Posted on December 9, 2014
Over the last 15 years, the structured products market has seen a great deal of change: through market rises and crashes, major fluctuations in reputation and trust and endless scrutiny and review by the regulator.
Alongside this, the development of digital media has affected the fundamental way products are promoted and literature is distributed. Inevitably, all of this has changed structured products marketing.
Despite all the changes however, we’ve realised from our 15 years of experience helping clients market more than 800 structured products, that certain marketing principals remain consistently effective.
Commit to a long-term plan
Some financial institutions think they can launch one structured product, see how it does, then decide if they’ll launch another. Structured products just don’t work that way.
Financial Advisors (FAs) aren’t going to spend time getting to know your products just for a single short selling period – it’s not worth it. If, however, you show them you’ve committed to a long-term series of products, FAs can build a sales plan around that.
The same goes for your approach to marketing budgets. It takes time for advisers and investors to become aware and get comfortable with a new series of structured products, so you have to build momentum with your marketing.
Furthermore, there will be sales and marketing requirements, including advertising, web development, PR and lots more beside that will need to sit behind the individual launches and be planned as a continual campaign.
Ad-hoc budgets for ad-hoc products don’t translate into successful long-term campaigns
Develop a clear message and brand
You’ve got your series of products, now you need to market them under the umbrella of a clear brand and message, which help you stand out from the crowd. Work out the brand and the system by which you’re going to name, number and differentiate your products.
You shouldn’t underestimate the potential of powerful messaging. Many financial institutions assume their credit rating is the be-all and end-all determining their success in the structured products market, but done right, good marketing has proved to be worth more than a good credit rating.
Get your timing and processes organised
Structured products, more so than other financial products, are a deadline driven business and late launches mean lost sales. FAs will lose patience with you if you miss your deadlines as it screws up their own sales plans.
Of course, there are so many legal and compliance issues that getting launched on a deadline date is difficult. The secret is to have everything lined up in advance and streamline the steps that lead up to the launch. This includes marketing, which often comes into the process too late.
Again, it’s all about long-term planning and a strict adherence to the timetable you’ve laid out.
Sort out what marketing resources you need
Creating a realistic timetable relies on a coordinated approach.
Do you need to design a new website? Do you have the contact list sorted for your email blasts and how are you going to manage your contact database? Would direct mail be better than email? What media are you going to use for advertising? Is the design of your literature and application forms easy to template and then replicate and update launch by launch?
There are a lot of moving parts that have to turn together in a structured products marketing campaign and they all have to be considered, decided upon and planned to meet those all-important deadlines.
Make your website beautiful and functional
You know you need a website, but do you really know what it is you want it to do? After all, a good email campaign will only work if you have a good website to lead people to.
You need to think about how people want to receive information, what information needs to be available online and how you want to track what’s downloaded or used. Your website needs be the most effective tool you create to communicate with advisers and support their sales.
Whether you’re big or small, we’ve seen these principals hold true. Follow them and you’ll be on your way to structured products selling success. Good products help too, of course, but that’s your job, not ours!