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What advisers are saying: Why are you doing what you are doing?

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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, by shareholder relations, by operations and finance too and you can you usually tell which is which fairly quickly.  But for each, the option remains: you can be market driven instead. In fact, you may need to sooner rather than later.

With margins squeezed like never before every resource either counts; or it counts against you and what your business is trying to achieve. Deviation costs.

It sounds obvious but there are very few genuinely market-oriented business in the industry. It’s actually quite hard to do. Having a market orientation means that the focus is, at all times and simultaneously, on: the customer, competition, co-operation between business functions, response to changes in the environment and customer need. And a whole host of other stuff. But needless to say there’s a lot, which means it’s easy to lose sight of your mission.

To use an example from recent research it is clear that the needs of the adviser industry are not wholly being met by the level of support currently on offer, which in itself will no doubt come as little surprise.

Consistent throughout our research is the importance of problem resolution (either face to face or remotely) underpinned, of course, with better technical expertise. And yet it remains one of the most inconsistently delivered facets of support. While no-one’s saying service isn’t important there is a common lack of appreciation of why. Anything that isn’t bolted firmly to a big fat ‘why’ is usually fairly unsustainable.

Given that advisory businesses are more reliant on delivering a higher level of service to a smaller group of wealthier clients, advisers can ill-afford costly delays (financially or reputaionally) or client errors at a time where there is greater scrutiny over value. The premium on the peace of mind that comes from knowing that 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 isn’t straightforward and requires genuine engagement. But in today’s world it’s the difficult work that’s worth doing. It’s 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 of So Here’s The Plan phil@soherestheplan.co.uk

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