When it comes to marketing, many brokers may think that it really doesn’t matter. After all, you’re in the relationship business, and marketing is all about getting consumers to buy something tangible, like toothpaste or TVs, right? Or maybe marketing means updating and maintaining a company website, the occasional email blast, or buying branded golf balls for the annual customer outing.
Admittedly, marketing is sometimes responsible for printing your logo on the golf balls, but at its core, marketing is really about making your services easier for you to sell and customers to buy.
You can make your product easier to sell if:
- Your prospects know who you are
- You’re talking to the right prospects
- You’re offering the services your prospects want and need
- Your prospects clearly understand what those services are
- Your prospects clearly understand what benefits they’ll receive from using your services
- Your prospects have reason to trust you
Let’s take these one at a time and talk about the role that marketing can and should be playing for you.
- Your prospects know who you are: Marketing builds awareness. This can take many different forms – advertising, direct mail, email marketing, seminars/webinars, or, increasingly, a social media presence. (We’ve been blogging regularly about this, so you’ve already got your social media starter kit!)
- You’re talking to the right prospects: Marketing defines the ideal customer profile: company size, industry, geographic location, buyer title/persona, influencer title, persona and more. By focusing on the prospects most likely to buy your services, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
- Your prospects understand what you do: We’ve all seen the “Dummies” books, right? The titles are facetious, but if you’ve ever picked one up, you know that what they do exceeding well is make things clear. Marketing’s job is to bring clarity to the description of what services you offer.
- You’re offering the services your prospects want and need: Before marketing can bring that clarity, you need to make sure you’re offering the right services. For brokers, that may seem pretty fundamental, but, beneath the fundamentals there’s a lot of complexity and change. Marketing makes sure that you’re keeping up with industry changes and with the competition. If you haven’t reviewed your service portfolio in a while, it may be time to get marketing on it.
- Your prospects clearly understand the benefits they receive from using your services: Some of those benefits may seem pretty obvious. At least they are to you. But for the millenial HR manager or business owner, those benefits may not be so apparent. Marketing can make sure that, just as your services are clearly stated, so, too are the benefits associated with your services. This is especially important when your prospect is convinced, but needs help “selling up” in their company.
- Your prospects have reason to trust you: You’re in a relationship business, and trust is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. Building trust is ongoing, but one way to establish some fundamental trust is through the words of your existing clients. Marketing can help create the client testimonials and references that will help underscore that you’re a broker they can trust.
(I’ve used the word “prospects” here, but you can’t forget that all of the above is needed for your existing clients as well.)
Given all of these responsibilities, it’s pretty clear that marketing really matters. And this holds true whether you have marketing resources on staff, outsource it, or do it yourself.