I’ve just read in the Financial Observer that according to research conducted by RaboDirect that consumer confidence in advice had plummeted to only 29 per cent. The great part of the article was that 75 per cent of people receiving financial advice trusted the advice they were receiving [although I think that could be higher!].
So, how do we fix it? Well, for those Advisers that value marketing and communications there is quite a bit you can be doing to stand out from the crowd! This is a golden opportunity to start shouting from the rafters about all the great work that you do because if you don’t tell anyone, how can anyone know?
While I know that creating some good marketing messages will help the individual advice business, I believe that for the perception of the industry to change it needs to be a multi-layered approach from the associations, the product providers, dealer groups through to the advisers. Advice businesses alone can’t be expected to raise the perception of the industry; that would be madness! But imagine what great work could be achieved if a coordinated approach including all of the stakeholders mentioned above got behind a massive campaign to promote the value of advice! It would be brilliant. As the great Peter Senge says, the whole is far greater than the parts!
But for now, we shall focus on what you, as an Adviser can do to help communicate to everyone what the value of your advice can achieve. Below is a checklist of seven typical marketing activities, that if implemented, can contribute to improving the perception of your advice business. Tick off which ones you are doing a good job at and which ones need addressing or improving. If you can tick off all of these, you are well on your way.
1. Up to date, modern website and a well-defined digital reputation plan.
2. Well-written case studies explaining the value of each of your services.
3. Client testimonials – remember when you say how good you are, it can be perceived as gloating, but when clients say how good you are, it gives you credibility.
4. Evidence of your professional standards – education, awards, continued training always helps with this.
5. Strategic alliances with other professionals that can add value to your clients.
6. You! How can I engage [meet] with you before I decide to meet you? Do you have an interactive website?
7. Information that educates the reader so that they are more informed about your business and what it is you can help them with – rather than motherhood, vanilla statements.
Every industry and profession receive its fair share of bad press; financial advisers seem to get a ton more! It comes with the business. That’s why it baffles me that not enough is done to change consumers perceptions. Surely it makes sense to have a continuous campaign in place to communicate the benefits of receiving financial advice? I think it does!
If you would like to discuss your reputation and how marketing can improve it, I’d love to hear from you because I can help.