to Business Growth
September 8, 2009
2. Marketing â standing out in a crowded market
While most advisors (68%) believe they have a clear and easily articulated story (benefits of working with you, differentiators, etc.), the survey indicates they are not expressing it clearly in their marketing. When asked âTo what degree does your marketing material tell your story and help you in selling?â only 36% said âexcellentlyâ or âvery wellâ while 64% said âsomewhatâ or ânot at allâ.
When asked about âobstacles to obtaining new business,â 20% of the 85 respondents who commented cited marketing-related issues. Many respondents indicated that they were âworking onâ having a clear and easily articulated story, but this seems to be problematic for many firms. Equally interesting were comments that do not specifically mention marketing but cite obstacles that, from our experience, could be mitigated by marketing communication or tactics. These include:
- âIncreased competitionâ
- âLack of consistent prospect-generating strategyâ
- âWhile we often discuss how to penetrate our target markets, we struggle with the execution of our ideas.â
- âCurrent economic environment has made it more difficult to attract new investorsâ
- âPerceptions of structured products given impact of CDO and sub-prime market collapseâ
- âIssues of ânewâ advisor and principal protected productâ
- âFear, causing paralysis [by prospects/clients]â
- âFew people outside the industry know what a multi-family office is or doesâ
- âLack of knowledge by the public regarding what different types of financial practitioners actually provideâ
One respondentâs comment is a truism that seemed to sum up all the comments: âMarketing is difficult and expensive.â
The role of Social Media
Thereâs a lot of buzz about online networking and communication toolsâ (blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) ability to help advisory businesses enhance brand awareness and sales, but most wealth managers still are not buying it: 58% donât use social media at all in marketing or client communication. Among those who do, 18% use LinkedIn and just 5% use Facebook. Most comments centered on compliance concerns or the lack of value relative to face-to-face and other communication means.
3. New business development
When it comes to generating new business â specifically sales planning and execution â respondents rated their firms much lower than the quality of their marketing. Only 37% feel their firm sets and executes new business goals excellently or very well while 62% feel they do an average or poor job at this. The most-often cited obstacle to new business was âpoor marketing,â followed by âlack of sales process and toolsâ and âno clear plan.â We solicited comments, and many of them cited problems with a lack of firm or sales leadership, a lack of time and resources to focus on sales, and poor sales skills.
We asked âHow many new prospects have you had in 2009?â The average was 34 and the median was 11. Comparing this year to last, 31% of respondents are seeing higher or much higher numbers, while 36% are seeing lower or much lower.
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