Essential Marketing Considerations: Proper Planning and Continuous Process Improvement

By Bill McGuire, Principal, W.M.McGuire, LLC on Tuesday, July 7th, 2015


Recent studies and news articles have provided insights on how high performing advisory firms are more dedicated than their peers when it comes to marketing.  If you’re looking to step up your firm’s marketing game, here are 4 considerations before getting started:

1.  It Starts with a PLAN...

The old adage “Plan your work and work your plan” may be cliché but is often the difference between success and failure to execute your marketing goals.


Start by defining very specific and measurable goals. Try to set short term and long term goals that are reasonable and achievable. Next, develop a strategy that details the tactics, resources, budget, and schedule.  As an example, if you’re thinking about your website:

  • Assign a staff member to become the project lead and get familiar with the features and benefits of the different content management systems (CMS) and hosting services, such as Word Press and Media Temple.

  • Determine what internal and external resources are required for design, photography, copy writing, etc.

  •  Plan for 2-3 month to complete the entire project. 

2.  What’s You Budget?

A question that often comes up is -- As a small business, how much should I allocate on a marketing? Although opinions vary, I think this fairly straightforward explanation from a SBA.GOV blog post provides some insight:  [Many businesses allocate a percentage of actual or projected gross revenues – usually between 2-3 percent for run-rate marketing and up to 3-5 percent for start-up marketing. But the allocation actually depends on several factors: the industry you’re in, the size of your business, and its growth stage. For example, during the early brand building years retail businesses spend much more than other businesses on marketing – up to 20 percent of sales.  As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing. This budget should be split between 1) brand development costs (which includes all the channels you use to promote your brand such as your website, blogs, sales collateral, etc.), and 2) the costs of promoting your business (campaigns, advertising, events, etc.)]

3. Take Inventory of what you HAVE and what you NEED….

Logo, website, brochure, social media. Is everything consistent, up-to-date, and how you envision them?  Does your brand need a facelift or a complete overhaul? 
Start by making a complete list of everything, yes everything!, that is client facing. Determine what the priorities and goals are for each component. You may not need to change everything all at once. In fact, it’s best to make changes in phases.   The best place to start can sometimes be your logo because it effects many other things. Minor design refinements can produce major changes. The main thing to keep in mind is that you can’t do everything at once. Focus on those areas and activities that matter the most and will have bottom line impact.   When you make the list, remember to include every touch point to your clients and prospects. Your phone answering message and email signature are part of the brand image. The little things can make a big difference.

4.  Just Do It…Better!

Start with what you’re most comfortable and see the best potential results.  Content marketing, public relations, speaking events are all great marketing opportunities. They’re also repeated activities which presents a great opportunity for continuous process improvement. 3 quick tips to get you going in make sure your efforts get the most return of investment:

  • Start with a clear and well documented plan—that includes a budget, logistics and resource needs, schedule and, most important, what do you want to accomplish from this effort?

  • View all marketing initiatives as “works in progress”—always be looking to make small adjustments along the way that can push the needle forward to success.

  • Conduct after-action assessment—take the time to what worked, what didn’t, and what to needs changing. Analyze all aspects of your effort and set qualitative and quantitative goals for the next time around.

These simple steps can make the difference between failure and success in your marketing efforts.


Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire, a full service marketing firm serving the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) community. We help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. Let us help you with your marketing plan, contact by email bill@wmmcguire.com or (973) 216-4152.

 

 

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