Lately you may have heard me focusing on client experience or client journey

Client Experience is one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot in the technology world. Leading digital companies can put a very large investment value into their UX, or user experience. When things go wrong in the user experience, apps or websites lose their users and their value and this directly affects the bottom line. So, the CEOs take their client experience very seriously, and invest time and money to develop, review and iterate it.

So should financial services firms.

Even if you are not doing marketing campaigns on billboards nationwide, and your website is visited mostly by current clients and prospects (not thousands of strangers), as the managing director or principal of a small to medium services firm, you serve a either a B2B educated target or a sophisticated clientele. You serve them with expertise and a lot of personal attention.

You might think that development of a client service strategy (and the execution of it) will cost a lot of money that could otherwise go directly to profit. You may also believe it will take time and energy that you think is better spent working for your clients.

In the mid to long term, the work on a client journey pays off in ways that create both more time and more profitability.

Over time it can:

  • Increase referrals from clients
  • Increase referrals from influencers
  • Improve the conversion rate of prospects to clients
  • Improve client retention rates
  • Increase in the fees you can charge

 

 


The problems that Branding solve

It is very common to find financial services firms wasting time pursuing clients who are actually not the right fit. When clients can’t differentiate between firms, they make choices based on other factors, such as price, rather than more important factors, such as the genuine value and expertise you bring to their particular situation.

Branding can pay off for financial services companies by offering a strategic solution to these and other common business development and retention issues. Specifically, here are the top four problems that branding can solve:

Differentiation in a commoditized market

  1. The financial services world, including the boutique offerings, is getting more and more crowded. When you (or your current or potential clients) compare your firm to competitors’ firms, you (and they) can’t clearly understand the differences. A well-articulated brand clarifies your position in relation to your competitors. It enables you to connect more powerfully with those potential clients who most likely want what you uniquely offer. It also enables you to establish deeper bonds with current clients, making it less likely for them to replace you (what is unique is irreplaceable).
  2. Word of mouth
    Referrals are a critical source of new business for your firm. A strong brand is easy for your referral sources to explain. If your clients (or their influencers and trusted advisors, such as attorneys) can’t easily articulate how your firm is better and different from your competitors, their efforts to refer you are far more difficult and less effective.
  3. Commoditized Price
    You are competing on price. A strong brand moves you away from being a commodity and enables you to charge a premium that reflects your actual value to your clients.
  4. Confusing messages
    Each person responsible for business development in your firm gives a slightly different answer when asked to describe your firm and say how it is better than and/or different from competitor firms. This may seem harmless, but if you and your team aren’t on the same page about how you are better and different, then your business development efforts will be less efficient and less effective. When everyone is working from the same brand understanding, you can identify the most promising potential clients and craft the most effective pitch based on the true vale your firm offers.

So next time you think that branding will cost a lot of money that could otherwise go directly to profit, think also about the problems that it will solve for you. In the long run, they are many.

 


The Cornerstone of Marketing: The Customer Experience

We’ve come a long way since 1960, when E. Jerome McCarthy heralded the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Indeed, McCarthy couldn’t have envisioned the roles that technology and globalization would come to play in marketing’s evolution.

Today, the global marketplace influences product design and pricing strategy. The combination of globalization and the internet has overridden traditional concepts of place, replacing deep inventories with just-in-time manufacturing and moving market coverage from physical space to cyberspace.

But perhaps the most significant evolution in McCarthy’s four Ps is in the realm of promotion. Today, a brand isn’t able to wholly define itself. Over the past decade, consumers have come to increasingly rely on each other to recommend brands and products. Social media platforms allow networks of extended family and friends to share impressions, experiences, and information. Review sites provide the groundwork for individual consumers to become reputation makers-or-breakers. And online marketplaces (we’re looking at you, Amazon) have trained consumers to gauge the consensus of strangers before tapping the “Add to Cart” button.

As the relationship between brands and consumers has shifted, companies have had to focus on differentiating themselves from their competition and redouble their efforts to touch customers in valuable, reliable, and memorable ways. In virtually every case, this begins with a company’s public face – its website. Allocating a portion of the ever-increasing customer acquisition budget to a useful, clean, and efficient user experience is an investment that delivers returns. Offering and maintaining a solid customer experience – first online and then in real life – lays the foundation for success.

Although some marketing gurus would have you believe that creating brand messaging that touches the customer and infuses the organization’s culture results from pure inspiration, the truth is that it’s 99 percent perspiration.

Effective client experience: is the result of collecting and analyzing data, making informed decisions, and setting benchmarks. This approach benefits companies in a number of ways, including:

Customer retention: Companies that are invested in customers’ well-being communicate that in ways large and small. The result? Customer brand loyalty.

Cost savings: investing in the customer experience is a profitable engagement strategy. Data shows that 12 positive experiences are needed to compensate for a single negative experience.

Word-of-mouth recommendations: Customers who feel well cared for recommend companies and services to their friends and family members.

In any battle of the brands, the winner will be the one that maintains or increases its investment in the customer experience. That was true in 1960, when McCarthy posited the four Ps, and it holds true today, in an era that encompasses both the depersonalization that is an outgrowth of globalism and the hyper-customization made possible by technology.


Not true: Top marketing myths

Content Marketing is just a “nice to have for the long run”

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, and generates more than three times as many leads. 

 It is simple: when you prove that you understand the challenges and solutions of your potential clients, you begin to earn trust. And trust is after all, one of the most common hurdle to jump for financial services in their customer acquisition journey.

High quality content helps demonstrate your expertise and can give you the authority that other types of marketing wouldn’t achieve.

Industry white papers, financial calculators, long-form guides, and industry reports are all examples of content that can build your authority in the industry and attract highly qualified leads.

Financial services cannot reach clients with online advertising

I know you think otherwise, but your client also browses Facebook and Instagram!

Most financial service companies have a very specific target. Online channels offer ultra-targeting capabilities that can benefit just about any advertiser.

On LinkedIn, reach users by profession, education, company, and seniority. On Facebook and Instagram you can target users in specific ZIP codes and create powerful similar audiences that could align with your actual target audience.

These are only some examples that can be used to target financial services clients. The possibilities to personalize your targeting are endless.

Marketers can take care of your campaigns regardless of the industry

  • “Oh, you are a lawyer. You should handle my tax case”.
  • “Sir, I am a divorce lawyer”.
  • “But…you are still a lawyer”.

Lawyers are not the only ones that have to deal with this scenario. Marketers experience this all the time.

That’s why clients tend to achieve better results with agencies that specialize in a certain sector.

Financial services, for instance, is a very complex industry. Your marketing team must know how to accurately talk to your client’s needs.

 Plus: Anyone can do marketing — even a robot.

Marketing automation has been many marketers best friend, but it has also resulted in people believing that robots are capable of doing marketers’ jobs. From sending mass emails to pushing advertisements out, people witness technology doing the tasks marketers used to manage. Marketing Week even wrote an article entitled “Rise of the machines: Are robots after your job?

The short answer: No. Marketing automation tools just make it possible for businesses to replicate their efforts more efficiently.

And the truth is that automation doesn’t really work without smart human input.

A website redesign will automatically increase leads

Why did you redesign your website?

If your site is not responsive or user-friendly, or if you have researched that your industry standard visitor to lead conversion rate is 5%, and you are at 1%, it was a good decision to redesign. But, if you just had a “hunch” that you need a redesign then you don’t really know what to benchmark once the new website is out.

Improving the traffic-to-lead conversion ratio means much more than redesigning your website.

You need to improve the quality of the traffic you are receiving, make your web copy and value proposition more compelling, or perhaps what you offer prospects in exchange of their email is just not good enough.

Do not redesign your website for the sake of it. But do it to solve a specific issue you identified.

Influencer marketing won’t work for my financial brand

Brands often believe their product isn’t right for influencer marketing if it doesn’t come across as well-suited for glam photos and traditional lifestyle copy. It may seem that influencer marketing might not be the best vehicle for financial services. However, the truth is, a real voice that’s used to communicate a brand’s benefits can be effective even for topics companies are unsure have a fit in influencer marketing.

Look for influencers who can craft an honest story and you will likely find that consumers will be more engaged and pleased to join the conversation.

 


The value of experience

It has been proven that money spent on experiences has a much bigger impact on a person’s happiness than money spent on material things. The same can be said about money spent on your customer’s journey versus your lead acquisition.

Recently, Seth Godin, the marketing guru said in one of his articles:

If an Apple upgrade breaks your phone and you switch to Android, it costs Apple more than $10,000.

If you switch supermarkets because a clerk was snide with you, it removes $50,000 from the store’s ongoing revenue.

If a kid has a lousy first grade teacher or is bullied throughout middle school, it might decrease his productivity for the rest of us by a million dollars.

So, this shows the equation can (and should) be inverted. Most small and medium sized financial services firms focus most of their efforts -and hard-earned money- on improving the marketing funnel for customer acquisition. What would happen if that same marketing team dedicated 50% of their time to improving customer satisfaction?

In the services industry it would mean happier, referral-creating, customers.


From lead generation to customer experience

While a few years back lead generation was the base of every single marketing effort, now 81% of financial services firms say that optimizing the customer journey is “very important” to them over the next few years.

According to Adobe’s 2017 Digital Marketing Study, more than a quarter (28%) of all financial institutions rank optimizing the customer experience as the “single most exciting opportunity” in 2018, and one in three say that “making the experience easy, fun and valuable” will be the primary way they seek to differentiate themselves over the next five years.

It is now common understanding that the experience that financial services must deliver need to be as seamless and intuitive as the best e-commerce, ride sharing or food delivery app out there.

According to Chris Young, who leads Adobe’s financial services division, In financial services, brands are no longer competing with each other. They are up against the best-in-breed for digital.”

 

A Ferrari without a driver

The proportion of financial services companies that viewed themselves as advanced in terms of digital maturity nearly tripled from 7% in 2016 to 19% last year. That’s an enormous improvement, but there’s still much work to do.

Regardless of the advance in AI, automated marketing and other platforms out there, when implementing the strategies financial services seem to be forgetting a key driver: content.

Adobe says financial brands are neglecting the role content plays in the recipe for creating engaging experiences. According to the study, banking providers struggle to see the value and importance of a content marketing strategy versus their peers in other sectors.

The creation and management of content — particularly video content — isn’t something that’s on the radar for the vast majority of financial marketers when compared with those outside of the industry.

And that’s like having the car ready to race… and leaving the driver behind.


Are You Really Doing What You Are Good At?

I was recently exposed to a simple chart that had four quadrants that I had to fill out regarding what I do for a living. The chart outlines what you are good at doing versus or in comparison to what you like doing. And although it was not easy to fill out in some ways, this exercise got me thinking about positioning for a business in general.

 

Positioning is a critical step in any business’ marketing strategy. It defines the company, forms the basis for messaging, drives the marketing approach and impacts the way in which products and services are priced. To be effective, positioning must be clear, compelling and, most importantly, differentiated.

One of the most common descriptions I hear from leaders is a company’s positioning that sounds the same as everyone else. Their products are “innovative”, their services are “world class”, and they are “customer focused.” These are all examples of buzzwords that marketers use to try polish their position. But spin is not enough. Instead, business leaders need to find or create real differences they can leverage in the market.

Anybody who ever started a business had this problem. Some succeeded at differentiation and are now enjoying the fruits of it. The good news is that everybody can do it.

  • What are your strengths? What is it that you love doing and are great at doing?
  • What are your weaknesses? What is it that you are not that good at?
  • What’s your offer?
  • What you don’t offer?
  • What’s good and what’s bad in your offer?

MAKE A LIST OF YOUR CURRENT AND YOUR POTENTIAL DIFFERENCES

You know enough about your competitors and about yourself. You know about your competitor’s differences and you know your differences. You know what competitor’s differences you like to have.

So now you can make a separate list about your current differences and another list about your potential or future differences that you would like to have.

MAKE YOUR DIFFERENTIATION STATEMENT

Can you write in one statement how your business is different? Don’t think about competition, write your own differentiations that your business has and your competitors didn’t have.


How to create a Content Marketing Strategy without breaking the bank (or your back)

As we have discussed once and again, a thought leadership strategy is key for financial services companies and professionals to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Here we just want to share the simple steps to follow to create and maintain a strategy without losing yourself in the process.

Step 1: What are your business goals and objectives?

The first step is to carefully consider the business outcomes you are setting out to achieve. What does success look like, and does everyone agree on that vision of success? Are you looking to gain exposure, create leads or educate your prospect on your offering? Be clear on what your objective is before embarking in any content development or channel creation.

Step 2: Competitive audit

Create a list of your competitors and do some detective work. Where do they publish content? What kinds of content do they prefer? Look at their publishing frequency and what topics they cover. See if they focus on long-form content with lots of value. Know what you’re up against but also use it to inspire your content, either by imitation or by differentiation.

Step 3: Content audit

Take a complete inventory of the content assets you currently own. Include details for each piece of content including what type of media and its intended marketing channel and audience persona. Evaluate what content is performing, what needs to be updated, and what can be put on the back burner. If you haven’t done any content marketing, review the content you have developed for marketing purposes, which should inspire some of your content verticals that you will develop later.

Step 4: Customer Personas and Content Verticals

Develop a complete persona of each type of existing or potential customer you want to reach and their main pain points. What are their desires, fears, and interests? What keeps them up at night?

Then, based on each persona, develop a content strategy on what will be discussed for them. Think of the main questions they have when thinking about the problem and define the content vertical. For example, if one of your targets is investors planning for their succession, the content vertical for that target will be practical tips and discussions on wills, succession strategies, investment planning, etc.

Step 5: Brand Voice

Your brand voice is your communication style. Define how you want to communicate. Will you be serious and research oriented? Will you be more informal and establish a closer connection with the customer?

Step 6: Content distribution plan

Determine how you will get your content in front of your intended audience. Find out where they are already discovering content—for example, social media, email, video sharing sites—and what type of content they prefer. Research which channels are the best fit, and constantly update and refine your approach. Then, think of your pieces of content as they feed into the distribution channel, and adapt to each of the channels depending on their style.

Step 7: Measurement

How will you measure success? What are your most important KPIs, and what are the smaller KPIs that ladder up to helping you achieve the objectives you set from the beginning?

Step 8: Toolbox

What tools will you use to create content? For example, does your company already use a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress? Figure out if you will use your own writing staff or utilize vendors.  You’ll also need good analytics software to track and measure


How you sound vs. How you want to sound

Does your market know who YOU are, as a person? If you are the face of your company, such as a consultant, coach or author, it’s a given that people will associate your brand with you.

However, if you’re a business where your product or service is the brand, it’s a little more difficult for your market to recognize you. And in either case, if you don’t have a clear brand voice, it’s unlikely that anyone will recognize you without a name, logo, or face.

And it’s almost impossible for customers to form a true connection with someone who has no personality.

Having a defined personality changes all that. It makes you stand out from everyone else in your market. And when the voice of your brand is consistent in all your content, people start believing they can have a true relationship.

But your brand personality consists of not just the words you use, but also how you put them all together – through the tone of voice you express in all your content, including visuals and multimedia. It also consists of the way you relate to others, including how you take care of clients, how they experience your service or even how you pick up the phone.

So, the main question you need to answer is…

If your brand was a person, how would you describe her (or him)?

If you met your brand at a social event and had a conversation for an hour, how would you describe it afterwards? What personality traits does it exhibit? Where would you find your brand? How does it behave in its spare time? What brands does your brand wear, drive and consume?

And on the flip side, how do you want your customers to describe you after they’ve had a chance to get to know you a little? How do you want them to feel about you?

Your brand needs to have a personality in order to make a connection with your customers. People remember your character traits and the voice you speak with, but they don’t remember a faceless entity that speaks in a generic, flat tone.

 

 


Selling vs developing a relationship: where financial advisors fail

What is it that regularly blows apart business development efforts? The lack of follow up.

Financial services firms can do an excellent job at marketing their business to their target clients and influencers, but then they undo their efforts and lose their ROI without the proper follow up.

And, let’s face it, marketing, networking, and building connections without following them up makes the effort a big waste of time and money from the very start.

Follow-up can be uncomfortable, especially when you would rather be managing your portfolio or designing new products instead of seeking sales, but it isn’t hard; anyone can do it.

How can you make your follow up easier and more successful?

  1. Care for your contact – Really

Don’t call or email a contact to follow them up when you are in a rush or when you’re stressed. Instead, take a couple of minutes to think about what you are going to say. Think about what you can do for them, and then contact them with a positive frame of mind.

  1. Focus on building relationships

The more focused you are on just getting to know the other person, the more authentic you will behave. When face to face, find out something about them and their life. Look for common ground as well as traversing the expected corporate territory. Common ground can make relationship-building a lot easier and a lot more memorable for both parties.

  1. Be consistent and responsive

Prospects want you to be predictable and professional, but not forceful. If they ask you for a proposal, or invite you to send some more information, do it quickly. Taking your time is disrespectful and makes you look disorganized.

  1. Watch your follow-up slip ups

When you haven’t done it for a while, follow up can seem daunting, and people can often slip into “too busy” mode and put it off. Postponement is usually a signal that your fears, nerves, or feelings are getting in the way of the needs of your business.

  1. Find a system that works for you – and within your flow

You can find thousands of tools out there to help you manage your contacts, such as CRM systems, project management tools and others. Don’t be tempted to implement a fancy one (unless you already use one). Make sure you implement the system that works within your daily workflow. If you get to things based on your inbox, use one of those systems that remind you via email. If you follow your calendar, use it to remind you of the follow up.

Just remember that all prospects are as busy and preoccupied as you, and a little reminder of a meeting or great idea they heard is never a bad thing.


The Five Keys to a Thought Leadership Strategy that Drives Growth

What is it that regularly blows apart business development efforts? The lack of follow up.

Financial services firms can do an excellent job at marketing their business to their target clients and influencers, but then they undo their efforts and lose their ROI without the proper follow up.

And, let’s face it, marketing, networking, and building connections without following them up makes the effort a big waste of time and money from the very start.

Follow-up can be uncomfortable, especially when you would rather be managing your portfolio or designing new products instead of seeking sales, but it isn’t hard; anyone can do it.

How can you make your follow up easier and more successful?

1.- Care for your contact – Really

Don’t call or email a contact to follow them up when you are in a rush or when you’re stressed. Instead, take a couple of minutes to think about what you are going to say. Think about what you can do for them, and then contact them with a positive frame of mind.

2.- Focus on building relationships

The more focused you are on just getting to know the other person, the more authentic you will behave. When face to face, find out something about them and their life. Look for common ground as well as traversing the expected corporate territory. Common ground can make relationship-building a lot easier and a lot more memorable for both parties.

3.- Be consistent and responsive

Prospects want you to be predictable and professional, but not forceful. If they ask you for a proposal, or invite you to send some more information, do it quickly. Taking your time is disrespectful and makes you look disorganized.

4.- Watch your follow-up slip ups

When you haven’t done it for a while, follow up can seem daunting, and people can often slip into “too busy” mode and put it off. Postponement is usually a signal that your fears, nerves, or feelings are getting in the way of the needs of your business.

5.- Find a system that works for you – and within your flow

You can find thousands of tools out there to help you manage your contacts, such as CRM systems, project management tools and others. Don’t be tempted to implement a fancy one (unless you already use one). Make sure you implement the system that works within your daily workflow. If you get to things based on your inbox, use one of those systems that remind you via email. If you follow your calendar, use it to remind you of the follow up.

Just remember that all prospects are as busy and preoccupied as you, and a little reminder of a meeting or great idea they heard is never a bad thing.


Your product won’t push your growth, your brand will

A valuable brand is way more important today than in the past, mainly because of a crowded marketplace that bombards consumers with products and information. How do buyers differentiate and choose? Mostly by trust and branding.

The best branding today is based on a strong idea and an impeccable customer experience. The best brands have remarkable creativity in advertising to help them break through people’s wall of indifference to create brand heat and product lust.

No branding, no differentiation. No differentiation, no long-term profitability. People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands. In a movement strategy, brands have a purpose that people can get behind. Brands can inspire millions of people to join a community. Brands can rally people for or against something. Products are one dimensional in a social media-enabled world, brands are Russian dolls, with many layers and beliefs that can create great followings of people who find them relevant. Brands can activate a passionate group of people to do something like changing the world. Products can’t really do that.

In today’s world, branding is more important than ever. But you can’t simply build a brand like they did in the old days. You need a cultural movement strategy to achieve kinetic growth for your brand. With that, the sky’s the limit.

I have long advised financial services companies that if you don’t control your messaging somebody else will and your potential customers will form impressions of you shaped by somebody else or by nobody at all.

But this process doesn’t have to be complicated. Just establish your key values and communicate them often and simply. Each time you do, you are building your brand.

 


Be real – authenticity goes a long way

Today’s financial services companies need to stop selling and start engaging on customers’ terms. Presenting yourself as “a 360 planner” without disclosing your interests in the products you are selling will not cut it anymore.

Hence, we have been working to drive our clients to authenticity — meaning real, genuine, of verifiable origin. Traits that are simply at odds with the perception of the role of marketing.

Can financial services firms make an authentic consumer connection?

Don’t say you are authentic — be authentic. “Straight-talking” and “plugged-in” are both better word choices to personify your brand. Your communication, the way you present your product and your client’s experience should be sufficiently simple to drive differentiation in a way that will foster a real client connection, which will drive business growth through referrals.

Embrace content marketing as a core communications strategy: The value in having real people advocate for brands by inspiring, informing and entertaining audiences across social, content and video is real. Serving up the content your audience wants on their terms and in their language from people they trust works well.

Finally, knowing and communicating your organization’s values gives you a solid base to build your business around. It will give your customers something to rally behind, not just a product to buy.

 

 


Your Client Doesn’t Want you on Facebook

A Survey conducted by Putman Investments found that the majority of financial advisors are gaining new clients through social media and they are active on at least 5 social networks. This helped them report an increase in AUM through digital channels.

But HNW clients are not so sure

However, according to Temenos, almost two thirds (62%) of HNW clients, while now in favor of ‘the digitization of wealth management services’, they  still want to meet often with an advisor. To make it even more complicated, only 17% of HNW clients say technology is now essential. Half of the surveyed clients actually cited cyber risk and hacking as a top concern when using technology.

So what is the right balance? Do you create a social media strategy with the single objective of getting new clients and then grow the relationship by meeting with them in person? This scenario takes the ever increasing wave of robo-advisors for HNW completely out of the equation.

Achieving the right balance between digital and personal communications is definitely the main challenge with HNW and other financial services clients.

The key then is to figure out which types of conversation and interactions the client will be more open to have on a digital format and which ones should still be kept over coffee or drinks.

Which is best?


WHY ARE YOU SCARED OF NARROWING YOUR TARGET?

I have heard it once and again: “We can serve target market A, B, or C. And we can provide all of the services they require.”

Deeply narrowing a target market and servicing is something every single entrepreneur – and sales executives or financial advisors – have been at one point or another at least hesitant to do. They have what we would call FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – on a bigger, better, wider market.

So in order to get over that fear, here are the top three reasons you should narrow your target market:

1. Stand Out 
The closer your message gets to what your audience is interested in hearing, the higher the chance that you will stand out on their radar and be heard. Not only that, this will create a “top of mind” factor for them to reach out next time they are thinking that they need help. For example, if you were to by an Audi, where will you think of going first? The multi-brand car dealership or the Audi one?

2. Be a Thought Leader
Yes, we all know you have a wealth of knowledge and can solve many of your client’s problems. But you have to solve just one issue to get your foot in the door. Present one thing you know well and position yourself as the leader of that one area/service/industry niche. Once they open the door, you will be able to present the world of services you have for them.

3. Open the Door to Develop Relationships 
Here is where most financial organizations and others many times fail: they gain clients and forget to reap the benefits – or cross sell – to show the many capabilities their firm has.
It is key that once you have introduced yourself and proven that you can solve a client’s problem, you work on deepening your relationship by staying in tune to the challenges that your client is facing. Little by little, they will be open up for you to show them that you – and your organization – are capable of solving not one, but many of their problems.


The marketing traits of highly successful financial services firms
For boutique financial services, stand-alone marketing is counterproductive

By Alejandra Slatapolsky
Slata Financial Marketing

Financial institutions have been selling to customers the same way they did half a century ago. This is especially true of boutique asset managers, family offices and wealth management firms that target ultra high-net-worth clientele. However, it’s no news that consumers, including older generations, have different views of how they should be served by their bankers. Consider, for example, that one-quarter of U.S. adults who go online would consider banking with a firm with no physical branches, according to Forrester research.

I used to head the marketing and communications department of a burgeoning boutique investment bank. In several opportunities, we overheard our competitors trumping their services in comparison to ours and wondering out loud why our name was more recognized in the target markets than theirs, when their offering was truly superior. Perhaps the answer was that their marketing and sales processes needed to be updated to compete in a commoditized market. In a world where almost any firm can offer access to the world’s markets, the boutique offering had to become much more than just access or advisory.

Consumers have long stopped responding to in-your-face marketing. Recommendations from friends and trusted peers, word-of-mouth and online reviews are factors that hold maximum sway over their buying decisions. People want fast, efficient, personalized help when they’re making a purchasing decision. Not surprisingly, long sales pitches and marketing brochures with less quality stuff just don’t cut it anymore.

The firms that excel at marketing and gaining and keeping loyal clients have six key traits that we can all learn from.

They believe a great brand breeds from within

It is very common to find private bankers or brokers that come and go from one firm to the other with their book of clients. These types of team members may bring in some much-needed short-term inflow of business, but they are not contributing to their firm’s long-term brand building.

This is the reason why internal communications for boutique, specialized financial services firms has a whole new meaning when most of the interactions with prospects are in person.

Firms that succeed in building a trusted, lasting brand in the eyes of their clients have dedicated as much effort to their internal communications as they do to their external communications. Getting authentic buy-in from their team means that all the messages coming from the organization will fall in line with one consistent brand story, that will be built one team member, one interaction at a time.

They integrate marketing into their processes.
The marketing department should not be an isolated team sending out invitations to the next event. Marketing efforts are part of a business’s everyday operational flow.

A great marketing flow includes a thorough examination of all the touch points along the customer’s journey, producing a consistent brand experience. This should include everything from phone greetings, to statements, to email protocols and onboarding documents. 

Design is consistent
A brand story is not only verbal but also visual. Great brands have consistency throughout their efforts and have a strong hand at the materials that front end team members provide to their customers and prospects.

Selling is integrating and cross-selling
Today, bankers not only require a solid understanding of consumers and their behaviors, but they also need to deliver services in the way a client prefers.

Unfortunately, financial services firms tend to have always worked in silos. In a world where the cost of acquisition of a new client keeps escalating as margins keep shrinking, looking inwards to find cross-selling opportunities is not only a great practice, but should be a given. And a key factor in this process is creating a culture of ultra-focus on the needs of the client. This means that all efforts should be on getting to know each and every one of the clients to be able to anticipate their needs.

They deliver an experience
The dynamic between customers and banks is changing. Customers no longer want their banking relationship to be solely transactional; they want advice-driven banking that is personalized to their needs. Great financial brands focus on human-centered design that ensures the needs, wants and limitations of customers are prioritized on each of the interactions they have with their brand.

They know there is no silver bullet
Great brands are built one touch point at a time, one client at a time, over time. Throwing money at just one marketing tool isn’t enough. Successful brands integrate their marketing efforts and brand story into everything they do, and let the process work for them in the long term.

In sum, great financial services brands have a marketing machine that constantly feed into the building of their brand.


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This short, checklist-style guide will help you revise the way you manage your marketing and sales processes, giving you the ultimate guide to a smart and efficient marketing machine for your financial services firm.
A quick jumpstart to your business
Enjoy our e-book
This short, checklist-style guide will help you revise the way you manage your marketing and sales processes, giving you the ultimate guide to a smart and efficient marketing machine for your financial services firm.
A quick jumpstart to your business