Financial services marketing is dynamic. Today, more than ever before, an essential prerequisite to marketing success is sensitivity to our rapidly changing industry — and to the challenges and opportunities it offers. Marketing success will come to those agents who read the tea leaves and are able to anticipate and appropriately respond to both current marketplace realities and emerging trends.

One of the major realities of the modern financial services marketplace is the impact technology has had on an agent’s ability to effectively communicate with clients and prospects. Since virtually everyone now has instant, on-demand access to a wealth of information, agents no longer have the luxury of determining what information clients should have — and when. In this new environment, marketing must be inclusive, interactive and responsive. As a result, many traditional marketing elements (e.g., print) will continue to fall out of favor as others (e.g., online) increasingly take their place. For example, it is now essential that an agent have an effective Web presence so that prospects can do their due diligence and clients have access to both updated information and an interactive way to contact their agent.

At the same time, however, personalized one-on-one marketing approaches can provide an easy, cost-effective way to significantly enhance client loyalty. A birthday card, for instance, shows thoughtfulness and caring. An occasional sincere note simply thanking clients for their business can have great meaning. A private meeting to review coverage and ongoing needs make a strong personal statement.

Marketing is now a participatory sport. In coming decades, the most successful agents will be those who stay alert to trends and take the time and effort to learn to effectively employ those tools that will make them relevant to their client base.

This article is adapted from a new book, 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.