Financial Services Marketing Newsletter – 4Q05

The Watch List

A few months ago, MBC launched its new website. This quarter, we also launched a Content Management System (CMS) to manage site updates and keep content current. This enables immediate control of our entire site and allows for editing without any code or HTML issues. We understand that keeping any website up to date can be a difficult, time-consuming, and potentially costly endeavor. Yet, with our CMS, we can independently manage the entire site from any computer and without any additional software requirements. A CMS is a simple, user-friendly answer to keep a site fresh, add or delete pages, or restructure navigation. The program’s engine handles the technical details and keeps page layouts and design consistent. Changes can be made in seconds and even by the less than tech savvy. By incorporating a CMS, your website can grow with your business.

The Investment Marketing Business

Several years after the Enron backlash and the onset of the era of corporate governance, we can now take a look at some tangible results to evaluate who the real winners and losers were. With the end goal of protecting the shareholder, did the pendulum shift too far? A recent report in the Wall Street Journal cited average audit fees for companies across the capitalization range — each market segment saw audit cost increases of more than 150% in just three years, with mid-caps eclipsing 200% price increases. While a large-cap company may be able to digest the impact of a near tripling in audit fees, what about smaller-sized firms? Are the shareholders of these firms really better off in the aftermath of Sarbanes-Oxley or are the lawyers and accountants the true winners? It is tough to argue against the merits of transparency and disclosure and auditors themselves do predict that costs will drop by nearly 50% over the next few years, but the initial evaluation is mixed, at best.¹

 1. Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2005

 Consultants Corner

Integrated marketing, often a challenging feat, aims to keep core corporate messaging consistent and stable across marketing mediums. This can be especially challenging at larger firms, but we can learn from the success of one of the largest investment conglomerates. Citigroup has enlisted the protection of what they internally dub “the brand police” to oversee and coordinate branding efforts in their cross-media campaigns. Businesses need to ensure consistency by regulating their own branding “rules” and by providing guidelines to every promotion to ensure the message aligns with their global campaign. Upholding a corporate identity is vital to building customer loyalty and trust in a brand. Create your own brand police team and enforce your corporate messaging from within to deliver better results and avoid confusion from your marketing efforts.

MBC Watch List

For the past year, the team at MBC has been working with a large investment firm to develop a turnkey practice management solution that will help advisors improve the way they do business. After completing the first module of the program, which focused on goal-setting, early in 2005, we are now working on the second module to help financial advisors examine the traits that drive their success and help them focus on and take advantage of their core strengths. Each module includes detailed materials, coaching guides, scripts, presentations, and interactive exercises. This second module is set to launch in January of 2006.