7 Marketing Faux Pas, And How To Avoid Them

I was reading an interesting article in Forbes the other day and thought you might enjoy the concepts imparted.

Every business has to market their products and services and the way you market your business can mean the difference between failure and success. If done right, you can increase revenue, attract new customers, and retain your current customers. If done wrong, you’ll be left screaming, “Ugh, I’ve made a huge mistake!” and trying to pick up all the pieces.

The article in Forbes outlined what marketing mistakes you need to avoid at all costs and I thought you might be interested to read their comments. If you want to avoid some of the biggest marketing blunders of all time, you have to know what they are and how to steer clear of them. Here are seven marketing faux pas you need to watch out for in your business. 

I reproduce them all seven over a 7 week period, so keep coming back to see the next one.

1. Spending Too Little Time On Marketing

How much time are you spending on your marketing efforts per week? Some of you might say a couple of hours. Others might say diddly-squat. Spending too little time on marketing can spell doom for your small business.

If you want to avoid this faux pas, start devoting more time to your marketing efforts. Just like with anything else in life, you have to work hard at marketing if you want to see results.

Set aside more time to build, implement, and analyse your marketing campaigns. Use that entrepreneur determination I know you have in you to boost your marketing efforts and spend more time marketing your business. 

Beyond Blue Monday

Did you know that today is Blue Monday. It’s officially said to be the gloomiest day of the year because the festivities have ended, it’s cold outside and it feels like an eternity until pay day. All these things can have an adverse effect on peoples’ mental health.

And whether you see it as a genuine positive or just a marketing gimmick, surely any chance to boost your morale is a good thing, right?

But as good as Blue Monday is at raising awareness of mental health, it’s not something that can be tackled in one day. People need ongoing support throughout the year and that’s why Income Protection is important particularly if they have access to Legal & General’s Nurse Support Services, provided by RedArc Assured Limited.

Legal & General Nurse Support Services provides clients with access to experienced, registered nurses that can offer long-term support and guidance for mental health conditions. Using their expertise, they are able to identify the most appropriate course of action, and can quickly arrange face-to-face counselling or therapy sessions.

It’s support that’s on hand all year round, not just one day. After all, any day can be a ‘Blue Monday’ for someone who has mental health problems, that’s why it’s important to give them the right support at the right time.

If this is something that concerns you, why not give us a call on 141-956 5525 and we can help you decide if it is appropriate for you.

Govt warns on fraudulent CMCs targeting investors

It has come to the notice of the Government and the Press that fraudsters are contacting investors in defunct schemes claiming to be able to recover their lost funds for a fee, the government has warned.

The Insolvency Service published an alert yesterday (13th January 2020) warning that it was aware fraudulent Claims Management Companies (CMCs) were targeting consumers who had invested in insolvent schemes claiming to be from the Official Receiver’s office.

The scammers tell investors they have been appointed by the Insolvency Service to help recover funds for a fee, but the government warned such approaches were “always fraudulent”.

Official Receivers — an officer of the Insolvency Service tasked with collecting and protecting the assets of an insolvent firm — would never require a fee to get a client’s investment back, the government said.

It added: “The Official Receiver can only make a return to you as a creditor in failed schemes if it is possible to identify and sell any remaining assets owned by the liquidated company you bought your investment from.

“All too often businesses of this nature have few if any, assets left to repay creditors and it can take several years to undertake complex asset recovery work and complete a liquidation.”

The government also warned paying a fee would not make an investor a “priority creditor”, meaning the consumer would get paid faster or increase their chance of recovering funds.

The Financial Conduct Authority publishes a list of known fraudulent CMCs on its website, but the government said firms not on the list could also be fraudulent.

Alan Moran: Here’s what I’ve learned after 30 years in advice

Advice milestone

I noticed the accompanying article in the financial press recently and was struck by the similarities with our own business.  Maybe the writer’s age and length of marriage differ slightly but…

Alan writes. Welcome to the 2020s! As we start the new decade, I reach a personal landmark because I can now reflect back over 30 years of helping clients as their financial adviser.

How different things were in January 1990 when I took on my first clients when I was an agent for General Portfolio; the stories I could tell…Their products gave dreadful value but, to their credit, they gave me the grounding in financial planning that has remained the core of what I do. The 1986 Financial Services Act had only been in operation for a little over 18 months and Financial Planning Services had tied up with General Portfolio.

It was the financial planning that I immediately took to heart and, at a time when fact finds for many were literally on the back of a fag packet, mine were held up as an example of how to complete a comprehensive fact find. On the other hand, my managers were often reprimanding me for not selling high commission products, but putting clients first has always worked and I am proud the clients from January 1990 are still my clients today.

Career shift

I am often asked why I started as a financial adviser and there are many reasons why we reach a turning point in our lives. I had been a teacher for 16 years and I saw the opportunity to ‘teach’ people how to manage their finances. From the start, I was attracted to the idea of making a difference in clients’ lives by applying my financial and consultancy skills.

I completed my CII Financial Planning Exams in 1991 and became an independent financial adviser in February 1992. I understood that the more knowledge that I gained the more that I could help clients, so I completed my advanced financial planning exams soon afterwards, gained my CFP certification in 1995 and was awarded my Fellowship of the Institute of Financial Planning.

I became fee-based in 1996, a foresight that meant that in January 2013 the only effect of the Retail Distribution Review was to increase my fees.

Regulation over the decades

Over the years I have seen a succession of regulators starting with LAUTRO, then FIMBRA, the PIA, the FSA, and the FCA. Each change of regulator was an attempt to improve value for clients, but have they got it right? Absolutely not!

Do not get me wrong, I would never want to go back to the ‘anything goes’ days of the 1990s, but successive mountains of administration have made it more difficult and more expensive to provide good, honest advice to ordinary people.

To be fair to the regulators it is much easier to objectify everything and turn things into a tick-box exercise than it is to measure values such as honesty, compassion, empathy, and contribution. Values are intangible and difficult to objectify but if the FCA could find a way to assess the values of the adviser a lot of the box-ticking could disappear.

For myself, there is absolutely no way in which I would ever do anything that was contrary to a client’s best interest and I have often done things for no charge as long as it was right for the client.

Have I always done everything perfectly? Of course not, and I will never apologise for being human. However, did I always set out to make my clients lives better? Absolutely. And have I succeeded? I am a perfectionist, so I will have to accept that 99% of the time is probably good enough.

On reflection, I find it amusing that the regulators have had their work cut out keeping up with me: I was qualified before advisers needed to be, I was fee-based years before the FCA demanded it, discussing vulnerable clients, disability, or diversification.

Golden wedding

My wife probably, justifiably, won’t forgive me if I forget to mention another landmark this month: we were married on the first of January 1970, so we have just celebrated fifty years of marriage. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing children, and a grandson who makes me feel great every time I see him.

Top the golden wedding with a golden career where I have helped clients and made a difference almost every day and I could not ask for anything better.

To the younger advisers out there: if you wear your heart on your sleeve and put your clients’ interests first you will have a wonderfully satisfying career where you will make a difference to people’s lives. Then, when you are 71 like me, you can look back with great pride and say that you made a difference (as long as you tick enough boxes to satisfy the FCA or whatever regulator replaces them of course…)

I wish you all the best for the next decade.

Alan Moran is an IFA of some 30 years standing.

Tom Dunbar: Putting a number on the value of advice

Royal London, in conjunction with the International Longevity Centre recently put a number on how much financial advice is worth to those who receive it. Here, Tom Dunbar elaborates on the findings of that research…

There are many myths and misconceptions around financial advice: some say it is only for high net worth people while others believe the fees are too high. In recent years we have worked with the International Longevity Centre – UK to expose these myths and quantify the value of financial advice.

In What it’s worth – Revisiting the Value of Financial Advice data was analysed from the ONS’sWealth and Assets survey, which has tracked the wealth of thousands of people over two yearly “waves” since 2004-06 – we are currently on Wave 5.Through this we’ve been able to look at the financial outcomes of those who received advice and those who did not. Outcomes considered included the amount of accumulated pension wealth as well as net financial wealth – this includes current accounts, ISAs, life insurance products, shares etc. The probability of owning equity assets was also considered.

The results were startling with those who took financial advice being on average £47,706 better off than those who didn’t. This is split between a £30,991 boost in pension wealth and an increase of £16,715 in other financial assets.

Affluent vs just getting by

One of the most important findings of the research was the proportionate impact financial advice can have on people with more modest means. The sample was split into two groups – the ‘affluent’ and the ‘just getting by’ – with the ‘just getting by’ group benefiting from a 35% uplift in their financial wealth (shares, ISAs etc.) compared to 24% for the ‘affluent’ group.

When it comes to pension wealth the ‘just getting by’ group benefited from a 24% uplift in comparison to 11% for the ‘affluent’ group.

A key reason why we see these improved outcomes is that those people taking advice are more likely to invest in assets with the potential to deliver to deliver more return – albeit with more risk. Across the entire sample the impact of taking advice is to add around eight percentage points to the probability of investing in equities.

Ongoing advice

The research also highlights the impact of taking advice on an ongoing basis. According to the analysis those who reported taking advice at both Wave 1 and Wave 5 demonstrated almost 50% higher pension wealth than those who only reported receiving advice in one of the waves.

Far from being something only to be enjoyed by high net worth people, this research powerfully demonstrates the enormous impact taking financial advice can have on people from across the income spectrum.

While this research is able to quantify the value of financial advice with regards to the amount accumulated in pensions and other vehicles it is also worth highlighting the other benefits that are perhaps harder to quantify but still have an enormous impact on someone’s long term financial wellbeing. Tax and cashflow planning, for instance, are areas where advisers can deliver real value to their clients on an ongoing basis.

Tom Dunbar is distribution director at Royal London Intermediary

General Election Comment

Over the past few weeks, one of the Investment Houses we use, have written that currency markets appear to be anticipating a softer, or perhaps more pragmatic route for Brexit after the General Election. It looks like Mister Market got it right once again.

They go on to say that the result of last night is decisive and produces a government which is capable of making and implementing decisions. This will significantly reduce the levels of uncertainty that UK businesses have faced and those who trade with them abroad, which had subdued activity levels over the past three years and led to a slowing in business investment.

That’s good news for investors, both inside and outside the UK.

UK stocks, across the board, have already risen this morning by 2% in early trade, partly aided by President Trump indicating that a US-China phase-1 trade deal would be signed imminently.

£-Sterling has rallied by about 2% against both the US-$ and the €-Euro. This is also good news, for overseas purchases, in that the buying power of £1 has increased. Holidays, and imports will cost less in Sterling terms. On the other hand, it does mean that the rise of foreign stock markets overnight looks less impressive when translated back to sterling. Still, even in £-Sterling terms they are up. Our return from a UK underweight position in our investment portfolios last year to being invested to target level ensures a positive performance contribution from the election outcome bounce in the UK’s stock market.

The outlook for portfolios also looks more positive this morning. The UK domestic picture now has less risk for investors and business leaders which should help stabilise business revenues and their appetite to resurrect mothballed capital investment projects. That is also helped by the improving global outlook, which took a big leap forward last night with the US and China finally agreeing a trade deal ‘in principle’. This news will have has mostly been buried in the UK by the election news flow but will be extremely important to the large number of UK businesses exporting goods and services. Incidentally, it also explains the bounce in Asian stock markets overnight than the UK’s election outcome.

The Investment House comments above confirm what we, ourselves have always said, that Markets don’t like uncertainty. Whether you agree or disagree with the Election outcome, the Markets know that decisions will be made and can price the outcome accordingly