Know your target market

As an important element of the research completed for Brokers Ireland on “The Evolution of the Broker Market 2030”, we identified 12 areas to be considered by Financial Brokers to help prepare your business for the changing market environment.

We now consider the first action identified, which is the importance of identifying and getting to know deeply your target market.

Based on the research findings and the numerous challenges faced in providing a viable and valued advice service to people of modest financial means, it is likely over the next decade that Financial Brokers will continue to mainly target the mass affluent and high net worth sections of society. Within this, individual Financial Brokers will target different segments of the market, based largely on their areas of expertise or where they can access clients easily. This is who they will target, and the positioning of their business will need to be centred around the target market. Connecting with their target group will be a primary goal and activity of the business.

Financial Brokers should consider where they can add most value. Will this be with families, assisting them in managing every aspect of a household’s finances and assisting them in achieving all their financial objectives in life? Or will their target market be business owners maybe in a specific geographic region, where the Financial Broker will be the guiding hand in all areas of wealth extraction, succession planning and achieving a successful business exit? Or will the Broker build a superior knowledge and understanding of the unique features and attributes of a particular profession and advise them – maybe sports people, entertainment professionals or people in a particular industry? Building a superior knowledge and understanding of a specific target market is a powerful positioning and will enable a Financial Broker to become the ‘go to’ person among that cohort of potential clients.

The value experienced by clients will be in the Financial Broker’s superior knowledge of a target market, the quality of advice delivered, and the products arranged to implement the advice.

That is not to say that Financial Brokers will only have clients within a narrow target market. Other clients will emerge that the Financial Broker did not actively target – some may also be high value clients, however others will be less valuable, maybe having been introduced to the business as a child of a high value client or a referred client etc. However, the marketing efforts of the business will be aimed at the desired target market – these are the people you are putting all your efforts into appealing to.

We identified a number of specific action points for Financial Brokers to carry out.

First of all, it is important to consider your available markets and the ones that offer the scale and best opportunity for you to add value and ultimately succeed. To do this, you need to build a view of the estimated population (households, businesses etc.) within your target market – there are many research resources available to help you do this. These include the CSO, government websites, local business sites etc.

Once this is completed you then decide which group(s) you will target. This will be decided based upon having confidence that the target market is viable and big enough to sustain your own business goals and ambitions, and being able to identify clear access points to this market. You need to have a good sense from the outset as to how you will reach your market.

The third point is often the one that is skipped lightly over – at a great eventual cost. It is very important to develop a deep and superior knowledge and understanding of the attributes and specific financial challenges of your target market. You need to know this market better than anyone –  the characteristics of the people, their own specific challenges, what are the concerns that keep them awake at night and what are the particular financial challenges that they face. The more you understand their own dynamics, the better you will be at empathising with them and delivering advice that is based on knowledge and expert insights. This will be truly valued advice and will enable you to stand apart from every other adviser trying to build relationships with them.

Once you have built this deep knowledge, the final step is to use it to stand apart from your competition. You do this by refining all your marketing channels and efforts to build your presence among this target market. Don’t try and talk to everyone, look to talk in a deeper way with your target market.

Rather than trying to be “all things to all people”, the first step in being a successful Financial Broker in 2030 is to identify and go after a clear target market.