Peter Bowman, FAMI CPM and Managing Director at Adviser Marketing Week, is using his marketing career to drive change in the financial planning marketing services sector. Serving entrepreneurial and client focused advice providers across Australia, Peter is banking on the financial services sector further evolving post the royal commission.
Marketing values that bring about improved stakeholder, client focus and client experience outcomes are now more important than ever. Having a strong marketing orientation can also play a really positive part of developing the right kind of culture within a business. As marketers, we can look forward to the day when there are more CPM’s on the boards of our big 4 banks. Financial statements don’t show client value, client outcomes, complaints, brand equity or client satisfaction and loyalty. In time they might.
Below, Bowman shares insights into his lifelong interest in financial service marketing, how the sector benefits from marketing principles and the challenges of working as both a services provider and a small business.
How did you start your career and what were the deciding factors that led to becoming a Private Marketing Consultant and Managing Director at Advisor Marketing Week?
Many years ago, completing my Business (Marketing/Human Resource Management) degree I joined the AMI as a student member. As a student I enjoyed the concept of services marketing. While most of my peers at the time were more interested in FMCG brands, I was more interested in services and the connection between staff and delivery. I went on to complete a Business (Honours) degree with a thesis on service quality and marketing. I was fortunate to land my first marketing co-ordinator role with what was at the time, Australia’s first fee for service financial planning business and my career in financial advice and wealth management businesses continued from there.
Having reached ‘head of roles’ within publicly listed businesses, I decided that I needed a break from the cut and thrust of corporate life. I also had the wish to publish my own book on services marketing called ‘Service 7’. It was at that time that I set up Adviser Marketing Week as a marketing agency, which initially started as a marketing blog and provided me with an outlet for my ideas about financial planning marketing.
Why do you think that marketing skills are so invaluable in the professional services sector?
Professional advice providers, if they be financial planners, accountants, doctors, dentists, lawyers or architects are very skilled at what they do. Most people don’t realise the amount of training they do, or the ongoing professional development they need to maintain their ability to practice. You might even say we take them for granted.
As one of my own clients often tells me, ‘people don’t know what they don’t know’. The same applies here. What they’re not good at though is telling their story. That’s where a marketing skill set can step up. They’re also not very good sometimes at service delivery. Often administration and compliance requirements determine the process. Sometimes the voice of the client is lost and the client experience isn’t great. My personal belief is that service marketing delivers when great communication meets great service design. You need both working in the same direction.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your role as the Managing Director?
I think the best part of leading a small business with a specific niche focus is that you get to know your industry really well. Additionally the role also affords what would sometimes be a luxury in corporate life in that you get to actually stop doing the do, and step back and think. Problem solving, creativity and reflection require space. Corporate roles and their challenges don’t often provide that kind of space to their marketing people, even though the businesses would really benefit from that kind of thinking.
I see the same challenge for my clients too. They’re so busy working in their business as a service provider, they often don’t take the time to take that hat off and spend some time thinking about their business challenges as a business owner.
What are they biggest challenges you face when working with professional advice providers on their marketing strategy and implementation?
The biggest challenge working with professional advice providers on their marketing strategy and implementation is ensuring you secure the right kind of client engagement from the start. It’s really important for clients to engage fully with the marketing efforts for their businesses. It’s important to realise you’re their professional advice provider, you need to do a fact find and you need to understand what their experience in marketing has been, including past outcomes. This is all before you offer any solutions to their current marketing challenges.
How has your CPM designation helped you further hone your skills in the marketing profession and what can the marketing sector learn from the way professional services run?
Working in professional advice environments and given the intangible nature of services, it’s important to have symbols. For financial planners it’s CFP, for accountants it’s CA or CPA and for marketing types like us it’s the CPM. We all know reputation matters. It especially matters where you’re dealing with important aspects of people’s lives (health, financial or other). As a designation and as a part of a marketing community I think it’s really important that we have a set of shared values in doing what we do and what we aspire to be.
I think that as financial services will evolve even further post the royal commission. Marketing values that bring about improved stakeholder, client focus and client experience outcomes are now more important than ever. I think a strong marketing orientation can also play a really positive part of developing the right kind of culture within a business too. I look forward to the day when there are more CPM’s on the boards of our big 4 banks. Financial statements don’t show client value, client outcomes, complaints, brand equity or client satisfaction and loyalty. In time they might.
About Peter Bowman
Peter Bowman, FAMI CPM, Managing Director at Adviser Marketing Week.
Peter studied Marketing and Human Resource Management at Charles Sturt University and went onto receive a Bachelor of Business (Honours) first class at The University of South Australia, for this thesis on service quality management and marketing. Before starting his own consultancy, Peter worked in marketing for independent and institutionally owned financial services businesses across financial advice, superannuation, and funds management. In 2012 he published a book on financial planning marketing called ‘Service 7’.