News article

It’s not always about you

Empathy for the target audience. Arguably one of the most important qualities an adviser or planner possesses.

Most are great at seeing problems from somebody else’s perspective. But, in our experience, that doesn’t always extend to marketing, with some advisers and planners prone to making two fundamental mistakes:

  1. Failing to practice evidence based marketing by following a course of action they believe to be true, without evidence. Even worse, ignoring the available evidence. We wrote about this issue some weeks ago, you can read that blog by clicking here
  2. Basing key marketing decisions on what appeals to them, rather than their target market

It’s the second of these I’d like to explore more.


Even just taking the basics, there are a staggering array of choices and decisions to be made:

  • Logo
  • Colour palette
  • Stationery
  • Website

When you are making decisions, are they made based on what will appeal to your clients or your personal preferences?

It’s important not to let personal preferences affect the decision-making process, especially if you’re an adviser who isn’t in your target demographic. For example, if you are a younger adviser with older clients, it’s even more important to put yourself in your client’s shoes and not let personal preference take over.

Pragmatism is key.

I have a dislike of financial websites where the dominant colour is red. But I’m flexible enough to overcome that personal (and probably illogical) view. If it will work, run with it.

I’d go even further

Ideally of course your shiny new website, logo or business card will please clients, potential clients and you equally. But they are definitely first on the list.

That all starts with knowing your target audience. That’s why building client personas is so important. Your marketing will never be as effective without them.

The payoff to building your marketing around your target clients and not your personal preferences? More enquiries from your target market.

There is plenty you can do to present yourself to your clients, in a way that will appeal to them. Take your website for example:

Images: Many advisers select images based on their preference, or a lazy selection from a stock library, not what will resonate with visitors and target clients.

Applying common sense and following some simple rules will help. Avoid:

  • Using predominantly masculine imagery
  • Images that aren’t relevant to your target audience
  • Cliched stock images (if you have a couple walking hand in hand on a beach to illustrate retirement, change it now!)
  • Images that have no link to the content, but are chosen simply because you like them

And, finally, our golden rule: never put an image on a website unless you can explain why you chose it.

Typefaces: Choosing the right font, size and spacing are decisions often taken hastily, with little thought. But, as most of the content on your website will be written, they are vital. Remember, it must look as good on the largest PC screen, as it does on the smallest of mobile phones.

The old maxim: function over form has never been more relevant than when discussing fonts.

Colours: Many will argue that certain colours imbue specific emotions and meaning, but even at the most basic level, the client should be considered first. If you are an adviser with a 50/50 gender split, why would you select a colour palette laden with masculine tones?

Equally, a palette shouldn’t be built solely on the basis that the colours are your favourites.

Branding: We work with both advisers setting up new businesses, as well as those refreshing an existing brand. Either way, a logo must appeal to your target clients, not just you.

A logo should represent you and your business values, so your personal preferences and those of your client shouldn’t differ drastically. Now and then, however, an adviser may discount a logo concept, simply because they don’t like it. But the client has to come first.

A simple message

What we are trying to say this week is very simple: put the needs and preferences of your target audience first. Ideally, they and the adviser, will find the branding, stationery, website appealing.

But pragmatism wins every time, if it works, run with it and remember, the target audience must come first.

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