View more on these topics

Phil Wickenden: It’s the difficult work that is worth doing

A marketing-driven organisation is run by the marketing department. It revolves around what marketers do. A market-driven organisation is driven by what the market wants, regardless of what the marketing department feels like doing. Now, of course, there are organisations driven by sales, shareholder relations, operations and finance too, and you can usually tell which is which fairly quickly.

But for each, the option remains to be market-driven. In fact, you may need to be sooner rather than later. With margins squeezed like never before, every resource either counts or counts against you and what your business is trying to achieve.

It sounds obvious, but there are very few genuinely market-oriented firms in the industry. It is actually quite hard to do. Having a market orientation means the focus is always on the customer, competition, co-operation between business functions and responses to changes in the environment. As well as a whole host of other stuff.

To use an example from our recent research, it is clear the needs of the advice industry are not wholly being met by the level of support on offer.

Consistent throughout our research was the importance of problem resolution, underpinned with better technical expertise. Yet this remains one of the most inconsistently delivered facets of support. While no one is saying service is not important, there is a common lack of appreciation of why. Anything that is not bolted firmly to a big fat “why” is usually unsustainable.

Given advice firms are more reliant on delivering a higher level of service to a smaller group of wealthier clients, advisers can ill-afford costly delays or errors at a time when there is greater scrutiny over value.

The premium on the peace of mind that comes from knowing any issues that arise can be understood, interpreted and addressed, with minimal disruption to business, is significant. Knowing what each interaction means for the adviser and their client is not straightforward and requires genuine engagement.

But in today’s world, it is the difficult work that is worth doing. It is worth doing because difficult work allows you to stand out, create value and become someone really worth doing business with.

Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research



Paul Armson: Why you should never charge for managing money

Why create a service proposition that depends on what you can’t control – the performance of money? There has been a recurring theme in my conversations with advisers over the past few months. When I ask the simple question, “what’s your most worrying challenge right now?” I am getting the same answer: that fee discussions […]

Quilter Investors launches multi-asset income range with Janus manager hire

Quilter Investors has hired Janus Henderson fund manager Helen Bradshaw to spearhead the launch of a new multi-asset income range. The range will be launched later this year by Quilter Investors – the asset management arm of Quilter, formally known as Old Mutual Wealth – with an initial two risk-targeted multi-asset portfolios expected in the summer. […]


State pension court showdown set for summer

A judicial review about changes to the state pension age for millions of women born in the 1950s will take place from 5 to 6 June. The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that last November’s decision by the High Court to grant permission for a judicial review will go ahead in the summer. […]


Claims firms should expect a bottleneck ahead of PPI deadline

Firms processing payment protection insurance complaints need robust capacity to handle a potential late onslaught of clients, according to consultancy Huntswood. Managing director Steve Kitchen says this will also include added pressure from the FCA and Financial Services Ombudsman. He says: “They will be keeping a very close eye on how firms deal with their […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm