By  Published in Professional Planner, March 20, 2017

If you’re comfortable creating valuable content, images and strategy, and are skilled at recognising the latest trends, you may have the necessary talents for marketing your financial planning firm.

The reality, however, is that marketing, like financial planning, is a specialist skill that often involves years of education, training and work experience. If you don’t think you have what it takes, then it might be time to seek some marketing help, either internally or externally.

Mixing analysis with creativity

There’s a misconception in the business world that marketing is a cost centre specialising in expensive digital campaigns that seem to deliver nothing more than “awareness”.

In reality, an accomplished marketer will contribute to your business strategy from the ground up. In other words, their activities should aid your business objectives and help solve client challenges. A proficient marketing manager, or marketing consultant, must be able to mix data-driven analysis with sparks of creativity to generate leads, sales and revenue for your financial planning firm.

Start with data

In my consulting business, our marketing strategy team has a substantial product marketing background. As such, it can run a profit & loss analysis while keeping the client’s needs front and centre. This analytical approach is becoming a standard in marketing, as it helps businesses understand their clients thoroughly and how to influence their purchasing decisions at distinct points in the buying cycle.

 To this end, data has become the key weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. Armed with this information, marketers can interpret client behaviour and create products and services accordingly. As a matter of fact, if you don’t have this analytical dexterity in the age of the informed consumer, your marketing will struggle against the tide.

Creativity is a foundation stone of marketing

Marketers must think outside the square and turn data into client engagement, with messaging that gives your business a point of difference. An engaging marketing campaign must be built on this foundation. That ability to engage a client with a message at the right point in the buying cycle, which is a skilled art, makes the talented marketers stand out from the crowd.

Ultimately, a skilled marketer should be able to think creatively and develop messaging that connects with your clients and works for your sales team. Your marketing activities should capture what’s unique about your business and spin it into engaging messages to your clients.

That said, don’t fall into the trap of hiring resources that are strong in tactical execution but have no strategic experience. The right marketing resource will understand your business goals and can contribute to them. Marketing resources operate effectively when in synchronisation with the wider team. If your marketer is known within the business only for wild and zany campaign ideas, then you might need to look elsewhere.

My advice is to start with a person or an agency that has experience in product and services marketing. If they have communications capabilities, too, then even better.