Making your marketing plan work

Marketing Plan IdeasYou are launching a new fund or ramping up your firm’s marketing.  Some advisors have an abundance of ideas for growing their business, but find it more challenging to translate their marketing ideas into action steps. Perhaps your marketing is reminiscent of this dialogue from Annie Hall, overheard in a cocktail party scene: “Right now it’s only a notion, but I think I can get money to make it into a concept … and later turn it into an idea.” If the lack of concreteness is familiar to you, I suggest you develop a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a roadmap that will offer the crisp differentiation and tactical steps through which you appeal to certain clients and not others. No marketing plan replaces boots on the ground. Calls, visits and touches are essential to the sales effort. The marketing plan lays out the action steps. With your sales force in place, consider how you will arm them with a unique and compelling story. Spend time thinking about how your offering compares with others and the client characteristics that make the best fit.

A marketing plan is similar to a financial plan in one way: It is the planning process that identifies the messaging and concrete action steps that provide the greatest value. Ultimately, you get more mileage out of defining your product rather than letting the market define you.  Keep the plan simple. A working document that contains your strategy for reaching your targets is all you need.

The next step in developing your marketing strategy is to collaborate with your partners and associates in order to outline your objectives and activities. Get everyone on board, then define your methods and tactics. The tactics – from pitchbooks for office visits to emails and web presence — will flow once you gain clarity on your objectives and targets.

In order to finalize the marketing plan, consider the metrics for success. How will you quantify the number of such activities, the budget, the tools, calls and follow-ups as well as the desired results? How will you add clients, from what source and how many? How many meetings, calls or referrals will it take to get you there? And what activities, budget and efforts are necessary to reach this target? What will be required from existing staff, portfolio managers or partners, vendors or others?

There’s something concrete about putting a marketing plan to paper, and including the metrics that will gauge your success. Of course, a plan is only as good as the execution, and you should plan to track your progress monthly against the plan.


By Gerri Leder, founder and president

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