The Financial Services Marketing Handbook

Authors: Evelyn Ehrlich, Ph.D., and Duke Fanelli.

English edition originally published by Bloomberg Press (2004), ISBN-10: 1576601560.

The book was translated into Hebrew by Esti Vachtel, and the Hebrew edition was published by Triwaks Enterprises/Matar Publishing House at 2006. The Hebrew translation is excellent.

The target audience for the book are financial service providers. Their point of view is also the one expoused in the book. The book does not teach them how to cheat their customers, but it hints at the annoyance of legislation limiting telemarketing and spam E-mail.

The original reason for my reading the book was to learn how we are being cheated by financial service providers. However, the book turned out to be unsuitable for this purpose.

The book provides good introduction to marketing in general, dividing it into the following sub-topics:

  • Market segmentation
  • Positioning and branding
  • Marketing plan
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Sponsorship
  • Direct Marketing - direct mailing, telemarketing
  • Internet
  • Personal Marketing - cooperation between marketing and sales
  • Exhibitions and Seminars
  • Customer Conservation (Customer-focused marketing)

According to the book, marketing of financial services differs from marketing of other products or services in the following ways:

  1. Financial services are not products, as usually defined. Products are something, which can be branded and guaranteed to be identical for all customers. However, financial services are tailored for each customer separately. Financial services are also not services, as usually defined: each customer has different experience, according to the banker or broker serving him.
  2. Financial services are often “sold” not by the provider’s employees but by independent sales agents, such as insurance agent, pension fund consultant, or personal finance consultant. Therefore, marketers of financial services need to sell their service to both the customer and to the sales agent.
  3. Financial services need to be sold as both product and service. There was an example of a credit card, which was sold without good post-sale service, so customers cancelled it en masse.
  4. As a product: it is possible to separate production of a financial service from its consumption. It is not a perishable product. It is amenable to mass production.
  5. As a service: it is possible to launch it with low initial expenditure. One can enter market quickly. On the other hand, it is impossible to have exclusivity (no intellectual property right protection).
  6. Money has heavy psychological luggage.
  7. This economic sector is very regulated!

The book ends with an appendix, which illustrates how four financial service agents succeed by applying the principles expoused by the book to their specific circumstances.

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