by Evelyn Ehrlich and Duke Fanelli
reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
This book, though not a good financial services marketing handbook, is still a good addition to your company's library. Marketing consultant Evelyn Ehrlich and Louis "Duke" Fanelli, vice president of marketing at AXA, wrote The Financial Services Marketing Handbook. I think this book is mistitled. A handbook should be something that I keep at my desk and refer to as I go about my tasks. For it to be valuable as a handbook, I would need checklists, step-by-step procedures, or even a flowchart to get me through a general or specific marketing campaign. You will find none of that in this book. As a handbook, it fails.
Why, then, do I think it is an important part of a planner's library? Because most financial planning firms know nothing about marketing. This is a failure of most small businesses. Most financial professionals equate marketing with advertising. That's like saying financial planning is akin to investing. Not that investing is not important to a person's financial well being; it's just that there is a whole lot more to financial planning (as you well know) than investing. And marketing is a whole lot more than just advertising. In fact, in my own business, I do less and less advertising each year and more and more marketing.
Why do I think this book is an important part of a planner's library? Because it will give the planner, or whoever in the office is given the job of marketing, an idea of just what marketing is all about. Honestly, almost any textbook on marketing will do the same thing. This one by Ehrlich and Fanelli is advantageous in that they use examples from the financial services industry to which planners can relate, albeit examples from much larger organizations than the average financial planning firm.
Get the book (or dust off your college marketing text) and give yourself a good review of what true marketing entails before you get down to the nitty-gritty. Then start looking for a true handbook.
Gary Silverman, CFP®, is the owner of a fee-only financial planning and investment advisory firm in Wichita Falls, Texas.