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6 Scary Things That Could Happen to You in Financial Services Marketing

October 19th, 2013

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What keeps you awake at night? Is it PTSD from the crisis of ’08? A potential U.S. default next week? Clients clamoring over huge draw-downs in their portfolios? These are all terrifying outcomes that make even the most seasoned professionals cringe. But have you given some serious thought about what could happen when your marketing efforts go haywire?

Of course, systemic risks aren’t exactly things you can (and should) easily shrug off. But, let’s face it, there’s really no point in worrying too much about things that you have little to no control over. Besides, if anyone can help people navigate through uncertainties, it’s definitely you.

While the risks that come with your marketing projects aren’t as dire when compared to, say, fallout from a market collapse, the consequences of poor marketing planning and execution are all too real to be ignored. That’s why, whether you’re promoting your own professional practice or working for an institution, you have to be ‘wary of the scary’ things that could happen in financial services marketing like the following:

1. Getting left behind. You’re in an industry where Darwin’s laws are very much at play. An increasing number of your peers are dropping out as competition in the sector reaches boiling point. That’s why being left behind is an unthinkable scenario. If your marketing approach isn’t evolving, you’ll lose a lot of opportunities to the competition, and you know where that eventually leads to.

2. Mishandling objections. If you’re like many advisors, then you’re probably not a big fan of cold calling. But most people are afraid to ring up new prospects for the wrong reason — they’re scared stiff of rejection. But it’s not the objection itself that’s unpleasant; it’s the inability to deal with it that really stings. And you don’t just encounter objection in teleprospecting. It’s lurking in every marketing channel you use.

3. Missing your numbers. There’s nothing as paralyzing as the fear of missing your monthly or quarterly targets. This specter haunts both independent and institutional advisors alike, and it’s really just one symptom of a problem that can be traced back to your marketing efforts. Constantly missing your numbers will surely end in disaster.

4. Being misinterpreted. This is something that happens to people who act more like a salesman than an advisor. When your sole objective in prospecting is purely to land a new client, your marketing messages are most likely going to be geared toward selling and, as a result, tend to be ambiguous rather than clear. In such a setup, you’re prone to setting the wrong expectation for your prospects, and it’s only going to be a matter of time before you fail to meet what they had expected.

5. Negative word-of-mouth. Advisors know all too well that word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tool in the shed. What’s frightening, though, is that it works both ways. It only takes one dissatisfied client to start a marketing nightmare that’s going to plague you for a long time.

6. Tripping over regulations. Marketing in this industry means dealing with a complex web of regulatory minefields every step of the way. While the details for regulatory compliance is beyond the scope of this post, the consequences for noncompliance are so serious that you really have to know and live by the rules at all costs!

Being fully aware isn’t exactly the same as simply being afraid. Now that you know the frightening possibilities which are part of your job, it’s time for you to take the steps to minimize their chances of ever happening. That’s the only way you’ll sleep soundly tonight.

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