Most investment firms were originally founded by people with a gift for managing money. Their genius is understanding the financial markets overall and managing the specific investments that have been entrusted to them by their clients. Running the business itself is typically not something that they want to spend time doing, since it is often viewed as a distraction.
One aspect of running the business is the development and execution of a marketing plan. Usually when the term marketing plan is used, the immediate reaction is “yes, we have sales objectives.” But “sales objectives” aren’t even a sales plan nonetheless a marketing plan. Marketing and sales are two different (but related) animals and understanding the difference is critical to making each work effectively.
Marketing should be focused on the strategy of how you plan to grow your business – product development, pricing, distribution channels, promotion and people. Sales, meanwhile, describes the tactics of how you plan to grow your assets under management – prospect profiling, customizing your pitch to prospects’ needs, managing the business development process and closing the sale.
Briefly, a marketing plan is a blueprint of how you want to approach your marketplace. Done well, it represents a competitive advantage, since most investment management firms tend not to have marketing plans.
A marketing plan encompasses the following elements:
- Previous year performance
- Value proposition or edge
- Major revenue generating actions for the upcoming year
- Market environment
- Significant opportunities
- Material threats
- Key Impediments
- Upcoming year objectives
Developing a marketing plan requires you to adopt a more disciplined approach to how you plan to build your business during the upcoming year. Ideally, it focuses your firm on the three to five major drivers of your business that have the potential to generate significant assets under management, revenues and profits. While it is hard work, the return on your investment is high and well worth your time.
Lesson Learned: Marketing plans are a critical component of running an investment firm.
Henry Hakewill, IV
Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer
NexTier Companies, LLC