Quite often here at MarketingAdviser we speak to financial planners who seem to use the phrases “financial marketing plan” and “financial marketing strategy” interchangeably. Yet are they really the same thing, and why does it matter?
On the surface, they might look and sound like the same thing. Yet we believe that there are important differences, and they have important implication for the success of your financial marketing.
In this short guide, we’ll be sharing our understanding of these two concepts in relation to marketing for financial planners. If you would like to know more or to discuss your own financial marketing with our team here, then we invite you to get in touch to arrange a free consultation.
What is a Financial Marketing Plan?
A plan outlines a specific set of actions to achieve a particular goal. By nature, it is quite rigid and does not allow for many manoeuvres outside of its established parameters, scheme or programme.
In other words, if your Plan A for your financial marketing does not work, then you do not typically change Plan A and have another go. Rather, you typically move to Plan B (if you have one).
This might sound too constraining, but it’s actually very important to keep marketing plans strict and separate in order to keep your team on track, organised and focused. It saves time and helps to prevent confusion by establishing the agreed bounds within which everyone can work together. The result is increased stability and confidence within your team, rather than allowing people to wander off in different directions and build frustrations.
Put simply, a marketing plan stipulates how you will practically achieve your goals as a financial firm. It answers questions such as:
- Which marketing campaigns will we run at different points in the year?
- Who will take responsibility for each marketing channel (e.g. Facebook)?
- Which partners will we reach out to, so we can increase the reach of our brand to customers?
- Which social media channels will we use to achieve our goals?
- How many events will we attend this year to promote our brand; which ones, where and when?
What is a Financial Marketing Strategy?
At this point, you might have noticed that a financial marketing plan is more “tactical” in nature. For instance, it deals with different parts of the marketing mix such a Promotion, Place and Product.
Your financial marketing strategy, looks at the bigger picture and asks: “Where is our business in the market right now, and where do we want it to be?” In other words, your strategy is a bit like a blueprint rather than the specific building plan. It helps you to answer crucial questions such as:
- Who, specifically, is our ideal client or target market? Why are we going after them?
- What is our brand positioning and why? How do we want to be perceived or “experienced”?
- What is our overall approach to the market? Do we intend to increase “brand penetration” by selling more of our current products/services to our current target market? Or, do we intend to grow our market share in a completely new segment by selling a new product/service?
- What is our key differentiator(s) from competitors? Are these existing differentiators (assuming they exist) desirable and in line with our goals for the business? If not, how we change and how do we get there?
- What will our market and external environment look like in 5-10 years? How can we protect our business from the threats, and how can we leverage our strengths to exploit new opportunities?
Examples of Planning & Strategy
Hopefully, the difference between financial marketing planning and strategy are now a bit clearer. However, it always helps to illustrate these concepts with examples.
For a small financial planning firm seeking to target local clients, their business goals, marketing strategy and marketing plan might broadly look something like this:
- Business Goals: Grow revenue from clients by 20% by the end of 2020.
- Marketing Strategy: Increase market penetration into the current target market (local HNIs).
- Marketing Plan: Run a coordinated digital marketing campaign to increase leads into the sales pipeline, including email marketing, content marketing and PPC advertising.
If you are a financial planning business then your goals, strategy and plan might look very different. So it’s important to recognise this example is for illustrative purposes only.
What about a larger financial services business, however? What shape might their marketing take?
- Business Goals: Secure at least 100 new financial firms into our franchise by December 2020.
- Marketing Strategy: Pursue a new insurance market with existing financial products/services.
- Marketing Plan: Run one direct mail campaign each quarter to generate and build awareness of our brand, advertising the benefits of the franchise. Set up a reward scheme with existing franchisees to increase referrals. Run a monthly webinar series to help attendees decide whether the franchise scheme is right for them.
Hopefully, this article has helped you formulate your thinking on the difference between marketing strategy and planning within the financial services sector. If you require any further information, assistance or direct help with your financial marketing then we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Get in touch today to arrange a free, no-c0mmitment consultation with a member of our team. You can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org or via 01923 232840.