Put three marketers together in a room and you will get at least four opinions about what creates effective financial services marketing. There is no single right marketing solution. As the old adage advises, “There are many roads to the top of the mountain, but when you get there, the view is all the same.” However, just as in mountain climbing, there are many wrong ways to approach marketing.

Many misconceptions exist about what constitutes effective marketing. One of the most persistent among insurance representatives is that marketing is primarily an “outward directed” activity focused on attracting new clients. The truth is that:

(a) retaining current clients is an equally — if not more — important goal than acquiring new clients, and

(b) the best starting point for both retention and acquisition initiatives is an agent’s own customer base.

The first step is to think about ways that you can use what you know about your clients to enhance their attachment and loyalty. Begin by considering what you know about your client’s priorities and concerns and then supplement that knowledge by gathering additional data that will enable you to initiate more effective client-centric marketing. For example, survey your best clients to obtain insights into their purchase patterns (e.g., the order in which they purchased various products and services) and their unmet needs.

It can also prove very useful to survey your inactive accounts. Find out why they stopped doing business with you. Ask where are they doing business and why. Their comments can tell you a lot about your clients’ needs.

This information will help you develop effective client-centric marketing approaches that will not only help you improve existing relationships, but also enable you to approach prospects with greater understanding.

This article is adapted from The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing: Bite-Sized Insights for Creating Effective Approaches (Wiley Publishing), by Jay Nagdeman. For more information, visit www.FinancialServicesMarketingBook.com.