I was not surprised to hear IFAs criticise the marketing methods adopted by financial services companies in H2B's latest research.
Too many companies in int-ermediated industries persist in the belief that brand adver-tising is the be all and end all of expanding the customer base. Although brand building through mass advertising is an essential component of the marketing mix, establishing and nurturing relationships directly with consumers and with the IFA community is arguably even more key to driving up profitability in the long term.
We regularly commission research among senior mark-eters representing key industry sectors and find time and time again that intermediated indus-tries lag behind other sectors in the sophistication of their marketing efforts.
Insurers were found to trail, for example, in their ability to successfully re-activate or re-recruit lapsed customers while both pensions and insurance firms were laggard in their use of customer surveys to get to grips with customers' habits, tastes and preferences.
Pioneering companies are using this customer lifestyle data to put IFAs in the best position to sell and bundle their products in the most appealing fashion. Insights into the various customer segments are also an invaluable resource in selecting intermediaries who are the best match with the customer base.
Despite the laudable efforts of the pioneering few, interm-ediaries are not getting the support they need across the board and this will impact upon the bottom line if the situation is not remedied.
Client services director,