Tony Dunne is a Director and Chartered Financial Planning Advisor at Murdoch Asset Management in Alton, Hampshire, one of IWP’s founding IFA firms. Tony is responsible for running Murdoch Asset Management’s marketing activity as well as advising private clients.
For the 2nd chapter of our “Meet the Adviser” series, he explains how he is leading the charge in testing a new approach to lead generation via digital marketing, working closely with IWP’s central marketing team to benefit from their expertise.
Q) Could you provide an overview of Murdoch’s current marketing approach?
Our entire business has been founded with investment strategy and inheritance tax planning seminars. The first lunch was way back in 1991 and has evolved over time into highly reputed events held at prestigious venues. Much of our new business also comes from existing client referrals, friends, colleagues and family members. Our clients regularly need new wills and lasting powers of attorney and we have built a network of local solicitors and other professionals who we would recommend them to. This has created reciprocal enquiries from the Solicitor’s own clients and has become a significant source of new business too.
Q) How does Murdoch drive lead generation?
Our main client acquisition activity is still our seminars and we run twelve events each year. We have also used a ‘low drive-high empathy’ professional telesales organisation to make appointments with solicitors and care home managers to further market our investment management and care fees planning. We have done many technical talks to solicitors’ private client meetings and open days and relatives’ meetings in care homes.
Q) Why host investment seminars and lunches?
It’s an effective way to bring people into an environment where they feel relaxed and can learn. The seminars are highly informative but clearly presented, we show clients we care and that we can help without pressuring them to take action. This results in clients feeling far more comfortable approaching us with their needs, unlike a hard sales approach.
Even with existing client referrals, we encourage individuals to attend a seminar first. By attending a seminar, they can hear about the things that matter to them. This contrasts with the initial meetings, where it can be difficult to give clients an understanding of the range of our services, such as our award-winning investment management and comprehensive inheritance tax planning.
Q) How does Murdoch advertise the seminars?
We have used direct mailing for years and buy lists from data providers who identify prospective clients. Each mailshot markets a series of four seminars, held two weeks apart at different venues. We mail 19,000 people twice for the same events, three weeks apart and the second mailer is slightly different to the first. Around 40 people attend each event and on average secures us six new clients over time.
Q) What messages were more effective in direct mail?
Tell them there is an event and they should attend. You need to tell people up front what the event is and why it’s a good idea for them to attend because they’ll find it informative, interesting and a valuable use of their time. We typically keep messages simple and factual, eg. “you’re paying too much tax and your investments aren’t optimal”.
Some clients come to us with a clear need, for example they are retiring or want to invest money, but for the most part we find it is more serendipitous – “I was just thinking about that when your leaflet came through the door”.
Patience and regular contact is essential – sometimes it takes years, my personal record is 8.5 years from a client attending an event and doing their first piece of business.
Q) What new marketing approach are you currently testing to drive leads to your seminars?
We are looking to Facebook advertising to drive leads to our seminars. We’ve found that our target audience is increasingly digital-savvy and connected on social media (Facebook and LinkedIn), with over 50s now the biggest audience on these sites after millennials and the audience keeps growing. At Murdoch, we are always looking to innovate our marketing approach and find more efficient ways to get quality leads to register to one of our free seminars. I strongly believe that digital marketing can replace our direct mailing approach over time once we have tested enough campaigns to optimise the activity, saving us a lot of marketing spend. The advantage of “going digital” is that we can better track our leads by connecting our online contact forms to salesforce.com. This means that our outbound sales team will be able to reach out to these people in a more efficient way and follow-up.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, we’re about to start a ‘Speak to one of our experts’ campaign to book direct telephone appointments with our advisers. People are very worried about their investment now, and need calm and assertive guidance on what to do when everyone else is losing their cool. The Global Financial Crisis over a decade ago was a significant growth time for our business – people need our help now, more than ever…
We’re also planning to create digital versions of our seminars in the form of webinars hosted on our website. These will have the same proven content as our in-person events, but presented in a new more dynamic way and will hopefully help us drive even more leads by getting more people to watch our free content and book a first meeting with us.
Tony Dunne, Director at Murdoch Asset Management