Archive for April, 2013

Creating A Successful Marketing Strategy

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

The ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to help you grow your business and increase your brand awareness; cementing trust with current clients is a nice by-product as well. How does it work? Developing awareness of your brand  – who you are, what you do and why you are uniquely qualified – should in turn help you generate leads which, through education and dripping on prospects, will lead to more clients.

In order for a marketing strategy to be successful, it must be multi-faceted, realistic and implemented consistently over time. There aren’t a lot of short cuts here – it takes time and patience. Depending on your resources, there are a number of ways in which you can accomplish each of the above steps; only spend what you can afford to, and make sure that you and your staff have the requisite time to dedicate to marketing without negatively impacting your current business.

Your marketing plan – the written description of your market strategy – should:

  • Detail specific activities you intend to undertake;
  • Identify the audience each activity is targeted to;
  • Specify how you’re going to measure success;
  • Be flexible enough to allow adjustments as necessary; and
  • Stipulate who on your team is responsible for each activity.

How do you create awareness, generate leads and drip on prospects? Click here to read our complete new White Paper.

AK In The News: HighTower Loses Advisor Who Had $1B Practice

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I was asked to comment by Fundfire on the departure of Margaret Towle from HighTower Advisors, less than two years after she joined the very successful RIA. This follows the departure of another advisor who left last month, the latest two departures from the firm which has been growing rapidly. The firm lost one other advisor last year, who left to run a hedge fund.

The question on everyone’s mind is, do these departures signal problems at HighTower? Probably not. To quote from the article:

“Towle’s exit, along with the other recent partners, isn’t necessarily a “red flag” for HighTower, nor a sign that it has gone from rakish industry upstart to “mature” firm, says Andrew Klausner, principal of AK Advisory Partners. “Maybe better than the word ‘mature’ is ‘growing pains,’” he says. “There are not too many firms that have had their success, and they’ve certainly had more success than failures.”

Klausner says it’s believable that personality and culture could be snags for an outfit like HighTower, where the partners take roles in the firm’s management. “You don’t know 100% that the fit is going to be there,” he says. “When you have a model like that, where you’re attracting the best, inevitably you will have some conflicts.””

We will all be keeping our eyes open to see what happens at HighTower – but I am guessing that they will continue to attract more new advisors than they lose and that they will continue to be a highly successful firm.

(The other advisor who left had joined the firm from Goldman Sachs and reportedly left HighTower to join Credit Suisse. My guess here is that it was an issue of fit – going from a boutique investment firm to an RIA and back to a boutique may signify that this advisor was just more comfortable in that type of firm.)

Getting The Edge On Other Managers

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

I am speaking this week at the Investment Management Institute’s Consultants Congress in San Francisco. The topic is “Getting The Edge On Other Managers.” With so many thousands of investment managers to choose from, it’s important for managers to develop trusting relationships with consultants – as they are often the gatekeepers who control access to institutional clients. In many ways, developing a relationship with a manager is similar to trying to get new clients – just like you try and find out as much as you can about prospects, and tailor your presentations to them, the same is true for consultants.

I have broken the process into two pieces – when you are reaching out to the consultant to introduce yourself and your firm, and what to do when you have actually been able to get a meeting with them.

Reaching Out

  • Do your research upfront and find out as much about the consultant as possible. Tailor your approach to match.
  • Highlight your Value Proposition/Mission Statement. Answer the question: All things being equal, why should your firm be considered?
  • Focus on your firm’s strengths and don’t compare yourself to the competition. That’s not your job, and will make you look bad.
  • Highlight your capabilities above and beyond managing money – educational programs, thought leadership, etc.
  • Ask about their preferred method and frequency of contact.

Meeting With The Consultant

  • Bring the right people to the presentation, including those people that will be interacting with prospects/clients.
  • Describe your overall business philosophy– talk about profitability, resource prioritization, distribution, etc.  How are you retaining key talent? What changes have you made over the past 12 months?
  • Describe any process adjustments that you made in reaction to the 2008 financial crisis. Were these changes permanent or temporary?
  • Explain any unusual fluctuation in AUM. Differentiate between market losses and client terminations. Explain how you’re adapting to the uncertain and changing regulatory environment. Focus on transparency.
  • Be humble – but confidently ask for the business!

You probably what was missing in the bullet points – a discussion of your performance. There are lots of great performing managers out there – in every asset class. It is often the intangibles that will help you stick out more.