Phil Bray on helping financial advisers do marketing and building his own agency – MAF173

My guest on the show this week is Phil Bray, one time financial adviser who launched a marketing agency for financial advisers

We talk about the lessons he learned from building the Yardstick Agency and the importance of putting together a marketing strategy before diving into communications, something I’ve been banging a drum about for years.

Welcome to episode 173 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Phil Bray on helping financial advisers do marketing and building his own agency - MAF173

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why Phil set up his marketing agency to support financial advisers
  • How he helps his clients find their target market
  • How he built the Yardstick Agency
  • The mistakes and challenges he faced in business
  • The process he takes new clients through
  • How Phil promotes the Yardstick agency

Who is Phil Bray?

Phil started as a financial adviser in 1995. He spent four years as a tied agent, before becoming an IFA (independent financial adviser) in 1999, which he did for 10 years. He sold his business in 2009 when he started to feel disillusioned with the red tape and compliance requirements of being a financial adviser.

Looking for a new challenge after serving his time as an IFA, Phil worked as Head of Marketing for two different businesses. He now runs The Yardstick Agency, which provides marketing advice and support to financial services companies.

Summary of our chat

Phil explained that he knew many advisers and planners weren’t good at marketing their business. But he also knew that financial planning can be of huge benefit for the people who receive it. He wanted to get this across to the general public and help financial advisers and planners market their business at the same time.

Phil believes that you can’t start marketing your business until you know who your target market is. You need to know everything you possibly can about your niche or market. It’s tempting for advisers to say anyone is their customer, but Yardstick work to help their clients to identify their audience and their needs.

The first decision Phil made for Yardstick was to specialise in financial services. He had three goals: to help advisers with their marketing, improve awareness of the value of advice and create opportunities in Nottingham. He sought advice from trusted people and spent a lot of time on building the website.

Phil said his biggest challenge with setting up his business was to find the right people for each role, rather than relying on freelancers. He made mistakes, such as trying to please everyone all the time. He said that pricing and understanding the value of his offering was vital.

Phil says it’s important for Yardstick to have synergy with the way financial advisers work with their clients. So they help them to create a marketing strategy, put it in place for them or support internal implementation and provide ongoing support. They also work on specific projects such as branding or web design.

Phil says he’s a big believer in content and inbound marketing and works to demonstrate expertise, give value and help people wherever possible. They update the website regularly. There’s a weekly blog, Phil is active on Twitter and as a podcast guest. He uses the same tactics for his clients.

The big take away from our chat

Phil found it hard to choose just one tip! Firstly, you need to enjoy what you do, because if you don’t, then you need to change things. Secondly, have a belief that what you’re doing is making a difference to your clients – for Yardstick, they help their customers to build more successful businesses.

A marketing campaign or product that grabbed Phil’s attention

Phil says that he feels the financial services profession is now more willing to share and give back than at any other point in the last two decades. For example, the Humans Under Management event organised by Andy Hart, Back2Y from Paul Armson, Science of Retirement from Abraham Okusanya and the work being done by NextGen.

The organisers could focus more on their day job, but they’ve hosted events to share good ideas among their peers, and it’s fantastic to see. It’s also happening in the B2C space, and it helps people understand more about all aspects of finance.

Phil’s book recommendation

Phil recommends How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Even though it was written 80 years ago, it’s still as relevant today in the world of digital media, because it’s about the fundamental basics of how to interact with people.

Phil enjoyed Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed, saying that he’s read it a few times, as well as having the audio version in the car, and also How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis. The title isn’t reflective of the book itself, which is a series of short articles and anecdotes.

Links and contact details

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