By Jessica Arey
There are lots of different marketing tactics you can use to promote your financial services firm—from social media, to direct mail, to your website, to seminars, and even radio. But what’s the best approach? The answer is all of them, and none of them. There is no single tactic that will allow you to reach your ideal clients where they are and encourage them to work with you. No, the real secret to marketing success is using a combination of tactics (i.e., an integrated approach) to target your desired audience. How does it work? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Integrated Marketing?
According to a 2014 Society for Marketing Professional Services blog post, the concept of integrated marketing can be explained as follows: “instead of simply using various media to help tell a brand’s overall story [the old way], with [integrated marketing] the marketing leverages each communication channel’s intrinsic strengths to achieve a greater impact together than each channel could achieve individually.”
But what are the channels and media involved with such an approach? Typically, these terms refer to the following two categories:
• Traditional: Print, television, radio, and direct mail. These methods have been around from the beginning, and we tend to generalize them with one word—print.
• New media (or nontraditional): Website, social media, e-mail, and multimedia, such as online videos and podcasts. We can sum this all up as online.
As the graph below illustrates, the intersection of these methods is where the magic happens!
How Do You Implement It?
1) Keep your messaging consistent. The first step in implementing an integrated and more effective marketing strategy is to take an objective look at everything you’re doing and ensure that your messaging is consistent across all of the methods you use. For example, if you place ads in local publications that speak to your expertise in retirement income planning, but your website doesn’t mention this specialty at all, you have an issue. Worse, if you’re using print material that does not reference your website—the method most people, regardless of age, use today to learn more about you—the consumer is sure to notice this oversight.
2) Combine various approaches. Next, consider whether or not you have a mix of marketing “levers” working for you.
• Do you have a social media presence (if it makes sense for your target market and your brand image)?
• Do you also have some print advertising for brand awareness? Local brand awareness is easier to achieve than is national awareness, and it is in line with most advisors’ strategies.
• How about targeted e-mail or mail campaigns for a specific type of client or a particular need you can fulfill? Is that campaign tied to your website? For example, is there a promotional item on your homepage or a link to more information?
For any one activity you undertake, consider whether or not there may be a complementary activity on the opposite side of the fence; in other words, match a traditional tactic with a new tactic (see table).
3) Do a trial run. You don’t have to do everything all at once; you can step your way in to diversifying and integrating your activities as you get more comfortable. Try focusing on one initiative and see how many cost-effective and time-conscious ways you can market the messaging, combining both online and print methods.
For example, say you're presenting a short seminar on diversification. You could:
• Advertise the event on your website.
• Create a postcard/mailer about your event or on the subject matter to garner interest.
• E-mail the invitation to a predetermined attendee list and encourage recipients to forward the message to a friend.
• Include a button on your website so participants can register/reserve a spot.
• Conduct an e-mail campaign around diversification for a set period of time.
• Post a follow-up piece on the subject on your website for attendees to reference.
• Write an article on diversification for your e-newsletter.
• Share details on your LinkedIn and other social media sites.
• Ask participants to tweet the event to their followers.
• Share photos from the event (with appropriate permission) on your website and/or social media sites.
The good news is that most of your online media activities will be free; the only spend is on your (or your staff’s) time.
The Secret to Marketing Success?
Incorporating different tactics into your marketing plan can actually be fun—if you let it be! And the benefit to using an integrated approach is that it will present your brand in a seamless and consistent way, using various channels and media to more effectively reach your ideal clients and prospects. Is it the secret to marketing success? Give it a shot and see what happens.
This post originally appeared on Commonwealth Independent Advisor, a blog authored by subject-matter experts at Commonwealth Financial Network®, the nation’s largest privately held independent broker/dealer–RIA. To subscribe, please visit http://blog.commonwealth.com/.
Jessica Arey is manager, advisor marketing projects, at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, an independent broker/dealer–RIA.