Sarah Harding from WY Advice

With plenty of Australians still in holiday mode, January is the perfect opportunity to take stock of the wins and losses from last year and rip into fine-tuning the marketing plans for 2019.

Moreover, with plenty of global and local challenges, such as Brexit and the looming federal election, it always makes sense to get a jump on the competition.

  1. If you don’t have a strategic plan, get one

Despite some predicting the marketing plan is on its deathbed, we still believe in the value of planning. We’ve yet to come across a business that has achieved long-term success without some level of strategic planning.

Financial adviser Sarah Harding, of WY Advice, started her planning in December. The prolific planner has spent the first half of January finetuning the plan, which is only a few pages in length, rather than a marketing War & Peace that will be quickly forgotten as the year clicks into a higher gear.

The point is that your business will benefit from the planning process, but it doesn’t have to be an onerous process. Even if, as in Harding’s case, it’s just about getting the critical goals for 2019 in place, taking some time to plan will deliver clarity and direction to your marketing. For what it’s worth, Harding, who services plenty of family businesses, is focusing her marketing efforts on leveraging up her use of social media in 2019, with the use of video at the forefront of her content efforts.

For me, when it comes to writing a plan, I’d stick to your four most important targets for 2019, determine a key strategy for achieving them, set some KPIs, and then determine the tactics to achieve the targets. Even if it’s just a one-pager, it will get you started in the right frame of mind for 2019. If you need inspiration, gather your key staff members to workshop the plan with you.

  1. Remember it’s 2019 – become technology savvy

There’s a ton of technology today designed to drive, improve and manage your marketing. For me, however, there are two crucial pieces to the puzzle – the customer relationship management (CRM) tool and marketing automation.

Firstly, a CRM manages your client database and your interactions with the clients. Whether you’re using an industry solution such as XPlan or a mainstream tool such as HubSpot, a CRM is a crucial piece of technology for managing your client data. Simply put, if you don’t have a CRM, then get one fast.

Secondly, automation is so standard that if you don’t have a tool, you are already a long way behind. I’m a fan of inbound marketing and would happily recommend looking at HubSpot as an automation tool. However, plenty of options exist for you to consider.

Why have marketing automation? There are many reasons. It will enable you to better manage the interactions your business has with your clients and prospects. Just as importantly, automation allows your firm to engage clients and leads with content, campaigns, information and sales activities that are aligned with their individual needs. Most importantly, it’ll dramatically improve your marketing and sales conversion rates, meaning more dollars.

  1. Know where you add value

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry made 2018 a challenging year for financial planning. In 2019, winning back consumer trust must be a priority. To that end, merely using the same old sales and marketing tactics won’t do. In an era when competition is high and the client has the upper hand in the buying relationship, you need to know your ‘why’ – the reason a client should care about what you do.

In your marketing, therefore, think beyond the numbers such as returns and yields. Yes, a planner exists to help us manage our financial affairs, but is that all you do? Determine what’s unique about you, and what makes you successful. This is why your clients buy from you. Once you have the ‘why’, you’re at the beginning of a successful journey.

 

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Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry.