Compared to the often arcane ins-and-outs of complex financial products, putting together a successful financial marketing plan seems relatively straightforward: you want to get your firm’s products and/or services in front of the right people, with the goal of growing the business. The stumbling blocks that often arise when putting together marketing plans don’t necessarily spring from their complexity, but rather from a lack of clearly-defined goals, a murky sense of a target audience, and poorly-selected tools for the job. What follows are some key questions you should be asking yourself as you put together your own marketing plan.
What is our goal here?
Far too often, the first item that is defined in marketing plans is not the goal of the plan itself, but rather the medium. Your team may decide “hey, let’s make an animated video” or “hey, we should start an email marketing campaign.” While these mediums are perfectly fine if they’re actually the right tools for the job, the planning process is already backwards. The goal of a marketing campaign dictates the medium through which its goals are accomplished, not the other way around.
Instead, you should follow the Natural Planning Method, first outlined by David Allen in his famous productivity book Getting Things Done. We use the natural planning method all the time in our daily lives without even realizing it. When we discuss where we’d like to go out to eat for dinner with our partners, we’re unconsciously imagining what wild success looks like in our heads; we have a clearly-defined endpoint.
So start with your marketing campaign’s goal: what does wild success look like? Do you want to connect with a certain demographic or type of customer? Do you want to drive sales through mobile? Do you want to increase brand awareness or boost AUM?
Who are we marketing to?
The goal of your marketing campaign will have a huge bearing on your target audience. Use your goal’s unique parameters to settle on a target audience. Be sure to narrow it down: you cannot market your company’s products to “all investors,” and if you try, you’ll end up producing a bland, watered-down message that won’t particularly resonate with anyone.
What tools/mediums will we use?
Your target audience and the goals of your campaign will dictate the tools you will use to reach potential investors. If your campaign’s goal is to boost assets under management by engaging with novice Millennial investors, then it’s a good bet that this demographic will respond well to short, punchy animated videos via, say, social media channels. If on the other hand you’re seeking to reach sophisticated financial advisors, you’ll need to tailor your message (more complex language is okay), and push that content to where those eyeballs are, in this case trade publications.
Internal team or external vendor?
With the parameters of your marketing campaign firmly in place, you’ll need to decide if your company has the bandwidth to bring this project to life in an appropriate time frame. If you do not have a dedicated marketing team, or if your existing marketing is already over taxed with existing projects, it might make sense to bring in an external marketing agency that can “plug in” to your marketing department; or that can even serve as your own “internal external” marketing agency while you focus on growing your business.
By clearly defining your marketing campaigns goals, defining your target audience, and waiting until these parameters are in place to choose the appropriate medium, you and your team will be well-positioned for a successful marketing campaign.