2 Simple Marketing Investments you should have done by now

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

In my previous post, I have mentioned that Marketing is first about Strategy and then about Tactics. So before you even embark on spending the first rupee on digital marketing, or any form of marketing, you should be clear about your pond. 

Now that your pond has been nailed, this post aims to address the 2 Simple but key Marketing Investments every IFA firm should do regardless of size (even if you have ₹1000 + Crore of Assets).

The Two Simple Investments are:

A. Define your Ideal Client Profile

I was speaking at an event where there were 150 of the Top Advisors in the Country. I asked them a simple question “How many of you have defined an Ideal Client Profile”. Not a single hand went up. This is one of the biggest mistakes that not just IFAs but some of the biggest firms are guilty of.

So where do you begin? 

The best place to start is your existing client base. What exactly do I look out for? You can divide this into 2 parts Quantitative and Qualitative. 

The Quantitative is the easier part and you can look at: 

Current AUM and Potential AUM (Ability to build a portfolio over 2 years or so). 

The Qualitative part which is the most difficult yet the most important is as follows. Ask yourself; 

  1. Which clients do you enjoy working with?
  2. Which clients challenge you in a positive way (Asking tough questions is good so is having world-class expectations from you.)
  3. Which clients value what you do for them?
  4. Which clients really require advisors? (this means that they listen to you and are delegators- they have delegated their financial well-being to you as opposed to controllers – these are clients who will take credit for all the right things and blame you for all the wrong ones.). All IFAs have experienced some controllers who want to direct the strategy but when things go south, totally put the blame on you. 
  5. Can these clients take decisions or do they just like to discuss and discuss and discuss?
  6. Do the clients have realistic expectations?
  7. Are you the only advisor to the client?

Rank each client on the above and you will start seeing trends. Do this exercise sincerely and in a disciplined way and you will get some amazing insights into your business and marketing (if you have done any). 

One cardinal rule to follow is to NEVER take on a Client because of his/her Assets. You are dealing with a Real Person and if most of the Qualitative parameters don’t work out, you are better off SAYING NO to this prospect. Never ever compromise on this one.

Additionally, remember the biggest source of growth for an IFA is Client Referrals. If you are not clear about who your ideal client is, your clients will refer not so ideal prospects and your problems will only compound over time.

B. Define Your Value Proposition

Once your Ideal Client Profile is clear, the next most important investment is to define your Value Proposition. 

Wikipedia defines Value Proposition as “A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value will be delivered, experienced and acquired. A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, or parts thereof, or customer accounts, or products or services.”

Do you have a clear value proposition defined? Most IFAs have not even thought of a distinctive value proposition but are now forced to think of one, in the wake of the regulatory changes. 

Beating the Benchmark is the stupidest value proposition that one can have and is a recipe for disaster. Financial Astrology, too, should not be your value proposition. Some prospects might expect you to predict the markets but it’s important, to tell the TRUTH, that you and no one else in this world (including the legendary Warren Buffett) can predict the short term movements of the market. Like I’ve said before, setting Prospect and Client expectations on your value proposition is extremely important. It’s important to lay out what you will and (most importantly) what you will not do for your client.  

Ask yourself “What is my Value proposition?” Better yet, ask your clients “What do you think is my value proposition to you?” 

I would urge you to do this exercise. Just talk to 5-10 of your clients, and ask them “What do you think is my value to you?”. I am very curious to know some of your answers.

The best part is that these 2 Marketing Investments require your Time Capital and Thinking Capital. 

Thus the key to making successful marketing investments is not the size of the budget or some big tactic. The Key is to Nail your Marketing Strategy (Which Pond will I operate in, Defining your Ideal Client Profile and Defining your Value Proposition).

The legendary Peter Drucker said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”


I hope you loved this post. Feel free to share it with your fellow IFA colleagues and friends. 

My objective here is to add real value to as many IFAs as possible and help you build the wealth management firm of the future. Let me know your thoughts and if there any topics that you would like me to cover.