Marketing Without Clear Vision? Fidelity Shares Marketing Strategies With Advisor Clients to Help Them Focus And Grow

New Toolkit Helps Advisors Design Comprehensive Business Development and Marketing Plans

BOSTON -- Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, a division of Fidelity Investments®, today unveiled a new guide to help registered investment advisors (RIAs) create comprehensive business development and marketing plans. Building an Action Plan to Drive Growth Within Your Practice shares Fidelity’s proprietary marketing guide, as well as industry best practices, to help advisors evaluate their business development strategies, establish growth goals, identify marketing opportunities, set priorities to meet and measure those goals, and offer insights to help them execute on their plans effectively.

A Fidelity studyi found that fewer than one-third (30 percent) of participating RIAs reported having a written marketing plan. This toolkit is designed to support advisors in creating action plans that incorporate both business development and marketing. It is part of Fidelity’s Practice Management and Consulting program which offers a broad range of solutions for advisors – focusing on everything from technology to operations to strategy.

“While advisors plan for a living, planning for themselves and their own growth often falls off the priority list,” said Ross Ozer, senior vice president and head of marketing at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “Marketing without a plan is like playing the game Whac-a-Mole – if there’s no strategy and just a series of tactics, advisors can’t pinpoint what’s working for their specific firm. Having a personalized plan in place is essential. This guide helps advisors create that plan and also provides the resources to help guide them toward action and execution.”

Using an interactive process, Fidelity’s toolkit provides advisors with worksheets to assess how they’re doing as well as access to Fidelity proprietary resources to help them execute on their plans. As they complete the worksheets, they can rank their progress based on a scale that goes from red (not doing well) to yellow (needs improvement) to green (doing well).

The toolkit takes advisors through a four-step process to evaluate their practices’ goals and needs and then develop specific action plans that they can implement. The end result: a personalized plan based on the opportunities and priorities for their firms’ specific needs, with the insights needed to help execute effectively. The four steps include:

1. Confirm Your Business Strategy and Growth Goals: The first step to building an effective action plan starts with advisors answering questions about the foundation of their practices.

They should identify specifics for the current year such as: number of existing clients, centers of influence (COIs), prospects they met with, the total number of wins and the success rate. This will enable them to estimate their goals for next year.

2. Evaluate Your Practice: Before selecting tactics, advisors should make sure their fundamentals are solid and they’ve thoroughly analyzed opportunities for improvement. The next step is to assess their practices’ current efforts against four business development and marketing growth areas:
Firm Story: Is your firm telling your story in a way that is consistent, clear and differentiates your practice?
Relationship Quality: How strong are your current relationships and are you monitoring your clients’ satisfaction?
Communications Program: Do you have communications campaigns that help create awareness of your firm?
Plan: Do you have structures in place to help drive new business, and are you using your written plan to track for client referrals?

3. Identify Your Opportunities and Set Priorities: Using the results of the assessment, advisors can move forward and review areas for improvement (yellows and reds) and identify specific fixes that might have the greatest impact given limitations on time and resources.

They should start by looking at which channel (i.e., client referrals, COI referrals) has produced the greatest growth and prioritize those opportunities that will help drive the strategy for that channel. For instance, a good website is important for communicating a firm’s message, but nailing the overall firm story is fundamental to everything and will benefit all areas of growth.
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4. Develop Your Action Plan: Once a firm has identified gaps in its practice and established priorities, it’s time to develop the action plan. The action plan will help move a firm from yellow or red to green.

Advisors may want to start by reviewing the opportunities and documenting which specific actions they should undertake -- and in what order -- to drive growth and results. This includes identifying a target completion date for each opportunity, along with the person who will be accountable for delivering results, and of course, considering budget implications.

The most important part of the process happens after the plan is created: don’t just put it in a drawer and forget about it. Advisors should review the plan regularly to ensure that they’re hitting target dates and desired metrics.

“While most RIAs want to grow their business, most don’t have marketing and business development experts on staff to focus on those areas,” said Ozer. “As part of our practice management program, we’ve done hundreds of marketing consults, and we host conferences across the country with sessions focused on marketing and business development. This guide is the next step in the process and provides advisors with the resources to help them develop a plan. The key is to find the time to review the plan on a regular basis.”

About Fidelity Practice Management and Consulting Program
The Fidelity Practice Management and Consulting Program is a multi-faceted client service that provides advisors access to a wide array of insights, best practices, strategic consulting services and business-oriented tools and programs to help accelerate business growth, maximize productivity and protect their practices.ii

About Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services
Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services is a leading provider of trading, custody and brokerage services to Registered Investment Advisors, Trust Institutions and Third Party Administrators. The company is able to leverage the capital, resources and expertise of the Fidelity organization, one of the world’s largest financial services companies, on behalf of its clients. This includes access to a comprehensive set of products and services, innovative investment tools and research, an integrated brokerage and trust platform, and dedicated client service professionals – all designed to help its clients thrive by growing their businesses, more effectively meeting customer needs, and enhancing operational efficiency and profitability. Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services custodies $660 billion in assets on behalf of over 3,200 clients, as of June 30, 2013. For more information about Fidelity’s services, please visit http://fiws.fidelity.com.

About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $4.3 trillion, including managed assets of $1.8 trillion, as of July 31, 2013. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.

 i Source: 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study. The 2011 Fidelity RIA Benchmarking Study was fielded from 8/1/2011 - 9/26/2011. RIA firms with total assets under management in excess of $20M who custody some portion of their assets with Fidelity were invited. 375 firms participated in the study.
ii When appropriate, Fidelity works closely with third-party providers to offer its practice management solutions. The third-party vendors participating in the Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program are not the only firms that provide products and services of this kind. Fidelity does not provide recommendations or endorsements with respect to any Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program vendor or any such vendor’s products and services. Each client should conduct its own independent diligence before engaging a vendor and determine whether the particular vendor is right for them. Clients deciding to employ the services of, or purchase products offered by, a vendor in the Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program will be required to work directly with the vendor. Fidelity is not a party to any business or contractual relationship between Fidelity Practice Management & Consulting Program vendors and Fidelity clients.

Service marks appearing herein are the property of FMR LLC.

Clearing, custody or other brokerage services may be provided by National Financial Services LLC, or Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC. Members NYSE, SIPC. 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210.

Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, Inc., 500 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

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