Has your marketing team reached their highest level of incompetency...

Whilst at university someone said this to me: "When we stop seeking the truth, we defend our version of it".

The young zealot who said it had some lofty ideals about the world and our place in it, but these words have never left me.

They apply as much to business as any other facet of life and are especially pertinent in regards financial marketing – where I have spent the last 20 years. That’s because it’s all too easy to rely on in-house processes that have always worked in the past, without looking for new methods that may be more effective.

However, this reluctance to engage with new ideas and trends can be damaging for your business, leading to the growth of a defensive culture that protects existing positions and processes, without thought being given to their drawbacks.

This is particularly true when faced with new ideas and trends suggested by external providers of marketing services and products. Sadly, both sides end up defending their own position and a stalemate is reached. The business defends its way of doing things, because it has clearly worked at some point, whilst service providers and product companies merely push what they are selling without analysing what is actually needed. Neither party is seeking the truth and both defend their positions, which ultimately leads to no change for the business – in effect fighting tribal wars #ironlionzion

But there is another way. To ensure future growth, a business has to change from a defensive organisation into a learning organisation. A learning organisation is a company that is guided by these five principles:


  • Systems thinking
  • Personal mastery
  • Mental models
  • Building shared vision
  • Team learning

I haven’t got the space to provide a long explanation of these principles, although an in-depth analysis is available via this excellent article on the subject. Suffice to say that a learning organisation is one that’s willing to evolve, adapt and embrace new ideas to drive success and growth.

However, challenging existing processes isn’t always easy, particularly if you are part of a defensive organisation.

This is something we focused on in a recent ProFundCom round table meeting. The following data-driven discussion points were suggested as a basis for successful change:


  • Purpose – how will change allow you to better raise or preserve AuM?
  • Method – how will you change? This question demands an analysis of which of your current processes do still work, as well as honest admittance of those that don’t. Also, try and share examples of success and generate new ideas to test.
  • Outputs – how will new methods actually work? Develop a blueprint for a typical operations cycle (skills and strategies) with variance for different areas and client types, as well as a realistic time plan for phases of the cycle.
  • Outcome – what is the long-term plan for your business? How will this change affect both clients and staff?

Sitting around a table and thrashing out these points with senior colleagues is an essential starting point for change.

However, to make this process truly successful you need to have access to deep data that tells you about your customers and how you can target them more effectively.

If your objective is to raise and preserve AuM then this data needs to focus on the following:


  • Prospects/investors that have suddenly started reading your information
  • Prospects/investors that are continually reading your information
  • Prospects/investors that have stopped reading your information
  • The messages that are most read by prospects/investors

This type of data enables you to develop a path to success, as it is concerned with the most important thing to your company - the people you are selling to. By analysing this data, and acting accordingly, you can reap the rewards on offer to a company willing to learn and change.

 Don’t Be Defensive - It’s Bad For Your Business Health



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