, along with tracking all email and social engagements in e-Relationship’s advanced, built-in History & Response dashboard.

In my research for this blog, I read Derek Thompson’s awesome 2017 article in the Atlantic, “The Four Letter Code To Selling Just About Anything”1, and learned that there is a popular video called “4 Chords,” 2 wherein the group, the Axis of Awesome cycles through dozens of songs built on the same chord progression: I–V–vi–IV. The video shows that these chords are the baseline for soooo many songs … classics (the Beatles’ “Let It Be”), karaoke-pop hits (Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ”), country sing-alongs (John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”), movie musical ballads (Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”), reggae smashes (Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”) and even dance-pop chart-toppers (Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”).

And while these songs obviously don’t sound the same and don’t move people in the way, I have to agree with Thompson that something about them is sneakily familiar. Perhaps people somehow pick up on this, even if many, like me, do not have a musical bone in their body.

The MAYA Principle that Ramond Loewy coined years ago still holds true. You can bank on highly innovative marketing if it is anchored in graphic elements and basic technology that consumers are already familiar with. This ensures that brand “YOU” is perceived as not only forward-thinking but trustworthy as well. Join e-Relationship now by clicking  For more information, call e-Relationship at 1-800-851-8169 or email .



Written By Donna West

Donna West is the Art Director at Identity Branding, Inc. |  and Creative Director for Bikes For Kids Foundation. Donna has worked as a writer, creative director and designer of books, videos, event marketing, print, radio and tv advertising for over two decades. She’s won praise for designing financial industry classics, as well as 12 Addy Awards for Fortune 50 to small business campaigns. Donna lives in Kernersville, NC.

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