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Jason Berry: Choose substance over style

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The battle of the Christmas adverts has begun. With John Lewis’ predictably emotional Man on the Moon advert competing with Sainsbury’s’ unlucky cat Mog attempting to save Christmas and Marks and Spencer’s’ ultra-modern offering, it’s clear the supermarkets have gone all out this year to bag the best festive advert accolade.

For many these adverts signal the start of the Christmas season but each year I cannot help but be struck by the feeling it is a case of style over substance. Why spend millions on an advert telling people to come to your store this festive season when, in a lot of cases, that money could have been spent on making the experience for shoppers who do go to the stores more enjoyable with better products on offer?

The same applies in financial services. All too often firms are too concerned with appearing to be the best option for brokers or consumers and less bothered about whether they actually are. Fancy marketing campaigns and flashy introductory deals are all well and good but if you cannot deliver in the long run your customers are going to lose out.

And while competition is indeed healthy, if all of your focus is on competing with other providers in terms of marketing and putting other firms down, often you can lose sight of the importance of focusing on getting your own house in order.

Do not spend too much time worrying about what other firms are doing or not doing. Do not try and talk down their offering or disparage their products. Instead, spend that time and energy competing with yourself. Make your business better than it was last year. Focus on quality and offering the highest rated products you can.

Getting bogged down in a war of words with other companies or ploughing millions into gaudy marketing campaigns can help you lose focus. Keep your eyes – and your efforts – on what really matters.

Jason Berry is director of sales at Uinsure

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