Online Marketing Strategy Memo1210

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Financial services firm, Legacy Investment Advisors LLC embarks on a campaign to debut its services in a unique online platform.

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Online Marketing Strategy Memo1210

  1. 1. Victoria Johnson Consulting Strategy Memo for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLC A Private Wealth Management CompanyGuide to Online Marketing Strategy: Beyond the Website
  2. 2. Victoria Johnson Consulting Copyright © 2007 Victoria Johnson Consulting
  3. 3. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLCExecutive SummaryMarketing to an emerging customer avails Legacy Investment Advisors LLC an excitingchallenge to penetrate the wealth management sector of the financial services industry.The firm that identifies its prospective customer base discovers the needs of that base, andthen points out how the attributes of the firm satisfies the unique needs of that customerwill triumph the challenge. This strategy recommends to Legacy Investment Advisors, LLC aroad map to defining market position and the uses of emerging technologies that will leadto a triumphant online presence.LEGACY is poised to meet prospective and current customers’ needs through easy accessto information, human interactions, on- and offline, and setting in motion a plan forcustomer advocacy. Using emerging technologies that rival any of the large industryfirms’ online techniques presents a smaller player with an opportunity to be at acompetitive advantage. The advantage lies in offerings such as scenario basedcalculators to assist the concerns of the prospect; promoting the latest in new feeds frommajor content providers, providing snippets of LEGACY online content through RSS feeds(in-house generated news headlines); facile navigation leads to results for the busy targetdemographic.A cornerstone of marketing strategy, market positioning takes the view that a strongmessage promotes a strong position. Preserving brand equity while streamlining aconsistent message throughout the organization gives LEGACY the edge it needs. Theresearch done inside of this project by interviewing the analysts and executives uncoveredsome surprising results. The poll points out the need for consistent, and constant,messaging and a need for new follow-up methodologies to win prospective customers.We examine profiles of typical web-savvy visitors, whose experience will transcend anyreticence among new web users by promoting a program of product evangelism andword-of-mouth publicity, and the safe and simple use of viral marketing. The term viralmarketing has had controversial exposure in the press; however it is merely the practice ofthose who enjoy their online experience to pass it on, as an electronic word-of-mouthresponse to strong market positioning. With an online search presence, optimized forimmediate identification for LEGACY, the “viral” aspect makes its way into the onlineexperience and helps to capture online traffic.The strategy recommends that LEGACY adopt practices that will raise its marketawareness. Strong messages let the customer know that LEGACY is different and offers afar better experience to the pre-retirement customer through • Offering the use of compelling tools and research • Conveying the LEGACY market positioning at every touch-point, then • Letting the market positioning permeate the LEGACY organization and external observers of LEGACY’s performance. Page 3 of 41
  4. 4. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLC TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction 4Meeting Customers Needs 5 Access to Information 5 Customer Advocacy 6 Human Interaction Online and Offline 6Emerging with Technology 7Market Positioning 8Online Marketing Strategy 10 Summary of Polling 10 Market Positioning Recommendations 13 Brand Equity 13 Market Positioning Checklist 17 Categories Served 21 Product Differentiation 21 Testing the Positioning Checklist 25 Take Your Positioning To The Marketplace 27 Portal Tools Compel and Save Time 27 Internal Assets 28Conclusions 28References 30Exhibits 31 Exhibit A -1 Opt-In Form, Page Organization and Layout 31 Exhibit A -2 Opt-In Form, Page Organization and Layout, Brief 32 Exhibit A -3 Opt-In Form, Page Organization and Layout, Detailed 33 Exhibit B -1 Home Page, Page Organization and Layout 34 Exhibit B -2 Informational Content, Page Organization and Layout 36 Exhibit B -3 Contact Us, Page Organization and Layout 38 Page 4 of 41
  5. 5. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLCIntroductionIncreasing competition in a growing market for asset management of retirement dollarsraises the ante for all firms in the industry. To capitalize on the opportunity, all of theindustry will come to recognize the need to make aggressive investments in systems andpeople over the next few years. Given these facts, Legacy Investment Advisors, LLC hasfocused it efforts to address this growing market sector: wealth management. Themanagement at LEGACY has made a decision to invest in online marketing schema andtechnology that will reach large numbers of potential investors.By making the choice to market its financial advisory services to customers nearingretirement age, LEGACY is making a bold move to capture a larger share of it targetmarket. Its main target is the pool of African American investors who have investment-ready dollars and have yet to make a decision on how to manage those assets.This strategy makes the acknowledgement of and is founded on these assumptions: 1. LEGACY is part of a mature market 2. By its association with its parent company, Sturdivant & Co, Inc., the barriers to entry for LEGACY have been surpassed 3. It is time to make a mark in the industry, specializing in marketing financial advisory services to a growing segment of investors, the African American man or woman nearing retirement.The competition is heating up. Large institutions, such as Fidelity Investments for example,continue to improve their retirement planning options for investors. Many of the full-servicebrokerages like Merrill Lynch are spending hundreds of millions of dollars each on brokerworkstation upgrades that will enable advisors to deliver better financial planning tocustomers.Along with improvements to infrastructure, the major players in pursuit of new investors arefocusing on meeting their target market - investors between the ages of 50 and 60 yearswho are in the segment better known as “baby boomers”- where it stands. The “boomer”segment has grown up with technology innovation and in large part has embraced it inone form or another. The Internet has opened the gateway to information for theaverage person, whether or not an individual has personal technology at his home oroffice. Some of the information gathering exercises that used to be the monopoly ofinvestment advisors are available to any person with the desire to search online bypublicly-available means.In a 2006 study, researchers say that baby boomers are anxious about retirementfinances and feel unprepared. The implication that the researchers conclude: Page 5 of 41
  6. 6. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLC Firms arent meeting the retirement planning needs of all baby boomers.Unlike todays retirees, baby boomers shop around, prefer to serve themselves online, andare wary of large institutions. They also want guidance from advisors. The study suggeststhat to win boomers retirement assets, firms must • offer easier access to human experts • offer better online experiences, and • offer simpler products.As 12 million mass-affluent baby boomers hit retirement age during the next 15 years, thedemand for professional financial advice will grow quickly and steadily.1 WithinLEGACY’s target market, African-American boomers with investment ready dollars sharemany of the characteristics and will respond in the same manner to marketing approachesused to reach the mass-affluent.No firm has a lock on the boomer retirement market today. Forrester Research, forexample, believes that firms with high customer advocacy scores, such as Vanguard, are inthe best position to win.Online marketing strategy is a portion of an entire strategy. The recommendations andmethods presented here will outline the basic parameters of marketing positioning, thebedrock of marketing strategy. The parameters are related to the Legacy InvestmentAdvisors, LLC perceived market position, making a point to clarify and elevate thatposition. An entire market strategy for a financial services firm is beyond the scope of thisproject; moreover, this strategy addresses a definite way for LEGACY to use its onlinepresence to augment its current marketing of financial products and services.Technologies developed for the LEGACY portal present the best and most efficientmethods, designed for immediate impact on the visitor. Recommendations in this documentintend to point-up the most prevalent uses of technology as opportunities in the emergingtechnologies employed today.Meeting Customers NeedsAccess to InformationRather than trying to recapture a monopoly on information availability, the smart firmstake the opportunity to provide analysis and advisory to information-seeking consumers1 Forrester Research, 2005. Forrester defines mass-affluent households as those with between $100K and $1M in invest ableassets. Page 6 of 41
  7. 7. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLCby providing a venue that fills the need for information and couples it with a humanknowledge base. LEGACY has at its disposal a strong history in investment research thatwill keep it in the forefront of competitive firms of its same size and category. Byproviding that storehouse of knowledge to the consumer in a comprehensible manner, viaa web-portal venue, LEGACY will realize greater return for its efforts, while giving itscustomer exactly the kind of access to information that it seeks.Customer AdvocacyFirms who are seeking customer advocacy by offering products that are best for theconsumer, not just the firm’s bottom line2, concentrate on giving the consumer the bestexpertise in an environment that meets that consumer’s needs. Firms that lead in customeradvocacy are also seen as the most advanced in technology use, such as implementing acustomer-friendly internet site, offering collaborative tools that connect clients withadvisors.In numerous studies, consumers have expressed the desire to have access to informationthen to have access to human interaction that advises and facilitates their investmentobjectives. Calculators and opt-in requests for information jump-start the process. At thepoint when an opt-in request arrives, the database server will email a sales person for thefirst [human] touch opportunity.Human Interaction Online and OfflineConsideration to peer-to-peer technologies should not be taken lightly. Word of mouthmessages are carried by technologies that include user review sites, discussion forums, andblogs. All these technologies contribute to a new era called Social Computing3 thatempowers individuals at the expense of institutions like retail financial services firms. Asconsumers use the Internet to share information, financial brands risk being undermined asmarketers lose control of the message.Smart firms will use the same emerging technologies to communicate with customers,gather customer insights, and develop stronger customer relationships. The size of staff atLEGACY is small, however the potential of having an analyst blogger dedicated tosharing insights in a conversational manner will boost the overall relationship withinquisitive prospects who want to know there is always someone they can trust to answerthe simplest of inquires.Follow-up discussions with the opt-in prospect must become a routine course of action.Online businesses regularly follow any interest with at least two phone calls to theprospect, unless that prospect opts- out along the way.2 Forrester Whole View Research, J. Phinshill, 20033 Forrester Research, Social Computing’s Impact on Financial Services; 2006 Page 7 of 41
  8. 8. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLCThe sales process, when examined for how much contact a prospect needs to become acustomer is made up of touch points. Touch-points are specific instances of customercontact. The touch-point process works in a simple scheme. 1. The first touch-point has been an in-person, one-on-one meeting or group meeting or sponsored seminar. Now we must include the un-exposed, first time visitor to the LEGACY web-portal. 2. An in-person follow-on meeting or telephone call with a human advisor. Alternatively this may be an opt-in request for contact from a first-time or anonymous portal visitor, regardless of whether there has been any human contact beforehand.Each contact or touch includes the message that new and informative content is awaitingthe customer at LEGACY’s online venue. Each contact is also an opportunity to gaugecustomer qualification and available investment assets.Opt-ins are the objective for quid pro quo – information provided by LEGACY, for contactinformation provided by the requester. At a minimum, the requester’s name, phonenumber and/or email address is required to obtain the content. The form is an opt-inrequest from LEGACY. If a requester opts-in, a lead is generated from this usersinformation and emailed to a LEGACY sales account person for follow-up. The opt-inoption also gives LEGACY the explicit permission to email newsletters and other content tothe requester.The opt-in form on the portal design gives the sales team a view to the type and level ofinterest. If the prospect submits a question with the opt-in as a follow-up about anexperience with LEGACY’s scenario-base calculators, the sales team has a ready-madetopic of discussion. See Exhibits A-1, A-2, & A-3.Emerging with TechnologyThe marketing strategy for LEGACY includes a well designed portal, planned to win newweb-interested customers. Critics of website composition say that a great user experienceis critical -- but rare. For this reason only features that can be tied to a business goal area part of this strategy.Customers would never come to the LEGACY site with the objective of being exposed toyour brand messages or to be cross-sold new products. Marketing messages crafted torender a positive brand image, showcase the points that differentiate LEGACY from itscompetitors and its commitment to customer advocacy, indicating a softer “sell”.The site is structured to appeal to older, busy people who want direct responses toinquiries, clear navigation and distraction from unrelated advertising. The portal HomePage welcomes the user to LEGACY Wealth Management, and then provides multiple Page 8 of 41
  9. 9. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLCpaths that guide user through required tasks, necessary to complete their goals. SeeExhibit B-1.Ease of navigation is the key objective. The site is mapped to bring the user to adestination where a goal may be accomplished. Clear, concise graphics are “hot”; thegraphic actually links to more detailed pages. See Exhibit B. • Home page links and menus guide the user to the product pages, topics listed functionally. See Exhibit B-1. o Calculators for Retirement Planning, Stocks, IRAs o Market news, piped in from a financial news content provider o Video content featuring a LEGACY executive speaking on selected subjects. o Research materials or downloadable documents intended for further study are preceded by a “quid pro quo” form. • Informational pages devoted to Private Wealth issues. See Exhibit B-2 o Financial planning for the pre-retiree o 401(K) alternatives o Research on featured topics and current legislation o Expanded topics presented at LEGACY seminars • The Contact Us page also collects valuable information and gives the user ample space to submit a question, in exchange for an email address used to send an answer. In the answer email, the visitor will be invited to opt-in for more informational services. See Exhibit B-3.Market PositioningThere are many models in marketing strategy. Market positioning is the root of marketingstrategy—and is critical to the success of any business.Market Position is: • The process of designing, communicating and delivering your company’s offerings so that they create a meaningful and distinct image in the mind of the target customer. Page 9 of 41
  10. 10. Victoria Johnson Consulting Online Marketing Strategy for Legacy Investment Advisors, LLC More text available by contacting marketing@vjconsultingonline.com Page 10 of 41

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