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Financial Communications firms: Nurture Marketing
The implications of this company's methodologies and ethos reach far beyond just financial communications firms.
My friend Diana Clement (we were colleagues in London when we both worked for Rupert Murdoch on an internet startup) has written a great article about Nuture Marketing and I strongly urge you to read it and digest it thoroughly.
If you want to contact them yourself, after reading the article, there's a link at the bottom of the article.
When James Cecil, the father of Nurture Marketing, breezed into New Zealand last month his marketing message had seasonal meaning. It was Valentines Day and for a marketing devotee that's when you send love letters to clients and prospects.
Don't just send one love letter, says Cecil. You need to send 13 of them to be truly remembered and trusted by a client. But before you overload New Zealand Post, you need to drip irrigate your love letters. In fact if you want your clients to remember you, you need a carefully orchestrated plan to get them to call you when they are ready to buy, says Cecil.
Yet, he says, in the financial services industry firms will buy a list of names, run a seminar and soon give up after a communication or two if the potential client doesn't write out a cheque. "These people are in the relentless pursuit of low hanging fruit. They simply don't have the facility for maintaining contact," Cecil says.
Nurture marketing is what Cecil calls the "cure to the common cold call". It involves a step by step method where you send high-tech fill-in-the-gaps pre-written letters to clients using what Cecil calls drip irrigation method of marketing. It's like a "just-add-water kit" to get started, said one of Cecil's clients and the idea is that you personalise the kit for your industry and your clients.
The basic premise is to keep in touch with the right people at a meaningful level on a regular basis. That doesn't mean just an annual Christmas card or invitation to the golf.
Cultivating a loyal following from your clients requires a smart database-driven system that keeps you constantly in the eye of your client and allows you to build a relationship with them.
But the Cecil method isn't just about pelting your clients with communications. If those communications are seen as spam or form letters then you're more likely to irritate your clients - and thus creating tons of "pre-landfill" and throwing your money away.
Instead, the Nurture Marketing method involves a first communication with a slight bulge in the envelope to encourage them to open it. One of Cecil's followers went as far as including Guatemalan Worry Dolls in the envelopes and promised to take their worries away.
The second letter contains "nurturing material" such as useful knowledge-based enclosures or a reprint of an article. The third can contain an invitation to a seminar or introductory talk and so on. At each stage you're setting yourself up as someone who helps, nurtures, and above all, is unique.
In New Zealand , says Cecil, all too many of our financial services sales people and advisors ignore all but the easy sales. Nurturing clients, on the other hand, maximises their value and keeps them on board for the long run.
How do you know it's working you ask? "Your prospects will call you," says Cecil. But not only will they call you. They won't think of you as the best in your business, they will think of you as unique.
"When your client suddenly gets hit in the chest with a spear, you want them to think of you as the only spear removal surgeon in town."
While Nurture Marketing uses metaphors from day-to-day life, the birth of this system was anything but low tech. Cecil, a regular airline passenger, took great interest in the birth of frequent flier programmes. He soon realised that the mass customisation and personalisation inherent in these systems as they evolved would revolutionise marketing. Suddenly airlines could identify the frequent fliers, analyse their behaviour and target them with personalised marketing material. For the A-list fliers they could assign a personal relationship manager. When Cecil joined his first frequent flier programme, his mind was abuzz with the possibilities for other industries.
Thus was born Nurture Marketing. Even so, it wasn't until the technology caught up in the guise of customer relationship marketing software (CRM) and databases that Cecil's method took off.
Cecil was recently in New Zealand at the invitation of ING, which holds annual road shows. In addition to keeping advisers up-to-speed with developments at ING, the company includes international guest speakers presenting on a topic that can help financial advisers improve their business - usually with a marketing, business management, or client service focus. Cecil has visited New Zealand several times in the past 10 years and has numerous clients here, ranging from large corporates to small financial planners who have purchased the "Campaign in a Box" package, which includes materials for a campaign aimed at 50 clients and 50 prospects.
Nurture Marketing is also available as snap-on modules for some of the well-known CRM and contact management systems used by financial planners including GoldMine, Microsoft CRM and ACT!
John Barber - Wealth Design Limited - Palmerston North
John Barber knew his nurture marketing was a success when come February a client remarked that he still had Wealth Design Limited's Christmas card up on his wall.
Nurture Marketing has long been on Barber's radar. But unlike many of his contemporaries, Barber attended a seminar and decided to allocate money to the idea.
"Nurture marketing was a natural development for the way our business works," Barber says. Enhancing relationships with existing clients was already a priority and nurture marketing fitted with that strategy."
The business spends between $5,000 and $10,000 each year on nurture marketing -type campaigns and Barber believes it is money well spent compared to "a couple of gungy ads in the Yellow Pages for $3.5 grand."
Wealth Design pays particular attention to its client communications - using an arty member of staff to hand design its clients' Christmas and Birthday Cards. While others might be happy with mass-produced cards off the laser printer, Barber sees this approach as an integral part of the business, incorporated in the business plan. "We get more feedback about the fuzzy stuff than the financial planning."
Elevator speech - Nurture Marketing Formula one.
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Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
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How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
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Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing
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