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Forward Thinking Magazine : April 2011
30 Sarah Abood, chief executive Officer of Profile Financial Services, has developed targeted marketing strategies for different market segments. A key focus is dentists, a market segment for which the business has a natural affinity given its founder bought an advisory practice that already had a number of dentists as clients, as well as a planner with experience working with dentist clients. Abood says when developing a marketing strategy, it’s important to look at the psychological profile of the target group and ensure the practice understands the approach the group takes to financial advice. “Dentists are used to being very capable in their own highly technical work and as business owners are used to controlling their own destiny, so they often want a high level of involvement in their investment decisions. We also need to demonstrate that our professionalism in our field matches theirs in their own area. So we take a partnership approach with this group, who want to be involved in their finances, rather than to just hand over responsibility to a planner,” she explains. According to Abood, this drives the business’s marketing strategy. “An involved client needs to be an educated client, soalotofwhatwedoisabout education, and we’re focused on information-rich initiatives such as educational seminars and writing articles in industry magazines. But it’s not enough to re-hash something you’ve written for another forum. It’s important to develop material specifically for this segment,” she advises. PROFIle FINANcIAl SeRvIceS For example, recently Profile developed an article about budgeting tailored specifically to dentists who, as professionals and often business owners as well, have more control over their income than, say, salaried people. Each month, the practice holds a seminar specifically for dentists. The practice also employs a marketing officer with responsibility for contacting dentists who receive industry publications in which Profile Financial Services publishes regular advertisements and content. Abood says it’s also important to recognise that educating the market segment you want to target takes time. “Results don’t happen quickly - you need to spend time attending industry functions, developing interesting articles and holding regular seminars specifically for the group you are focusing on. You have to be persistent, and in fact Profile has been focusing on this segment for eight years now. Over time dentists have come to know us as an advisory firm that specialises in their area, and our results are starting to accelerate.” A key part of Profile Financial Service’s marketing strategy is setting clear goals and targets. The business uses a balanced scorecard approach, and marketing goals and objectives are linked to revenue targets. Through this process, it’s possible to determine the number of leads each planner will require to win a new client. Sarah Abood, Profile Financial Services