Marketing in a more competitive world
Clients have a growing range of advised and non-advised options from which to choose. Defining your value proposition can help ensure they select you, says Abbie Tanner, managing director of a business innovation
There is one constant in the world of financial services: change. Our profession is constantly in flux, from the regulatory environment, to product innovation and technological advancement, to client needs and preferences. Never before has the market been so competitive.
What do the most successful financial advisory firms have in common? They get the basics right. A foundation to their entire business is a clearly defined value proposition, directly aligned to the needs of their target clients. These firms know exactly who their clients are, what they need and how their services address those needs. Their ‘value proposition’ is succinct, consistent, reflected and reinforced in every interaction.
They also understand that the world has changed. Clients and prospects have easy access to more information than ever before. Technology – from back office systems to wrap platforms, adviser websites, advice search engines and ratings systems – has transformed the way clients engage, and in turn, their expectations.
So how do you keep up and viably compete in this new world? How do you attract the attention of target clients and hold onto them, building lasting (and profitable) relationships today and with the future generations? You are no longer competing with another adviser in the same county; instead you are up against a wall of advised and non-advised options readily available at the client’s finger tips.
Where to begin?
Start by knowing who you work best with (your ideal clients), what their needs and preferences are and how you service them in terms of the tangible value you deliver. You then need to clearly articulate this, differentiating from all other available options, in a language they will genuinely understand. This is known as your ‘value proposition’.
When captured effectively, your value proposition will talk to your target clients in a voice that truly resonates. It will sound like you are speaking directly to them, and only them, making your competition disappear.
The business impact
Financial advisers who have taken time to define their value proposition are often astounded by the impact it’s had on their business:
- Staff are engaged and delivering a consistent message. It raises the professionalism of the firm and helps to build the brand.
- Clients know exactly what they’re getting in terms of value, benefits and costs. They understand the business and service offering, making them more likely to refer.
- Professional connections immediately see the benefits of working in partnership to deliver integrated advice to their clients.
A great starting point is to look at your business through the eyes of your target clients, and potential affiliates, by undertaking a ‘Client Experience Audit’. Consider your answers to the following questions:
- What does your image say about you? Review your website and client facing materials, then list three words to describe the first impression of your business.
- Is it easy to identify the audience(s) you are targeting? Does your imagery reflect them, their needs and preferences?
- Is your branding consistent across all mediums and touch points? Are there documents that need to be revised to sit cohesively next to any new materials you have invested in?
- Do you ‘wow’ your clients? Is your client experience so slick or different that it will get clients talking, enhancing the referral opportunity?
If you scored low or identified issues to be addressed, you need to set aside time to define and capture your value proposition, then ensure it is reflected in everything you do.