Market Strategy

A firm’s market strategy is the culmination of its sales strategy, market research, and brand strategy. Effective marketing communications tie together the messaging and the brand in a way that is compelling to an organization’s target audiences. These communications may take the form of a website, printed brochures, presentations, proposals, and through the dialogue employees have with constituents and are critical to the way an organization communicates, sells, and distributes its products and services.

Sales strategy

A critical extension of an organization’s brand is its approach to sales. A firm’s sales force is not only selling a product or service, they are a functional extension of the brand—a personalized delivery of an organization’s promise to its target audience. For many companies, the needs of the sales department are the driver for messaging and collateral. Though it is often said that the approach sales and marketing strategy must be the result of the branding strategy, not the other way around.

To arrive at effective sales strategy, an organization must understand its marketplace and how the sales process applies to its client-base. It is imperative that the brand, messaging, and the marketing strategies consider how the sales force interacts with its various audiences and addresses the sometimes multiple layers of decision makers.

Successfully aligning the process and approach of sales with brand and marketing strategy ensures a firm will identify decision makers, create appropriate messaging for key individuals; and develop compelling communications to be used throughout the sales process:

• Narrow the sales funnel, resulting in a more productive sales team

• Reduce your cost per sale

• Increase revenue and enterprise value

Research strategy

A compelling brand begins with a good understanding of customers and markets, as well as obtaining metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of a firm’s communication.

Armed with this information, a firm can continuously monitor and tailor its communication. By collecting metrics and establishing benchmarks, resources to be more effectively deployed—fostering more better communications which leads to a more powerful brand.

Brand strategy

Brand recognition has always been very important to financial services firms. Because there are several levels of products and services that are presented to the consumer, firms have to work extremely hard to ensure their brand stands out amongst their peers. Recent studies have shown that branding is not only important to major players in the financial services marketplace, but increasingly so to independent advisors, who are realizing the need to develop their own brand.

An effective brand leads to differentiation in a crowded marketplace—increased credibility, visibility, and profitability.

Identifying and articulating a brand is an important first step for any marketing communications because:

• A brand is an organization’s promise to their marketplace.

• Every organization has a brand, whether or not they choose to control it.

• Clients have perceptions of a firm’s services and your offerings.

Controlling those perceptions through creating and maintaining an image—establishing a timeless promise, consistently communicating the promise, and without failure, fulfilling the promise—leads to an effective brand.

Coordinating and presenting multiple brands in the financial services marketplace becomes rather complex. In the financial services marketplace, it is critical that a firm’s brand be defined and leveraged in a way that not only helps constituents understand the breadth and depth of services offered, but also where the firm resides in the complex matrix of brands.

Articulating your brand

Every brand has both concrete and abstract attributes. The unique combination of these types of attributes makes your brand different from your competition.

Concrete attributes include the types of services you offer, the audience to which the services are offered, where or how you offer your services, your level of education/professional certifications, and fees. These attributes, though critical to your brand, can evolve with your business.

Abstract attributes can include things like personality, approach, customer service, ways of doing business, and specialties—something that would differentiate a firm from its direct competition—should remain steadfast, even as your business evolves.