Marketing Challenges

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

Peter Drucker

Is This Your Challenge?

Businesses frequently talk about target markets (defined as a volume of potential buyers sharing a set of characteristics). In fact, defining a target market is a necessary topic in any business plan and sets the course for a firm’s marketing efforts. However, too often businesses aim at a target ill-defined for the business’ purpose and resources.

We see this from studies (above) consistently showing that advisors and T&E attorneys worry about getting new clients and 39% of firms with over $100 million in AUM face challenges in setting marketing strategy (i.e. firms with resources and specialized marketing personnel).

A business’ products and services are defined by a set of features (i.e. a feature is something that describes what the product is). However, people buy a product or service for what it does and this invariably means a benefit is provided. (Benefits can be value, convenience, comfort, prestige, style, peace of mind, excitement, achievement, progress, and so forth.)

Since people buy based on expected benefits, the target itself is defined by the benefits the market receives from the features: “Now I understand what to do.” “I’m more confident about the future.” “I see how I’ll provide for my loved ones.” “This will eliminate family squabbles.”  “We can keep more of our wealth.”

Here, only after a product’s or service’s benefits are known and articulated can the community of buyers be defined; the latter is dependent on the former. In financial and wealth management services, features are often technical and, consequently, misunderstood or devalued. Benefit-focused targets link to people’s needs and what is meaningful to them; this matching allows for clearly focused aim and profitable points earned each time the target is hit.

Most financial and wealth management firms incorrectly define a target market according to a product’s or service’s features—“People wanting charitable planning.” “Affluent people needing investment services.” “People seeking help with tax filings.”