3 Tips to Focus your Financial Marketing Priorities
Over the past decade of working closely with financial advisors, there is a common personality trait I have witnessed in many of the industry leaders. This attribute is what the Kolbe Assessment may call a “quick start,” the entrepreneurial spirit that drives advisors to start and build successful businesses. This can also lead to a common challenge: the shiny idea.
Whether the idea stems from a conference or webinar or the internal drive to continually develop new and improved systems and processes, there is rarely a shortage of great ideas available to fuel a financial practice. However, starting too many initiatives can leave resources scattered, staff burnt out with a lack of direction and a pile of half-finished good intentions.
If you are an advisor who is always seeking to improve, how do you satisfy a craving for the latest and greatest while zeroing in on the most productive ideas? As the QVC Queen Lori Greiner on Shark Tank often says, is it a zero (burning up time, money and energy) or is it a hero (a brilliant idea destined for success)? Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Strategic Fit:
- Alignment with Company Goals
Every choice sends a message, so ask yourself, is this what you want your company to say? For example, if you are dedicated to a comprehensive financial planning approach, a promotion on a high-interest rate fixed annuity or another product-based offer may fuel sales but could work against your big picture objectives. Define the big picture vision to be a driving force for your daily choices.
- Market Positioning
You will never get ahead looking over your shoulder, but it is important to be aware of your competition. Ask yourself “how well does this initiative position us?” Whether this means a unique focus on deepening client relationships or integrating new technologies to your services, make these choices with a specific intention.
- Core Capabilities
Does this new project further your core competencies or is it a distraction? As an advisor, there are countless products and service extensions you may consider, from Social Security to Medicare supplements to REITs and BDCs. Define 3-5 company competitive advantages, write them down and revisit them often to stay on course.
2. Economic Fit:
- Revenue Potential
Picture the best-case scenario if your idea is implemented to its fullest potential. What is the revenue impact of this addition? This is often one of the first considerations an advisor will make, and it should definitely play a factor in tandem with the other criteria included in this list.
Just as taxes erode a portfolio over time, a pure focus on big production can burn out and break down even the best advisor. What is the bottom line profitability of this new idea after all financial costs are considered?
- Growth Potential
Where does this idea fall on the bell curve of adaption? Are you first to market (if so, is your target market ready and receptive)? Or, has this been overdone to the point of saturation? For example, if you are just entering the market as an advisor in 2017 with a focus on the 70 million Baby Boomer generation with retirement planning, this may not be a unique enough advantage on its own within your space to hold tremendous growth potential. Similarly, pioneering a new web-based wealth management platform may hold great growth potential, but only if it connects with paying customers.
- Technical Risk
From regulatory considerations to new software and technology developments, what are the odds of this new idea overcoming the technical challenges that may prevent it from taking off? Identify these challenges upfront to decide whether you are willing to make this commitment.
- Resources – Financial
What is the full scope of costs to make this new idea a success, and do you have those resources available? Consider your timeline from inception to launch, including development, support materials and promotion.
- Resources – People
Does your team have the skills and bandwidth to execute this initiative? If not, you will need to consider the costs of outside resources as part of the financial commitment as well as the time it will take (whether yours or someone you can delegate to) to provide the decisions and coordination needed to see this idea through.
Bring it all Together
Complete the form below to download the Financial Advisor Project Prioritization Tool. Brainstorm the various projects you have in development and rank them using the criteria above to determine those with the greatest potential. Those with a high strategic fit, great feasibility and most economic impact should be your priorities. Those that have two out of three elements may be good to leave on the backburner as a future development, while those lacking in two or more areas should be considered distractions and eliminated.
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