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Practice Management: One-to-One Marketing

One-to-one marketing – the key to increasing business from your customers

Monday, August 27th 2001, 9:22PM

Prospecting for new clients is just one way to generate new business for a financial adviser. But have you considered your existing customers and whether you can increase the amount of business you do with them?

By building your client franchise you can also enjoy a better referral stream from your customers and ultimately undivided loyalty since no one wants to lose a good customer.

The idea is to move your customers up the ‘customer loyalty ladder.’ As you build and develop your customer relationships they should ultimately move in stages from ‘prospect’ to the ideal in partnering, ‘client franchise.’

This penultimate state is where you have exclusive commitment from a customer and they should never want to take their business away from you.


What is One-to-one marketing?
One-to-one marketing is a term used to describe the development and implementation of marketing activities for specific customers that you have targeted as valuable in the long term or potentially valuable.

To be successful in today’s environment, you need to be highly tailored and highly interactive to compete – hence the phrase ‘One-to-one’.

One-to-one marketing is somewhat similar to target marketing or niche marketing in that it involves identification and targeting of a select group of customers.

However, the basis for selection for these customers is that they are usually existing high value customers, or they have the potential to become high value customers.

One-to-one marketing differs from mass marketing in that it is more personalised or customised and communication activities are directed specifically at individuals.

Marketing activities associated with One-to-one marketing are mostly interactive and can include specially prepared presentations, client visits, promotions, events and special offers.

Why one-to one marketing?
Businesses are entering the ‘interactive’ age. Over the last five years or so companies have begun to reconsider the use of traditional marketing techniques.

There has been a gradual power shift from the hands of the promoter or producer into the hands of the customer or consumer. The customer is now in the driving seat and technology has facilitated this immensely.

In the brave new world where there is a greater level of competition, customers have unprecedented access to information, allowing them to shop around for the best price or service.

Which customers are suitable for one-to-one marketing?
One-to-one marketing activities are considerably more expensive than mass marketing approaches such as advertising or mail outs, when looked at from a cost per person distribution perspective.

But don’t let this put you off as you will be focussing on a much smaller group of customers and so the overall cost can actually be lower.

The key starting point to incorporating one-to-one marketing into your business is to conduct a detailed analysis of your customer base.

Most of you will have realised that you don’t have enough time in the day to spend the same amount of time with each of your customers and that you have to prioritise your customers based on the value they provide or could provide to your business.

A good customer contact system will enable you to store and track both transactional and relationship information. You should then label each customer as ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ customers whereby ‘A’ customers are most valuable and ‘C’ customers are least valuable.

You can allocate your time and resources according to the their importance to your business.

To do this, ask yourself which customers do you earn the most entry fees and margins from? Which customers have you had the longest? Who could possibly bring in more business?

In most cases it will be your ‘A’ list customers that you will be targeting with one-to- one marketing as these are the customers you don’t want to lose and you could possible derive more business from. In some cases you will also target some ‘B’ customers too as these could have significant potential in the future if you are able to tap into it.

What to do next?
There are a number of practical and cost-effective ways to establish a One-to-one marketing relationship with your best or potential customers and ultimately get a greater share of their business. Here are a few examples:


  • Develop a good contact management system and use this to document what you know about your clients such as when they became a customer, how much they have invested, risk profile, investment preferences etc. This provides basis for customer differentiation.



  • Develop a ‘learning relationship’. Offer better value service and information making it ‘too hard’ for them to shift their business. Ask what information is your customer interested in? How would they like information to be presented to them (eg: email, paper, fax, spreadsheet etc).



  • Spoil your best or ‘A’ list clients by spending more time and/or money on them than you do on others. These clients are worthy of home visits, special presentations and even random acts of kindness, such as birthday cards or remembering their anniversary.



  • Expand your client event marketing for ‘A’ list customers – harbour cruises, new tax changes breakfast, winery visits, golf games etc.



  • Present worthwhile and informative seminars.



  • Keep the contact levels high with newsletters, phone calls, email and customer service questionnaires.



The winning stroke for any financial planning practice will be to focus your efforts on building long-term relationships with key clients. Achieve this, and you will be on the path to the ‘next level’.


This article is supplied by Australian-based fund management firm Perpetual Investments. Perpetual is a sponsor of the Financial Planner of the Year Awards and promotes a number of international funds, managed by Fidelity, in New Zealand.


To find out more about Perpetual Investments click here.

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