By Tami Kamin-Meyer
Registered Rep Magazine
Nov 1, 2006
With so many firms — banks, trust companies, broker/dealers, boutique
wealth-management shops, insurance companies — competing for the same
clients these days, it's important to have an effective marketing
strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're developing
that master plan.
According to Jay Conrad Levinson, the self-promotional father of
so-called guerrilla marketing — a low-budget and unconventional
marketing strategy for small businesses — “The two biggest mistakes made
by small businesses are they don't start with a really simple marketing
plan, and if they have a plan, they don't stay committed to it.”
Levinson advises small business owners to curtail their expectations
about the success of their marketing plan. “Don't expect instant
gratification,” he says. Normally, “nothing happens in the first 90
days.” Give it three to six months. By then you should start to see
bigger profits or positive feedback. If not, you may need a new plan, he
Even if you do see some results, at the end of one year you need to
ask yourself if changes are necessary, he says. But be patient. “Even
the Marlboro Man needed 15 months to start seeing a glimmer from intense
marketing efforts. Then he grew into a cultural icon,” says Levinson.
Grant Hicks, a, Canadian investment manager and a fellow of the Canadian
Securities Institute who co-authored Guerrilla Marketing for
Financial Advisors (Trafford Publishing, 2006) with Levinson, says
an ineffective marketing system generates too many leads outside the
advisor's target market.
Hicks specializes in retirement-income planning, so he aims his
marketing efforts at seniors. Every last detail — down to providing his
elderly clientele plenty of handicap parking spaces to using large,
readable fonts when emailing clients — is tailored to his market.
Marketing professionals resoundingly agree that size matters when it
comes to pitting the neighborhood financial advisor against the big boys
downtown. According to Shel Horowitz, author of two small-business
marketing books, the local financial advisor has at least two marketing
advantages over his downtown competitors. “You can position yourself as
small and friendly, and you can act more quickly since you don't have to
contact a line of people to get a job done,” he says.
Levinson says small business owners can also personalize their
messages in a way that advisors at big firms cannot. One guerrilla
tactic favored by Levinson is the rental of a luxury box at a sporting
event. “Have it catered privately, inviting colleagues and some of the
100 families you are targeting. Then pay to have billboard messages
posted, welcoming them to the sporting event,” he says. The worst thing
a small business owner can do “is to make his business look like a big,
cold, uncaring, bureaucratic company,” says Montoya.
David Baker, an accredited asset-management specialist and investment
representative with Edward Jones in Bexley, Ohio, says his company's
recipe of “door-to-door, face-to-face, hand-shake and smile
communication is time consuming, but effective.” Time consuming is
right. According to Baker, Edward Jones requires its financial advisors
to knock on 1,200 doors at the outset of their employment with the firm.
While this personal approach “doesn't touch as many people as a mailer,”
it's far more effective, he says.
How important is it for a financial advisor to have his office
located in a chic part of town? “Less now than ever before, because the
best office in town is the Internet,” says Levinson. Still, he says,
“it's nice to have a nice office because it shows you're doing well.
That develops confidence.”
Hicks agrees that the presentation of your office is critical.
“Perception is reality. You're building trust.” But the office should
reflect the tastes of the clientele you seek, says Bill Good, who runs
Bill Good Marketing. “An IRA rollover market financial advisor would
make clients uncomfortable if he worked in an opulent office,” he says.
You may use these articles in your
marketing, newsletters and web sites as long as you retain the copyright
information at the bottom, including the link to our web
site and inform us where it is being used as well as sending us a copy of
Always check with
your compliance office and or branch manager before implementing any
marketing idea. The information does not constitute a recommendation for
the sale or purchase of any securities or insurance.