Many Firms Found to be 'Off the Mark'

As financial services firms tinker with their marketing campaigns in response to the temperamental economy, many are off the mark on how to attract and retain affluent clients, according to a new report by Forrester Research.

Forrester recently surveyed 2,505 US and Canadian households with at least $1 million in investable assets.

Forrester found those surveyed to be confident about the economy and the market, secure in their wealth, and optimistic about technology. Therefore, they do not respond to the fear inducing marketing messages currently put out there by many financial services firms. To gain market share, Forrester recommends breeding loyalty and promoting a cohesive, relevant brand experience.

'The bottom line is that retaining customers costs less than acquisition, and loyal customers buy more frequently and spend more,' said Ekaterina W. Walsh, Ph.D., senior analyst at Forrester. 'Moreover, loyal customers are a firm's best acquisition vehicle. One of the top three ways affluent investors learned about their most-recently chosen financial provider was through some sort of referral.'

According to Forrester, to increase loyalty, companies must get back to the basics of understanding their customers. Forrester analyzed four areas in which consumers interact with financial institutions: advice, branches, Web sites, and customer service. They found that not only does the affluent client expect timely, relevant and customized advice, but 84% expect online and offline advice to complement each other.

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