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Shelton: Target markets – clarity is essential

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Marketing experts base much of their communications and service design on well-defined target markets. The same principles apply to advice businesses. To test where you stand answer the following:

  • Could everyone in the business describe your main target markets?
  • Do the advisers target the same groups of clients?
  • Do you lose out collectively because you do not share the same target clients: or are you genuinely so different in what you offer that you have to accept this?
  • When was the last time you reviewed exactly what your target clients require?
  • Do you make a loss on some client types?
  • Do you have a minimum client value that everyone sticks to?
  • How close is your desired target market to your existing client profile?
  • How good is your understanding of your existing client base?
  • Is your target market viable and expanding?
  • Will your target market be the same in five years’ time?

No business will have 100 per cent right answers and in some cases it is justifiable for advisers to target differently. However, the greater the consistency the easier it will be to find new clients and retain the ones you wish to keep. If this list raises concerns use it with your key advisers to review your approach to target clients.

David Shelton is the author of The Business of Advice book and website www.businessofadvice.co.uk

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