We now have so many marketing tools, techniques and channels at our disposal, how do we know which to use and how to leverage them to our best advantage?

Start with the why?

The answer will differ depending on what your message is and to whom you are delivering that message. The first step in any marketing plan should be to go right back to basics.

1 Why? Brand Purpose

It’s not about what you do; it’s about why you do it.

In his book, ‘Start With Why’, Simon Sinek explains that every company on the planet knows WHAT they do. You might provide retirement advice, wealth management services or tax planning solutions. Explaining how we do WHAT we do is often used as a method of setting ourselves apart from the competition, our USP or differentiator. You might have an award winning investment proposition or a focus on client satisfaction.

Very few people, Simon suggests, can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do; what their purpose, cause or belief is. He argues that companies try to sell WHAT they do, whereas people buy WHY they do it.

You might already be completely clear about WHY you do the job you do, or you could feel you need to take some time to think about it in more detail. Your WHY needs to be authentic, it exists already but you may need to spend some time trying to re-discover it.

Once you are clear about your WHY it should form the foundation of your marketing. Tell your story, be transparent about why you do what you and those that share your beliefs and values will be drawn to you.

2 Who? Your Target Market

As well as considering your WHY, take some time to think about WHO you are talking to.

If you try and speak to everyone you are likely to be speaking to no one. What is your niche? Your reignited purpose is likely to guide your target market to a large extent but drilling down or creating buyer personas or avatars is a useful exercise.

You could start with your existing client bank. Who do you enjoy working with most, are there any characteristics or demographics common to your favourite clients? Who can you add most value for?

Once you know who you are talking to it is easier to tailor information to them, their needs and their preferences. It also helps to refine the list of marketing channels that will be most appropriate.

Those requiring advice on care fees planning for example are less likely to be Twitter users than first time buyers looking for advice on property finance.

3 How? Product Strategy

I have recently been lucky enough to work with entrepreneur and bestselling author Daniel Priestley. Through his company, Dent and its KPI accelerator programme, I was educated about the five P’s in any business: Pitch, Publish, Product, Profile and Partnerships.

All five P’s have relevance to any marketing strategy but I found Daniel’s take on Product particularly relevant to my own marketing efforts.

Daniel sets out what he terms the Ascending Transaction Model and explains that if you want to build a successful business you need more than just a great core product, you need a product ecosystem.

It’s worth noting that Daniel’s definition of a product as something that is useful, valuable and packaged for sale. This would include services such as Financial Planning. Daniel identifies four types of ‘product’ that make up the ecosystem:


Gifts must be valuable and meaningful; they must be given freely and therefore relatively low cost to deliver. Examples include blogs, podcasts, guides or a free event.

Products for Prospects

A product for prospect should provide you with a route to sharing your ideas and philosophies with the world in exchanged for accurate contact information. Examples might include self-assessments, online courses or copies of research or reports.

Core Offering

A core offering provides clients with a complete solution to a problem they face. This is the traditional realm of a Financial Planner, providing a solution that implements a real change for a client.

Products for Customers

Designed to provide an additional service to existing clients; a logical next step that arises after their initial problem has been solved by your core offering. Consider how your core offering fits within a wider product ecosystem and how different types of ‘product’ can support you in speaking to your target market about your WHY.