Having a detailed and properly developed marketing plan can help take control of your efforts and create more effective campaigns.

“Most people, including financial planners, live in a reactionary mode and this forces you to be proactive about your marketing,” says Mark Wardell, president of Wardell Professional Development in Toronto. “Without a marketing plan, you are much less likely to accomplish your marketing goals.”

Consider these tips from experts when you’re developing your marketing plan:

Who is it for?

Think about who is involved in the plan — is it just for yourself or are you a part of a larger company?

If you are independent, you can create a very detailed plan for yourself, says Wardell. However, if you are part of a large company, the marketing plan will be similar to that of an independent advisor — except that it will also work with the company’s values and goals.

Find your position

Identify whom your marketing plan will target by including a position statement.

Sandra Bekhor, president of Bekhor Management in Toronto, describes the position statement as very similar to a mission statement only more concrete.

“In a nutshell, it’s basically what do you do, who is it for, why is it different, it’s very simple and to the point,” she explains.

Identify competitors

Write a detailed description of your competition — both direct and indirect — in your marketing plan. Direct competition is someone your client could go to instead of you, says Bekhor. This could be another financial advisor. Indirect competition is someone within the industry that could be a resource, but not a direct competitor, such as an accountant.


Create a budget in the marketing plan and be realistic. The budget covers everything from brochures to website updates.

Five per cent of your total budget is an average number to put toward marketing, says Wardell; but, it’s also important to consider your own investment and the quality of product you want.

“You need to be willing to invest some money into your marketing campaign in order to come across as professional,” he says. “You’re giving a contradictory message to your customer when you give them a low-quality marketing piece.”

Map out events

Use the marketing plan to map out the campaigns you want to cover. Wardell suggests six to eight campaigns a year, including seminars or brochures that can be themed to different times — such as RRSP season.

Organize the events using a spreadsheet chart with the planned campaigns going down the left hand side and then months listed across the top. Then, plug into the chart which month you want the campaigns to take place, says Wardell.

Once the dates are finalized create a little mini-plan for each campaign including details and a budget.

When to update

Creating a marketing plan can take a lot of time and work, but it can also be relevant for a few years.

The full comprehensive marketing plan with the positioning statement only needs to be redone every three years, says Bekhor.

However, the specifics of the marketing plan, such as the campaigns, should be done at the beginning of each year. Bekhor says: “It’s very hard to predict what’s going to work for you for more than a year a time.”