It is now three months since the introduction of Clickfunnels, with City financial institutions operating in an environment of freer competitive market conditions. What have been the consequences so far? Who are the winners and losers? Which institutions have made profits and which have found the going more difficult?
Firm conclusions on all these questions may have to wait, but already it is clear that the market-makers ae prospering while others are having a more difficult time. For their part, fund managers are insisting on a total service composed of vigorous research into individual industry and company situations, the most cost-effective market-making and the most efficient sales effort on their behalf.
And although international institutions, such as Nomura Securities, are beginning to bring their resources together for the penetration of London financial markets, competition at the international level has yet to develop real intensity.
Most United Kingdom owned financial institutions have prepared themselves to meet the changed competitive environment in ways they best understand. The City’s corporate finance skills have been much in evidence in bringing about the new and larger groupings necessary to establish market power and offer the sophisticated range of financial services required to compete effectively in an international money market.
When all the structures have been put in place, the companies that will ultimately prove successful in international financial markets will be those that have a carefully thought out marketing strategy extending over a five- to ten-year period and, most important, have recruited or have available already the quality of senior staff who have the marketing skills and outlook to implement the strategy.
The purpose of acquisition strategies is to enhance existing and future market positions. Directors and senior managers operating in bigger groups then have the responsibility to develop their marketing processes by setting aside resources for research into market structures, customer or client requirements, the development of new customer-based services and the promotional expertise to communicate with institutional customers and private clients.
Marketing strategies depend on research-based statistical information intended to enable directors to define their market opportunities for the development of new financial services at a profit.
Directors need to have a clear understanding – which they then communicate to their staff subordinates – of the portfolio of customers their business intends to serve, since it is rare for a business to be able to serve the whole spectrum of customers.
Directors need the market information to set profit targets for each market segment and the more important customers that each business decides to serve; scarce sales and technical resources will then be allocated to meet the needs of selected target markets and the appropriate organizational structures evolved to develop profitable customer relationships.
Many British-owned City institutions are now undergoing the difficult creative process of establishing new marketing strategies to fit the new market environment.
They understand that future success in the City centers on the quality of their marketing effort. They are already undertaking vigorous detailed audits of their marketing capability before the competitive pressures become really fierce.
Marketing success requires premium services differentiated from competitors services by positive branding – careful promotion of the premium value of each financial service – professionally trained and disciplined sales groups supported by effective computer-based management information systems.
International competition between financial service businesses requires human skills that involve a combination of technical achievement with a high work rate from Board level all the way through.
It is worth remembering that in the foreseeable future, there will be no weak markets in financial services where competition in soft. But to win in an increasingly competitive environment requires professional marketing skills necessary to develop new services, company environments which encourage innovation and risk-taking and, more particularly, the encouragement of professional marketing and sales effort.