Customer Benefits versus Profits for Financial Planning Service Providers (Part 1)
This piece follows an earlier article we have published entitled “A Fitting Financial Planning Reply to Sub-Prime Rogues”. Our research in to relevant Business Management literature seems to suggest that executives cannot maintain upward stock price trends if customer integration is merely perfunctory. The stock market may have reasons to underscore the nominal aspects of financial planning, but true business value must be forged through marketing fundamentals. The matter assumes additional business importance when we consider the transition from tangible product features to intangible service benefits that seems to mark most stock exchange listings.
Statutory accounts as required by stock market regulators allow companies to depreciate marketing investments fully in a single financial year. This is on top of a widespread practice of preparing balance sheets without any inclusion of brand values in the assets of a corporation. This is a stereo sledge-hammer for marketing as a discipline because the only way you can keep stock investors happy is by doing less work! That is not to say that all criticism of marketing expenses is unjustified, but to underscore the unproductive contradictions between business management guidance and stock exchange priorities. Even avid supporters of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will not laud that body for its marketing finesse! SEC Chair People, like their peers in the Federal Reserve, and other watering holes of Washington, are snapped up by private financial institutions even while their seats are still warm, but have you have ever heard of a marketing firm with top brands hiring former regulators, Vice-Presidents, British Prime Ministers, or even Ambassadors?
Why Stock Investors Must Lead the Customer Satisfaction Charge
Marketing does not need stock market charity. Stock investors should adopt marketing orphans, not for altruistic ideals, but out of pragmatic self-interest. Due diligence is often about discovering hidden assets that appear in no balance sheets: consider how the Tatas from India have bid to buy Jaguar, while they also showcase the world’s cheapest car! You do not have to be a suit to know that some of the best stocks have hidden values because of the brands they own. It is therefore incumbent on all stock owners to encourage the management teams that serve them to invest in productive marketing.
Only customers can determine whether marketing expenditures are useful or not. Consider marketing through the telephone and your electronic mail box. It is very likely that more than one company, in which you own stock, blows your savings, even as you read this, making utterly unwanted approaches to consumers, at most inopportune times and manners! However, the less annoying but more serious phenomenon is of executives cutting back on essential communication programs just in order to meet some manipulative quarterly targets. Your stocks can actually do much better in real terms if you do not pressure executives to window-dress quarter-end numbers.