Fidelity Investments has expanded its marketing consulting program for financial advisers with a new “Business Development and Marketing Planning Toolkit.”

The interactive toolkit helps advisers make the most of referrals by helping them outline their practice’s goals and articulate its unique strengths. It helps them assess their current business development efforts, identify areas of opportunity for client acquisition and implement a plan.

“We know that advisers who clearly define their target markets are able to spend nearly 20% more time on revenue-generating activities,” said David E. Canter, executive vice president and head of practice management and consulting at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services.

“Many advisers select their marketing tactics without having a specific strategy in mind, possibly missing the full return they are seeking,” Canter said. “A core component of our efforts to help advisers grow, the toolkit combines a holistic point of view to help advisers develop an effective growth plan than can help meet the distinct needs of their firms.”

Advisers can use the toolkit on their own, work with a Fidelity relationship manager or engage in a deeper marketing consultation with Fidelity’s marketing specialists.

The first step asks advisers to assess which growth channel is best for them: client referrals, centers of influence or new prospects.

After that, advisers are asked to assess areas of their practices strengths. Do they consistently and effectively tell their practice’s “story”? Do they have strong, high-quality relationships with their clients? If so, are they effectively leveraging these relationships to grow their business? Do they have a proactive communications and marketing program? How structured of a growth plan do they have and what disciplines are in place to drive its success?

Once these opportunities are outlined, advisers are helped to select marketing tools and tactics, be they online, through advertisements or client communications. The toolkit takes advisers through a cost-benefit analysis for each.

Next, the toolkit helps advisers create a formal marketing plan, with calendar deadlines.

“The need to develop and execute a disciplined business and marketing plan is critical to the growth of a practice, but often an overwhelming task,” said Paul Brahim, executive vice president with BPU Investment Management of Pittsburgh. “Fidelity’s toolkit outlined a clear process and has been a catalyst for creating a plan for our practice and individual plans for our advisers. In addition, we have adopted the methodology and incorporated the process into our quarterly adviser training sessions and have already begun to see real business results.”

Fidelity is complementing the toolkit with practice management and marketing workshops around the country. To date, 100 advisers have attended the workshops already held, and future events are scheduled for Boston, Dallas, Data Point, Calif., New York and San Francisco.

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