Over the last five years, there has been a surge in the number of financial advice firms launching services for high net worth clients.
While there is a clear rationale for targeting this attractive client segment, time and time again I see the same mistakes when it comes to marketing these new propositions. Advice firms simply use the same strategy they have adopted for other client segments, and therefore run the risk of alienating their new target audience.
So without further ado, here are some tips to help you to market your high net worth offering more effectively:
1. Do your research and understand your target audience
Every new business strategy should be founded on solid research and a genuine understanding of the needs of your target audience. If you are serious about launching a service for high net worth individuals, the best place to start is with your existing client bank.
Begin by identifying clients who would be the best candidates for the services you are considering. Research their specific needs or challenges and gauge their thoughts on your proposed offering. In my experience, the best way to do this is by setting up a Client Advisory Board.
This could comprise of a group of your best clients who act as panellists, providing input to your business strategy and the evolution of your service offering. Run the private client concept past them and seek their feedback. Ask what they value about the service you currently provide and whether they would use your firm for the additional services you are considering.
If they already use other companies, are they happy with the service they are receiving? Take on board their feedback and use it to build and refine your proposition to create something that is client-focused. Their feedback will be invaluable and could save you from the costly mistakes that come from simply mimicking or guessing what your target audience want.
Another potential benefit is that engaged panellists will want to have a hand in your success, and will often facilitate introductions to people within their network. This is a much better outcome than the ‘build it and see’ approach.
Outside of your existing clients, spend time researching and understanding what high net worth individuals want more generally. Then consider how you can offer something better or carve out a niche.
2. Avoid mimicry
Another common mistake I see is financial advice firms adopting what I call a ‘mimicry’ strategy. They gather a bundle of literature provided by two or three private banks and then employ a creative agency to ‘create something similar’ for a new brand and website. The private client offering is launched and the adviser sits back waiting for an influx of high net worth enquiries.
This idea of ‘build it and they will come’ is fraught with challenges. How does the adviser know that the services they are offering are right for the types of client they are targeting? Imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery – particularly if the private banks they seek to emulate are missing the mark with clients.
3. Can you articulate your value proposition?
This lies at the heart of the success of any high net worth proposition: namely, what is your value proposition and is it easy to articulate? Ideally it should be distinctive, relevant and consistent. Does it resonate with your target audience?
4. Utilise your data streams
Today, businesses have an unprecedented amount of data at their fingertips. Making the most of this and filtering it to meet your business’s needs is crucial. This is why it makes sense to invest in a proper CRM system that is able to integrate and analyse multiple data streams. A good CRM system will help you to attract new clients and manage existing client relationships more effectively.
5. Think about your client’s network
If you are creating and marketing a new service, map out the potential network of your target clients. This will give you an idea of the scope of prospective clients for a new service and help you to develop a marketing strategy. Carrying out thorough research on your target market will assist you with this process, as well as having access to good quality data.
6. Don’t overlook the next generation
Close to £5.5 trillion is expected to be transferred between generations in the UK over the next 30 years, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). This figure can’t be ignored, so make sure your marketing strategy recognises the next generation of clients and pays careful thought to how they can be targeted. This will mean taking a different approach in the way you communicate with these younger clients – and could mean reassessing whether your new services are relevant/attractive to the next generation.
7. Develop a cohesive marketing strategy
Once you have completed the previous six steps, it’s time to develop a marketing strategy to attract and engage prospective high net worth clients. Wherever possible, test elements of the strategy with your Client Advisory Board before launch. This will help you to hit the mark and avoid wasting money on expensive collateral that could fail to engage.
Also, don’t forget to take a proactive approach that is tailored to the specific requirements and objectives of high net worth clients. Once your client base is established, make sure you tailor all communications so the client feels valued and understood.
Finally, your marketing strategy should clearly and concisely articulate your value proposition and why it differs from competitors.