The CFP Board just started a $36 million four-year campaign to boost awareness of the certified financial planner mark in publications that cater to mass affluent investors.
The campaign compares readers of magazines like Money, Smart Money, and Kiplinger's to puppets in the grip of macro financial forces -- unless, naturally, they have a financial plan.
Given the middle-market audience those magazines serve, it appears that the CFP Board is hoping to drive self-directed types with relatively low amounts of investable wealth to CFP designees.
If the campaign drives even one prospect to each designee per year, it will easily pay for the increase in fees that the CFP Board is charging for use of the mark starting in July.
On the other hand, some markets may be overpopulated with planners. Here in Portland, Maine, for example, the CFP Board's site letsmakeaplan.org lists 46 CFP professionals -- about 1 for every 1,000 people in a not-extremely-affluent part of the country.
Towns of similar size and income level in states like Wyoming or New Mexico have maybe 2 planners for every 25,000 people at best. Those planners may reap the big rewards of the new promotional campaign. We will just have to see.