Guide to Marketing for Small and Medium Adviser Firms

8 Apr 2019

Guide to Marketing for Small and Medium Adviser Firms

When you run a business, especially a small to medium sized enterprise (SME) you wear many hats and one of them is the responsibility for marketing.

This can scare those who believe that marketing is a dark art of spin and promotion, when in fact it is a skill every successful business owner has in their DNA. Many do it without noticing every day.

The key is to harness this unconscious competency and ensure marketing is embedded and understood by everyone involved in manufacturing, promoting and administrating the products, solutions and services you provide clients, now and in the future.

This 82-page Guide to Marketing, written in association with Glassagh Consulting is designed to help anyone involved in running their own business gain a better understanding of what marketing is, how it can help your business and the techniques that can be used to become better marketers.

 

Guide contents

  • Twelve marketing pitfalls every business must avoid
  • What is marketing? The power of the 5 Ps
  • Your marketing plan
  • Why you need a marketing audit?
  • The right clients for your business
  • Segmentation
  • The importance of your client database
  • Your client proposition
  • Your client lifetime value
  • Creating your marketing goals
  • Marketing communications
  • Social media marketing
  • Direct Mail
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Sponsorship
  • Seminar Marketing
  • Reviewing and refining your marketing plan

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Is your Marketing working

Why choose Panacea Marketing?

Most business owners recognise they need to be doing some form of marketing if they want to develop their business.

Marketing can help you to attract more profitable clients and drive referrals. It can help you to demonstrate your unique value, show the range of services you offer and justify your fees.

These things are hard to put across without using marketing messages.

But with so many options available, choosing how to market your business can be difficult.

What should you really be doing, how should you do it, and how much should it cost?

Working in partnership with Faith Liversedge, financial marketing expert, we’ve developed a series of free marketing checklists to help you benchmark yourself against industry best practice.

Faith is also offering a number of Quick Win solutions to help you fast-track your marketing. These Quick Wins will help your business to stand out, get found and convert your target market into ideal clients.

Whether you’re marketing your business for the first time, or think your marketing could do with a boost, take a look at the below and get in touch with Faith for more information.

faithliversedge@panaceaadviser.com
07920 042240

 

Free marketing checklist

Effective marketing can help your business to become more profitable. But done wrongly it can be a waste of time, money and effort. Find out what ‘good marketing’ for financial advice firms looks like by downloading this checklist.

Download here

Free website checklist

What does your website really need to attract more visitors? What information should it include about you? How does it get on page 1 of Google? Download this checklist to find out what your website needs to be firing on all cylinders.

Download here

Free SEO checklist

SEO, or ‘search engine optimisation’, is the process of making sure your website is set up correctly so that search engines like Google can rank you favourably. Does your website have what it takes? Find out by downloading this checklist.

Download here

Free blogging checklist

What should you blog about? What should it include to make sure it gets found and read by the right people? This checklist will tell you what you need for an effective blogging strategy.

Download here

 

Quick Wins

30-minute consultation call

Book a 30-minute call with Faith. She’ll tell you at least 3 things you can do to improve your marketing right now.

Cost: £75 + Vat

 

Digital Marketing Report

This 6-page document will give you a detailed technical analysis of your website and social media profiles so you can find out what’s really going on behind the scenes.

It will analyse your:

  • Keywords
  • Traffic
  • User behaviour
  • Sales funnel
  • Technical performance
  • Content

£300 + Vat

 

Video

Having a video brings your brand bang up to date. It helps your clients to engage with your message, gives you something to send to introducers, and to use at seminars and events.

Video also helps your Google rankings: you’re 50 times more likely to show up first if you have a video embedded on your site.*

Faith will supply your own-branded video that is easily uploaded to your website. Choose from:

  • What is financial planning?
  • What is a Chartered Financial Planner?
  • This is how life happens

£595 + Vat

*Source: Moovley, April 2018

 

Client segmentation + marketing strategy

Client segmentation, done correctly, is the most effective way to identify the clients who can provide you with the most profit going forward. And those who won’t.

It’s now also a compliance requirement, particularly in terms of MiFID II and PROD 3.3.

Client segmentation, coupled with a marketing plan, will enable your business to move forward.

This solution will enable you to:

  • Demonstrate to the FCA you’re providing appropriate services and investment solutions
  • Take the guesswork out of your marketing
  • Build long-term client value

£1,500 + Vat

 

Book now

To take advantage of any of these opportunities contact Faith Liversedge on

faithliversedge@panaceaadviser.com 
07920 042240

 

About Faith

Faith is an experienced communicator with a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the adviser profession.

She was Marketing Manager at Nucleus for 5 years, creating innovative and award-winning campaigns. Before that she worked for Standard Life, Prudential and Royal London.

In 2017 she set up her own consultancy to help forward-thinking financial advisers and planners to become more profitable through websites, communications and other laser-focused marketing techniques.

Find out more at www.faithliversedge.com

We don’t need no stinking badges. Oh yes you do, now

Panacea comment for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

23 May 2019

We don’t need no stinking badges. Oh yes you do, now

CMC’s are about to have some insights into what regulatory reality should be about.

The word from ‘Endeavour Square is that “We will be out, and we are starting to think which firms we’re going to visit in the next days and weeks.”.

Many will be aware of all the work done since July 2012 with the MoJ’s Kevin Roussell by Alan Lakey and I to root out this scourge. Sadly for Kevin he died just before his work went live.

To assist the FCA with their thinking we have set up a ‘whistle-blower’ form so that the hundreds of advisers who have been on the receiving end of some appalling behaviour can assist the FCA in the search for ‘bad actors’ as they transition from regulatory fantasy to regulatory reality.

In particular we will expect them to look at those firms where there is a consistency of badness. If any of you have taken them to court to recover costs do note this.

The form is short, but we would expect you to give some comments that can cite specific case names and dates. We would appreciate your name, but this will be redacted from the submission to the FCA.

You only need to complete the fields with * next to them but it would help us if you include your personal details should we have any queries. Please be assured that your submission will be kept confidential and we will not share your contact details with anyone in relation to this matter.

Name:
Company:
Email:
PPI Claims Management Company*
PPI CMC Web Address*:
Comments/Details:

Trains, planes and phone awareness month?

Panacea comment for Financial Advisers & Paraplanners

8 May 2019

Trains, planes and phone awareness month?

Have phones at work become the new ‘smoking in the workplace’

Mobiles are everywhere today, you cannot escape them. In the office, on the train, in the street, the office, airplanes, the underground, cinema, restaurants, theatre, gym, sauna.  My latest encounter was only last week, a steam room at my gym where the texting user when asked if it was appropriate to have a mobile in such a place advised me it was ‘waterproof’, an amazing example of not getting the consideration for others point.

Even the delivery room is not out of bounds. Constance Hall snapped back at ‘mummy shamers’, who said that it was ‘poor parenting’ for her to be on her phone!

The streets are being walked by individuals in a zombie like trance, gazing in thrall at screen content- a book, an e mail, a movie. Even mothers with babies in prams and pushchairs are not exempt. And in some cases, sadly, death has followed.

A recent RAC Report on Motoring revealed a significant increase in the number of drivers admitting to using a mobile phone at the wheel. According to the report, between 2014 and 2016 this figure has risen from 8% to 31%. Regardless of the reason, any distraction behind the wheel can lead to accidents, severe injuries and car write offs.

In January this year, the Trump White House issued a new ruling banning the use of personal cellular devices in the West Wing, citing security concerns

From what I see on my way to meetings around the country, mobile device dependency is so bad that the use of phones is almost the equivalent corporate time waste of office smokers who regularly decamp for a puff at the expense of their non-smoking co-workers although I guess some multi-tasking with phone and fag could occur.

I would be the first to declare that I have an iPhone and iPad (in BBC speak, other devices are available) but I yearn for some considered quiet time to be extended to those around you who get caught up in this mobile use tennis match. Consideration is something that seems to be asked for by way of signage but never acted upon.

Train journeys are a nightmare, even in so-called quiet carriages. You are never more than a seat away from some very important individual shouting down a phone. Along with their loud summaries of the most important business deal ever done by anyone, anywhere, anytime, conversations also contain stock phrases like ’I am on the train’, ‘Sorry, I just went through a tunnel’, must be a dead spot’, ‘can you e mail me that’, ‘sorry can you say that again’ and of course, I think we were just cut-off.

The conversations often contain corporate buzz phrases like:

  • At the end of the day
  • Meghan will take the lead on this
  • Big data
  • Clickbait
  • Freemium
  • Gamification
  • Colin will be having a 360
  • Hyperlocal
  • Ideation
  • KPI
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Pain points
  • Second-screen
  • Ecosystem
  • Better run this with the scrum master
  • Start building consensus
  • We’re working in silos here…….

That’s enough for now, I could go on, perhaps you may wish to add some that irritate below?

“Distracted walking” incidents, according to the National Safety Council“are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. According to the USA Governors Highway Safety Association report, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2017. This number mirrors 2016 fatalities”

We are losing focus on our surroundings and putting our safety – and the safety of others – at risk.

The solution: Think about your surroundings and those around you. Stop using phones while driving, walking, in the gym, spa, climbing stairs, getting off trains, buses and planes, on road crossings too. Amazingly over half of so called distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes, proving that we need to stay aware of our surroundings, whether they’re new or familiar.

We have all sorts of ‘awareness’ days, weeks or months, has the time has come to have a ‘awareness’ month for not using a mobile device for calls, texts and e mailing in ALL public places?

Just a thought.

Panacea is delighted to introduce MyDocSafe

Technology news for Financial Advisers & Paraplanners

1 Apr 2019

Panacea is delighted to introduce MyDocSafe
Customer portals are fast becoming a must-have piece of cloud infrastructure that can speed up your work, improve customer experience and reduce your compliance risk.
MyDocSafe is a UK-based provider of a sophisticated portal platform, ideal for IFAs. From electronic signatures, client onboarding, through secure document sharing, form filling, and even chat, MyDocSafe helps automate and secure critical document exchange and approval processes and help IFAs comply with GDPR.
Pricing starts at just £10 per month + VAT for sole practitioners.
  • All price plans include unlimited e-signatures and customer portals.
  • Ensure no disruption to your business
  • You can continue to use the same risk analysis for your clients

Features

  • Cloud document management system
  • Client portals with embedded chat, e-forms, e-signature and customisable widgets
  • Advanced electronic signature with document broadcasting, mail-merge, reminders, and 2-factor authentication
  • Automatic filing and full audit trail.
  • Onboarding automation (e-form, e-sign, ID check, dd mandate or cc payment)
  • Integrates with Outlook, Salesforce, GoCardless, Stripe, Onfido and Dropbox
  • Robust API for further integrations
  • GDPR: built-in data mapping tool; all data remains in the EU
  • Outlook plugin for easy sending of documents for approval, for publishing them to client portals directly from email and for encrypting communication
  • White label option available
  • Mobile apps for notifications, document upload/viewing and e-signature.

Benefits

  • Sign up clients faster
  • Improve GDPR compliance
  • Secure client data
  • Manage complex customer relationships
  • Automate onboarding of customers, employees, or investors.
  • Minimise admin time
  • Reduce time to revenue
  • Flexible pricing based on client volume or transaction volume
  • Persistent portals improve customer loyalty

Can anyone imagine a large UK business being run like this?

Brexit comment for Advisers and Paraplanners

28 Jan 2019

Can anyone imagine a large UK business being run like this?

Some headlines from last week to make you feel proud about British democracy, values and standards.

  1. “May faces ‘high noon’ Cabinet meltdown on Brexit”
  2. “Philip Hammond refuses to rule out QUITTING if the UK leaves the EU without a deal”
  3. “Rudd threatens to walk out to back Remainer revolt”

 

Now for a scenario to imagine as you look around your office today.

Assume that for electorate read shareholders and customers, read for UK PLC that the CEO as Mrs May. Mr Hammond is the CFO and Ms Rudd has just come back to the business in a different role as Head of HR.

Both these board members are briefing against the business, the CEO and the shareholders are being ignored by these two directors. They have also had a Ratner moment, branding their customers and shareholders as ‘stupid.’

Two shareholder EGM vote results in 2016 and 2107 saw the board being given instructions to pursue a change of business direction also indicated by their customers, by survey.

The CEO is trying to progress the EGM direction change but half the board are not supporting her and want to ignore the shareholders. The resulting board conflicts are made very public causing damage to the corporate brand and the fallout is starting to damage business opportunities.

We had some interesting thoughts expressed on my LinkedIn post that I thought worth a share.

Chris Taylor, Global Head of Structured Products at Tempo Structured Products

I think our thoughts on this might differ. Because a company would be pragmatic, not dogmatic. A company would recognise that if nearly half of its shareholders (who are also customers) expressed polar opposite views to only very marginally more than half of its shareholders / customers, then they are dealing with a truly divided shareholder / customer base. Companies also do not deal with things in such a binary way as the referendum result has required – as democracy seemingly required. They would also recognise the need to move with the times, if they have good reason to believe that the views of their shareholders / customers have changed over time. Companies are kinetic. They know they must adapt … or die. They adapt to the interests of their shareholders and customers.

Campbell Macpherson, Business advisor, speaker, NED and author of 2018 Business Book of the Year, ‘The Change Catalyst’

Normally I would agree with you that the CFO and HRD’s lack of loyalty is shocking but, in this case, the CEO is such a terrible leader. She only listens to a vocal minority of her shareholders, ignores more than half of her customers, doesn’t engage at all with her fellow Exec Team members and has no vision for the company.

To borrow from the wit and wisdom of the late satirist Peter Cook who might have reported a Brexit conversation with Mrs May on the subject as follows “I said to her, with all the dignity I could muster, is this any way to run a ******* ballroom?”

My LinkedIn question was “If you were the CEO, what would you do”?

Over to you!

Feel brave enough FCA?

Regulatory update for Financial Advisers & Paraplanners

24 Jan 2019

Feel brave enough FCA?

Being responsible is what the financial industry should be about.

Sadly we have now reached a stage that the responsibility now falls on all as the few who mess it up never have the resources to put things right, previously referred to as ‘the polluter pays’.

There is an urgent need to find a better way to fund the ever-increasing costs of regulation and redress as well as delivering confidence and developing consumer protection. At its core, is funding the seemingly endless liabilities for consumer entitlement to compensation whether or not from ‘inappropriate (bad) or unsuitable advice’ and/or failure of product.

If not found, the only way to even think about evaluating the worth, let alone seeking access to advice, will become so expensive only the very rich will be able to seek it out and the entry of new firms impossible.

That in turn creates big problems for almost all provider firms, almost all, who rely totally on intermediated distribution.

A leading provider CEO observed only this week that: The truth is that we currently have a mixed economy in terms of compensation for mis-selling, product flaws, etc. Individual firms have primary liability for their actions and the wider FS industry carries the costs of systemic regulation and systemic failures (FSCS). Whilst everyone grumbles about this it is pretty sensible. Firms have real incentive to ensure that their activities are meeting standards, but the overall system has a backstop to maintain public confidence”. 

He is quite right, but how regulation and consumer protection is funded is what I see as the problem and not the responsibility focus where the ‘who pays’ door has slammed shut.

Financial products are predominately ‘purchased’ as a result of adviser recommendation, this can now include sales attached to products such car purchase. This distribution of intangible products is often referred to as intermediated distribution. The latter outlets, although regulated, are rewarded by way of commissions.

Pretty much all life, pension, protection and investment product providers do not sell or distribute what they design and build and have not for decades. Instead they rely on third parties. That party is the adviser community, tied, restricted or whole of market. That distribution method became predominantly fee based on 31st December 2012, excluding protection products and mortgage related advice.

Many argued that this date spelt the end of mass market access to financial advice and the beginning of a more professional era where if you could not pay, or were not deemed financially worthy, customer segmentation by advisers ensured advice was not coming your way any time soon, or at all.

Segmentation does not mean that IFA firms are always financially well-resourced to compensate for when things go wrong. This simple fact is the cause of the big problem the FSCS, PI insurers and firms left who pick up the cost of the clear up face.

Poorly, yet still compliantly capital adequate firms often collapse after a big call of money from the FSCS or even a single successful complaint and unaffordable compensation payments.

The regulatory year 2018/19 with just over 3 months to go, has seen the FOS refer 273 cases from around 74 companies to the FSCS. For these firms, Sipp’s accounted for 39% of FOS casework, PPI 28% and portfolio management 9%. This in turn will see more complaints against those firms hit the FSCS as the FOS will wash their hands of them as they will be placed in default.

Smaller IFA firms often do not use limited liability protection options, instead using their personal assets to satisfy capital adequacy. For many established firms operationally functional PI to ride out a bad advice claim award is difficult to achieve because of a very restricted pool of insurers and a continuing slew of claims for unregulated products being distributed by regulated entities.

Limited liability protection actually increases the risk of firms failing. And phoenixing can follow.

As PI cover is arranged a year at a time, any claim or notification of a claim in the current policy year, with a diminishing pool of reinsurers and huge premiums, could be curtains at renewal in the next year, no PI = no business.

Although there are always exceptions in commercial life, very, very few businesses set out to disadvantage clients for their own gain. It seems in today’s world of financial services that the collapse of firms can often be brought about because of a failure to get compliant PI, a big (even small) FOS redress order, or a flood of unexpected FSCS calls for cash from the misdemeanours of others. This in turn sees reducing adviser numbers that in turn presents fewer firms to pay ever increasing liabilities of others as they fail.

Many advisers have reported fraudulent claims in our regular FOS surveys. All this is really not helped by the culture of compensation that has encourgaged no win no fee lawyers (CMC.s) to boost consumer opportunity perception, as noted above. All financial products and advice presents an opportunity for a ‘refund’ many years later if what was suitable at the time of the advice is not seen that way, say, 15 years later due to changed client circumstances, changes in their aims and aspirations that applied at the time of advice.

Why? A lack of longstop does not assist, something that applies in just about every commercial walk of life. After six complete years from the date of the transaction there is no redress for bad service, goods or advice as commercial law does not permit it. In the world of financial services, it is forever, although I note that the FOS is now exercising the six years plus three rule a bit more.

In the summer of 2018, Panacea ran a FOS survey whereby 83% of respondents felt that FOS complaints process places them in an automatic position of guilty until proven innocent. The outcome should be determined by the evidence available and/ or the balance of probability. Often, that is not seen by firms as being the case. No file, because the case was more than say seven years in the past, does not help. Equally so if a file is retained, data protection could come back to bite as record keeping beyond seven years could be seen as a breach.

It is all well and good suggesting that the polluter pays from a compensation point of view, but the reality is they cannot because the pollution has proved so toxic, they just died along with everything else in that murky pond. In other words, the death of the polluter means they can never pay.

Some thoughts therefore follow for the FCA and HM Treasury to consider on how the industry should pay for regulation and at the same time protect the consumer from bad actors and product failures.

Every regulated firm, there are some 50,000, of whatever type (from car finance, to pet insurance, to funeral plans, pensions providers, life insurers etc) should pay a simple percentage of turnover to the FCA each year as a new type of ‘all inclusive’ regulatory fee to cover ALL the cost of delivering regulation, FCA, FOS but not the FSCS as this idea would see their need removed, building, quickly, a financial services fund to pay for when things go wrong (similar to the Pension Protection Fund?).

The complete opposite of the polluter pays.

This clearly defined cash ocean is locked, and if need be in the beginning underwritten by the Treasury, rather like the FSCS is today.

It should not see HM Treasury doing a cash grab on surplus funds as it has done with fines. Build up surplus, rather like the three-year Lloyds of London accounting period, and use that surplus to reduce the cost of regulation along with fee and fine offsets.

This pool of cash would be to specifically deal with the cost of FCA regulation and FOS arbitration when investigating consumer detriment for regulated products and advice only. Claims should be arbitrated at minimal, even no cost to either side by the FOS with the outcome being determined by the FOS with a low-cost form of independent appeal for each party.

The FOS should operate by assessing claims on the six years plus three rule, the basis of evidence available and/or the balance of probability and not by way of retrospection or beyond that time limit.

In the case of ‘guilt’ there should be an element of affordable, turnover redress payable by the firm and the rest paid for by the accumulated fund. This should mean that firms do not go out of business because of a claim or a claim against others.

There should be a very strict bad behaviour outcome with very bad being an immediate red card then say a ‘two strikes and you are out’ standard, or, where redress amounts are above a certain level and you are out ruled out of further activities, possibly even first time.

Regulated advisers should only engage in regulated products. Unregulated products should be exactly that and excluded from the support.

There would be no need for individual PI as the FCA should/ could, rather like huge corporates, self-insure by way of the fund created and the FCA could have in place a reinsurance pool made up of many insurers, PI or otherwise to remove any doubts of being selected against.

Tear up the current protocols, the status quo needs something a bit different.

Let’s do a little simple maths:

  • In 2017 £22.1 billion of revenue was earned by retail intermediary firms in 2017 from insurance, investment and mortgage mediation activities, compared to £20 billion in 2016. Source FCA
  • Over £300 million was paid by firms in Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) premiums in 2017, Source FCA
  • The FSCS paid in claims to the year ended March 2017 £375,262,000 (£130,362,000 was recovered) source FSCS Financial review page 47
  • The biggest single cost to the FSCS in that year was £306,246 in interest source FSCS Financial review page 47
  • There are some 50,000 firms across many business areas that are registered with and regulated by the FCA

So, if every firm regulated by the FCA paid just 0.20% of their turnover each year, based on the above numbers some £442m would initially be raised. There would be no need for PI cost and a sum could be set aside to reinsure easily covered within that 0.2% cost.

That could be a starting point for a brave new world.

This thinking is not about presenting firms with a low-cost way to be reckless in their advice, it is not about bringing advice to the masses in its purest sense. But it is a starting point.

As the leading provider CEO further noted: Your suggested approach will only affect advisory firm behaviour materially if it leads to greater socialisation of all of the risks across the sector, and so reduces risk of ruin for advice firms.

The description of my thoughts as “socialisation” is very astute.

He did add a caveat that “this in turn runs the risk of too many firms taking higher risks because they don’t have to bear the brunt of their actions to the extent that they do today”.

But I beg to differ. Money is being made in the ‘industry of compensation’ that would be better used by ploughing it back to the pot, confidence would be restored, bad business put out of action very quickly and all that money saved on a firm level basis put to providing lower cost, easier access to advice, better regulated products and services created with foresight to ultimately benefit the consumer rather than hindsight to compensate them.

I hope that this very brief summary could be the basis of a new way to deal with compensation.

Just a thought.