Martin’s opening remarks at the Financial Planner Marketing Summit 2019
We hosted our first one-day conference last week!
The Financial Planner Marketing Summit was a day of the latest ideas and insights from ten leading experts, who captivated the audience and left them buzzing with actions to implement
I opened the Summit by talking about the importance of the work done by Financial Planners and how we can bridge the trust gap.
Here’s a transcript of my opening remarks.
Good morning and a very warm welcome to The Electric Theatre in Guildford for the first ever Financial Planner Marketing Summit.
My name is Martin Bamford, and it’s my privilege and pleasure on behalf of the team at Bamford Media to welcome you here today.
We are delighted to have you with us to participate and share in our first Financial Planner Marketing Summit. Thank you for coming. That many of you have traveled long distances to be here serves as a reminder to us all just how important our work is. And that’s the theme of my introduction this morning – the importance of our work.
As Financial Planners, you have very important work to do. I often argue this with my wife, Becky. She’s a primary school teacher, a lifelong socialist, and a card carrying member of the Green Party. It’s fair to say we’re at slightly different ends of the political spectrum – although they do say, opposites attract!
According to Becky, Financial Planners aren’t as important to society as doctors saving lives, teachers moulding young minds, or police officers keeping us safe from crime.
But I argue that Financial Planners are important in a different, no less important way.
You help people realise their true potential. You remove worry and stress. You get people safely through some of the biggest moments and most traumatic events in their lives.
But despite this important work, people don’t trust you. I’m sorry to say it, but they don’t.
Your clients trust you. And that’s because they know you and they like you. They’ve personally experienced the life changing magic of what you do for them and others like them.
But people in general, the majority of people in the UK who don’t currently work with an excellent Financial Planner, they don’t trust you and they don’t trust the Financial Planning profession as a whole.
In fact, the typical non-advised person rates Financial Planners about as trustworthy as estate agents, bankers, and politicians. Maybe a little more trustworthy than the Tory leadership hopefuls, but still pretty low!
And who can blame them?! They are constantly bombarded with negative headlines.
PPI mis selling? Your fault.
Members of the British Steel Pension scheme getting ripped off? Your fault.
Neil Woodford trying to be a clever bastard and investing his portfolio in unlisted stocks you can only trade in the four working days before a total solar eclipse? Well that one we can mostly blame on a Bristolian fund supermarket and the others who promoted him. But no, still your fault!
Because when the typical consumer reads about financial services, this is what they read about. If it bleeds, it leads. We can’t rely on the press to positively promote the important work we do. We have to do this ourselves.
Last year, the FCA interviewed 13,000 people as part of a flagship study called Financial Lives. It’s well worth getting hold of a copy of the report off their website.
They found that just 39% of people say they trust financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients. Only 31% said they feel financial firms are honest and transparent.
Looking at the use of financial advice, just 8% of adults in this part of the country said they accessed regulated advice in the past year. The national average was just 6%.
So we know we’ve got a couple of really big issues to address. We’ve got a trust gap; those we work with trust us, and those we don’t work with (i.e. most people) don’t trust us.
We’ve also got an advice gap. There simply aren’t enough Financial Planners to go around, and those of us there are can’t typically work with clients who aren’t at least moderately wealthy.
I’m not proposing we solve the advice gap today. We are however going to deal with the trust gap. The speakers you hear from today will equip you with the tools and skills you need to get out there and promote your value in such a powerful way, any hint of distrust will evaporate immediately.
We’re talking about marketing today. Marketing is, I believe, so very similar to our goal as Financial Planners.
Seth Godin defines marketing as follows: “Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become.” Sound familiar?
In his book This is Marketing, Godin goes on to say:
“Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.”
Attention, trust, and action.
The speakers I’ve invited to be here today will help you gain attention, win trust, and prompt your ideal clients to take action that will result in their lives getting better.
To succeed in marketing as a Financial Planner, you need to demonstrate a number of traits. I want you to look out for examples of these throughout the day.
You need to be prolific, you need to be authentic, and you need to be creative.
You need to be prolific in your output.
It’s an increasingly noisy world out there. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year. And only half of those are from Alam.
You need to be prolific with your marketing. The more you do, the greater chance you will stand of hitting the mark.
To generate a handful of masterworks, Mozart composed more than 600 pieces before his death at age 35. Beethoven produced 650 in his lifetime, and Bach wrote over a thousand.
You need to be authentic. This means you need to stop living up to what others expect from a Financial Planner. Instead, be yourself.
One of my all-time favourite studies was carried out by Silvia Bellezza, a Marketing Professor at Columbia Business School. She found that students rated male professors at top universities as having 14% more status and competence when they donned a t-shirt and grew a beard, than when they wore a tie and were clean shaven.
If we’re going to close the trust gap in financial planning, we all need to stop shaving.
You need to be creative. This means you need to look outside of the profession for inspiration, especially when it comes to creativity.
One study found that people who started businesses and contributed to patent applications were more likely than their peers to have leisure time hobbies that involved drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, and literature.
Steve Jobs once said: “If you’re gonna make connections which are innovative, you have to not have the same bag of experience as everyone else does.”
So indulge your hobbies. If those hobbies are creative, even better. They will help you unlock your mind to find new solutions to old problems.
Be prolific, be authentic, look outside for inspiration. Do these three things and I promise not only will your marketing results improve, but you will make better connections with your clients too.