Do your marketing goals look something like many other financial advisers? Something like this:
- Increase referrals from existing clients.
- Generate more enquiries from our website.
- Grow awareness of our brand.
These might sound good, and certainly, they’re better than having no marketing objectives at all. However, whilst laudable they are also quite vague and hard to measure.
Most financial advisers are savvy with the SMART method and often use some variant of this when setting financial goals with their own clients. When it comes to marketing, however, it is interesting that lots of financial firms do not engage in the same level of rigour.
Part of the problem, it seems, is that many financial planners and IFAs do not take the time to write a vision statement which captures the essence of their business, and which they can then use to ground their marketing goals in.
Another problem is that many startup IFAs, wealth managers and financial planners also do not have explicit, clearly-defined business objectives either, which their marketing objectives can link to.
Perhaps you find yourself in this position and want to address it in order to give your financial firm the best possible chance to thrive within the competitive landscape. Or, perhaps you are an established IFA business and you sense that your objectives and mission statement could be improved.
Either way, we hope that you find this article useful to place your company on a stronger strategic footing. As always, if you would like to speak to us personally about your objectives and marketing strategy, then please get in touch to arrange a free, no-commitment marketing review with one of our financial marketing specialists.
Setting a vision statement
Your vision/mission statement is important because, as mentioned above, you need one to ground your corporate objectives (which then ground your marketing objectives).
After all, how can you truly know where you want to go if you don’t know who you are, or why you exist?
Your statement is supposed to clearly address who your customers are, how you help them and what makes you unique as a financial planning business.
It should be authentic, credible and express indications for future aspirations. The statement should also be circulated amongst your team, clearly understood and “bought into” to provide a collective sense of team purpose and motivation.
Lots of IFAs actually struggle with this, because even if they do write a vision statement they tend to fall into the trap of simply describing “what they do”, rather than the customer problems they solve.
Many of them also fail to specify their “distinctive competence” – that is, which set of skills, resources or capabilities have resulted in their success to date, which cannot be equally applied to a competitor?
If you are looking to write or improve your mission statement, consider using the criteria below:
- What is the contribution or role of your business? Why does it exist?
- Who, exactly, are your customers?
- Which benefits do you provide and which customer pain points do you address? (Again, don’t just describe what you do – e.g. “pension planning”).
- Describe what makes you different and which distinct competencies credit your past successes.
- Outline your ambition/aspirations for the future. Where do you want to take the business?
Alright, so let’s assume your mission statement is now in place. You have articulated who you are and why you exist. Let’s now look at where you want to go (i.e. your corporate objectives).
Your overall business objectives might take a number of forms, depending on different internal and external factors. Here are some examples:
- Achieve a 50% market share in X market by 2025
- Increase sales revenue by Y% each year over the next 3 years.
- Generate an average Z% profit margin across all services by 2022.
- Grow the team to a total of ten staff by 2025, and achieve X% revenue per person.
And so on. In other words, your corporate objectives are both high-level and medium-long term in nature, and they spell out where you want to go as a business.
Notice as well that the above four examples are also SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound), and could plausibly be grounded in an appropriate mission statement.
So, assuming your mission statement and corporate objectives are written down in pencil, how do you approach your marketing objectives?
This is often where a lot of IFAs struggle. Are your marketing objectives at all the same as your corporate objectives? If not, do they occupy a particular space in a hierarchy of objectives?
Also, is there a difference between marketing “objectives” and marketing “goals”?
This can get tricky because not everyone uses the same language in this area. However, here at MarketingAdviser we understand that:
Your corporate objectives direct the whole company and sit at the top level, whilst your marketing objectives reinforce and sit subordinate to these objectives.
So yes, in other words, your marketing objectives usually sit slightly beneath your corporate objectives.
For instance, take the above corporate objective to “increase sales revenue by Y%…“. A possible marketing objective which might relate to this could be to “increase sales of the X product/service within the Z target market by 50% over the next 3 years.”
Sometimes it’s confusing because your corporate objectives can look an awful lot like your marketing objectives (e.g. “Achieve a 50% market share in X market by 2025“). In these cases, it might make sense to identify a supporting marketing objective. In other cases, it can be sensible to treat them as the same.
Again, it’s really important to ensure that your marketing objectives:
- Are limited in number (you don’t want too many, as this will dilute your attention).
- Relate to and support your corporate objectives.
- Are SMART.
From here, once your marketing objectives are established you can create a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) to act as “markers” which show whether your objectives are on track.
For instance, for the marketing objective “increase sales of the X product/service within the Z target market by 50% over the next 3 years“, one KPI could be to check whether sales have increased by at least 12.5% each quarter.