(From the October 2022 Edition of eFORUM)
By Stacy Brooks
Businesses grow through many cycles — from inception to establishment to maturation. Within those growth cycles, it’s important to update and make pivotal changes to your overall marketing strategy. Having a well-thought-out marketing strategy can be the key differentiator needed to stand out among your peers.
The past two-plus years have demonstrated that without a robust and agile business and marketing plan, you can be caught off guard when unexpected disruption happens. In the September issue of FORUM magazine, I talked about three types of pivots — marketing pivots, business pivots, and mindset pivots — that financial advisors utilize when faced with unexpected disruptions.
A marketing pivot is probably the easiest of all three because the focus is on who you are targeting in the marketplace and why you are the best person to serve that target audience. However, a marketing pivot does require some work and commitment to the journey. Here are a few steps you can take when making a marketing pivot.
Define your target audience
“Two feet and a heartbeat” is not a target audience. Some advisors may try to cater to a broad segment of clients and water down the value they bring. And while it’s nice to want to serve everyone, there is power in targeting or having a niche. When you know with clarity whom you work best with, whose challenges or concerns you understand best, and whose challenges your skills are best matched to resolving, you are on your way to making a market pivot. Marketing to a defined group narrows your focus to help you tailor your message and craft your communication style to match your audience for great impact.
Define your ideal client
Having a clear vision of your ideal client is important, as not everyone in your select group may match the level of service you want to offer or have you operating at your highest use of time or skill set. Make the effort to be very detailed in describing the persona of your ideal client. The first part of this process is to figure out the characteristics and personalities that align with you, who will value your service, the specific demographic that matches your offering, and if these clients are well-served or underserved. The second part is creating a persona of an ideal client who will be “attracted” to you versus you “chasing” them.
Define your value proposition
Your value proposition emphasizes the value and impact you will bring to your target market and ideal client. To define it, it’s important to consider the types of challenges that you solve and the desired outcome your targeted audience will experience. The reality is, in absence of perceived value, people will revert to rate or price. This industry can be commodity driven; therefore, making the effort to design your value proposition will help set you apart in a pool of more than 50,000 peers in the marketplace.
Define your unique client experience
A well-defined client onboarding process from discovery call to becoming a client will set you apart and help you outshine the competition. Your unique client experience is your “secret sauce.” Clients appreciate a customized experience and want to feel special. How well you execute on this formula will help you win in your marketing pivot efforts.
Making a market pivot requires you to invest time in segmenting your existing client base, and create a unique client experience and service standards that match each client segment. Once these steps are clarified, it is easier to pivot and adjust when an unexpected disruption occurs.
Stacy Brooks, CHS, CEPA, is an advisor value program manager at Financial Horizons. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.