Mark Loosmore of IRESS finds out how marketing firm ClientsFirst is helping advisers prepare their businesses for the new regulatory environment through the use of PR, email and newsletter campaigns.
As we move from a financial advice environment that is still largely transactional in its orientation to one which is advice and service driven, advisers are increasingly picking up on the need to have regular professional contact with clients.
Newsletters, customer surveys, social media and informative/interactive websites are all becoming important parts of an adviser’s service proposition. This week we spoke to a marketing firm, ClientsFirst, which is helping guide IFAs through this important transition, providing both marketing services and software to assist them.
ClientsFirst was started in 2009 and is driven by the owner and founder Jon Pittham. Jon is a former director of a large regional IFA practice so he understands how IFAs work and think. ClientsFirst is based in Cheshire but covers the whole of the UK and now has more than 80 clients and employs six people.
Jon started the business after using the services of four different professional firms. Each did a good job but none of them ever contacted him again. In contrast, the large retail firms he dealt with, such as Tesco or Vodafone were in regular contact, and Jon could see no reason why the smaller professional IFA firms could not support the same level of contact, as long as each interaction was made relevant and professional.
ClientsFirst was born from this vision and services IFAs, accountants and lawyers (about 80% of its business is IFA based).
ClientsFirst supplies marketing services such as PR and website building. It also supplies professionally written marketing material. However, at the heart of its operation is a technology solution to manage e-mail and e-newsletter campaigns.
Many IFAs will have a CRM system in place to do this activity and there are clearly advantages in using a single solution for all the IFAs needs. However, many such systems are not set up to manage e-mail shots effectively, especially the older offline solutions. In essence when a domain is used for mailshots and eNewsletters it is essential that the company managing that domain works carefully to manage its reputation with the ISPs otherwise its mailings get treated as SPAM and rarely get through.
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