The 2 Things to master in Marketing

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.

On a call with several IFAs, I was asked this question about 3 Marketing Strategies that I think are important. I will write about the 4 Marketing Strategies (actually, Tactics) that I shared (on the call) in a future post as I do not really want to digress from today’s topic. However, the first part of my response was as follows.

Most people often confuse strategy and tactics. IFAs are no different. We are so used to directly jumping into the WHAT of things, we do not look at the WHY of things. Before you get into any Marketing Tactic, the 2 things to nail are your Marketing Strategy and Marketing Numbers. At an organization level, you always lead with one Comprehensive Marketing Strategy that consists of different elements /tactics/sub-strategies.

Imagine you have to travel to Delhi from Mumbai, and you have 4 hours only. How many of you will jump on a train, car, or a bus to reach Delhi? None of you will because you know the destination and number (Delhi and 4 hours) and it is impossible to reach in 4 hours with this tactic. Even if you do, you will only end up wasting your time.

This is what I typically see with most IFAs. Different vendors pitch different products (tactics) with many promises. As an IFA you will think, I will get data, leads and this will solve my problem. Like I have written earlier, your real problem is something else. So, fix that first.

Let us start with a very simple goal of Marketing.

The simple goal of Marketing is to get sufficient (one of the numbers you need to define) ideal prospects interested to speak with you. I am not going very deep here, so just giving you a key takeaway (sufficient ideal prospects interested to talk to you).

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many Ideal prospects are sufficient for me? This is a function of how many Ideal clients you need in this year and your conversion ratio of Ideal clients to Ideal Prospects. Let us say you need 50 clients in a year and your conversion ratio is 20% (you close 1 out of every 5 Prospects you meet), this means you need 250 Ideal prospects. Now if you need only 20 clients in a year and your closing ratio is 40%, then you need 50 Ideal prospects.

    If you think through these 2 examples, they will require a very different marketing approach. However, it is still too early to decide on your personalized Marketing Tactics. Applying cookie -cutter (or standard tactics) will be a sheer waste of time, effort, and money.

    The Marketing Numbers that come out of this are:

    a) Number of Ideal Clients You need
    b) Conversion Ratio
    c) Number of Ideal Prospects

    These are however partial numbers and we will get the remaining ones at the end of this post.

  2. Who is my Ideal Prospect (or Ideal Client)?

    This is like the destination question and a key part of your Marketing Strategy.
    Think about this. Which Prospect Pond will you operate in? (Doctors or Surgeons or Orthopaedic Surgeons or Corporate Executives with ESOPs or Entrepreneurs with liquidity). Each of these ponds will require different things to be done. Like I have said earlier, Strategy is not only about what you will do but most importantly what you will not do?

    A world class Marketing Strategy is all about making Sacrifices (about giving up on client segments/things) and being laser focused.

  3. Where can I find my required Number of Ideal Prospects?

    Where are your ideal prospects based out of? Worldwide, India, Mumbai, Suburb of Mumbai, Building of Mumbai. Each of these choices will require different things to be done. Something that you would do when your entire target market resides in a corporate building is different when your target market is even in the same city.

    The question then is What is the Best Way to Reach this Destination?

    Once you have figured all of the above and written it down, should you start thinking about the WHAT of your Tactics.

    Every tactic (you can now call it a specific strategy if you wish) will have its own nuances and every firm will not require all 6 tactics or more. For example, Referrals can give you results faster whereas content marketing could take time. Thus, for every tactic, you should be clear about your numbers. As in the above example, if you need 250 Ideal Prospects, you need to figure out whether you can receive 25-30 referrals a month consistently. Can referrals give you 30% of your requirement or 100%? Depending on this, you might require additional marketing tactics too. These are the final parts of your marketing numbers (The number of Tactics that you need and the number each Tactic is supposed to deliver).

For most IFAs, mastering 2-3 tactics should be good enough. National Level firms however will have to master all 6 plus.

The Lesson of the post is that unless you nail your Marketing Strategy – jumping with tactics will always be sub-optimal. Just the way you are good with Financial Numbers, you need to master your Marketing Numbers too.