If you’re a financial planner, adviser or similar firm then you’ve likely asked yourself what makes a good marketing plan for a smaller financial services business, like yours.
You don’t have huge budgets to throw at all kinds of marketing channels to “test the waters”. Rather, most IFAs and financial planners want to give their marketing investment the best chance of success from the very beginning.
As a financial marketing agency, our team has spent many years helping firms like these craft an effective plan to achieve their marketing goals. In this article, we’re going to share some of the crucial steps you need to consider for your own strategy.
Please note that it’s not possible to cover every aspect of marketing planning in this one article, and the application will vary depending on your distinct marketing goals, resources and circumstances. However, we hope it inspires and informs your thinking.
If you’d like to discuss your financial marketing plan with a member of our team, then we invite you to get in touch to arrange a free, no-commitment consultation here at Marketing Adviser.
#1 Assess Where You Are
Financial advisers and planners often also start in this way. They tend to sit down with their client after they have agreed to work together, and go through the client’s financial affairs in order to get a clear picture of “where they are.” The same starting point applies when it comes to your marketing plan.
Part of this process might involve doing a SWOT analysis of your firm (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). However, at the very least it should involve taking a thorough look at the wider, “macro” environment in which your business operates (PESTER: politics, economics, society, technology, environmental and regulatory).
From there, you can then “zone in” to assess your microenvironment. Here, Michael Porter’s “5 Forces” can be a useful analytical framework to apply, which looks at your competitors, suppliers, buyers, new entrants and possible substitutes.
#2 Establish Goals
Similar to navigating when on a hike, with financial marketing it’s important to establish your current position before you can identify a direction or goal to head towards.
Now that you have a clear idea of your micro & macro environments, as well as your SWOT analysis, you can now start to think about where you want to b with your marketing. It’s a good idea to think about this in the short term (i.e. next 3-6 months) as well as the longer-term (i.e. 3-6 years).
There are many goals you could choose from, and it’s important that whatever you select that these goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound). This allows much more accountability when you set out towards them, and helps to keep your team focused and motivated.
#3 Identify Your Buyer Persona(s)
It’s usually a good idea to do this step in tandem with the previous one. Here, you’re trying to determine the precise “market segment” you’re trying to reach with your financial marketing. This is sometimes called your “buyer persona”, which refers to a fictionalised description of your ideal customer/client.
Here, you need to drill down into demographic details (e.g. age, income etc.) as well as common psychographics which these people share (e.g. common worries, ambition, priorities, desires etc.). You then need to do some digging to see if this market is viable. On the one hand, it shouldn’t be too big that you cannot reasonably hope to “penetrate” it. On the other, you should be careful to not select a segment which is too small, or which lacks permanence.
#4 Set Your Strategy
You now have an idea of your position, who you want to reach with your financial marketing and where you want to be within a set of defined time frames. Now, it’s time to think about the best strategy to help you reach your marketing goals.
Think about a warfare scenario. One strategy to defeat an enemy country might be to adopt a “total war” strategy focusing on attrition (e.g. World War I; where soldiers were sent, wave after wave, “over the top” in order to gradually deplete the enemy’s manpower and morale). A different strategy might focus on using “guerilla warfare” to repel an occupying foreign power (e.g. the strategy generally employed by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War). In both war scenarios, the objective was similar (i.e. military victory) but the strategies were different.
With financial marketing, there is a range of strategies you might consider for your goals. One approach might be to take a “cost leadership” strategy and seek to dominate your target market by offering your products and services for the lowest price. Another strategy might be to focus on a key area of differentiation from your competitors (e.g. specialist financial advice to GPs).
#5 Select Tactics
Interestingly, this is now the point where you can start to think about which marketing channels might be appropriate for your plan (e.g. Facebook Ads, email marketing, SEO and Google Ads etc.). It’s often striking to financial firms how late this comes in the marketing planning process. Indeed, many of the enquiries we get here at Marketing Adviser tend to start at the “tactics” (e.g. “Can you set up a Google Ads campaign for us?”) without having put much thought into the prior, crucial steps.
Be careful not just to think about how to promote your business, however. You also need to consider the other key aspects of your marketing mix as well such as “people” (i.e. who in your firm will deliver the product/service to the customer) and “process” (i.e. how the service/product will be delivered).
This is really just scratching the surface and we haven’t even had time to look at ongoing review and optimisation of your marketing plan, for instance. However, we hope this gives you enough to get started in your own thinking as you start collating your unique financial marketing plan.
Once again, if you need an experienced set of eyes and advice to assist you in this process, then we invite you to get in touch to arrange a free consultation with our team. We specialise in financial services here at MarketingAdviser, and would be delighted to hear from you about your project/campaign.