In a recent post in Bank Investment Consultant, Margarida Correia points out that financial advisors face threats from direct providers like Charles Schwab and Fidelity – the very firms that are in many cases are providing the underlying services for the RIA.

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Yet the article also points out a positive:

“It’s not all gloom and doom for advisors, though. Despite the inroads direct account providers have made, financial advisors still offer more robust services and can differentiate themselves by offering more personalized advice, including detailed financial planning, according to Cerulli.

“Advisors can differentiate themselves by creating a personal brand,” said Wolf. They can create a “client niche,” something that would set them apart from what the “bigger, broader firms are offering,” Wolf said.”

More Evidence of Ineffective Marketing

In an earlier survey by ByAllAccounts, Inc., the majority of financial advisors report low effectiveness of their marketing efforts, despite placing a high value on marketing.

It is clear that advisors are by and large not focusing their efforts on the most efficient marketing strategies. A large number of survey respondents still depend strongly on word of mouth and referrals for new business, and very few have dedicated marketing staff. Further, while most do advisors incorporate their websites into their marketing strategy, they also reported finding their website marketing strategy to be neutral or ineffective.

Some Strategies to Consider

Advisors should improve their websites first. In our presentations with Advisor Groups, we always point out how “all roads lead back to the website” . Make sure your website is designed solidly, well branded, and brings more dynamic content. There are also a number of related tools and strategies that advisors can take advantage of to improve marketing effectiveness, even if working with a limited budget.

  • Google Analytics, a free data analysis tool, monitors website traffic and enables users to visualize and analyze the effectiveness of their website marketing strategy. This will highlight areas where improvement is necessary and will allow advisors to take the next steps in improving their marketing strategy.
  • Soon, the Revenizer will launch giving a range of pre-built, easy to use scorecards. Sign up now and you will get in the loop for a free free service! We recommend this tool because too many people are not taking the time to look at the analytics and this tool makes it easy. (Revenue Architects is an investor in Revenizer)
  • Advisors have also largely neglected to take advantage of search engine optimization and marketing automation software, both of which are strategies that can have a significant impact on client acquisition. Optimizing the firm’s website in order to be found by search engines will attract more traffic to the website and in turn new business to the firm.
  • Off page strategies – like PR and Social Media presence adds more inbound links to your site.
  • Newsletters and email campaigns are well known as a great way to stay in touch – and the technologies for this (like Mailchimp and Constant Contact among others) are improving dramatically.
  • For advisors with more serious ambition to lead in marketing effectiveness, we recommend and help manage more robust marketing automation software solutions to drive greater impact and deliver more control.

Take a more systematic approach to marketing. Here are five steps:

  1. Define your target markets / niches carefully. Build personas around each segment
  2. Build your target universe of existing and potential clients (combining opt-in and acquisition strategies)
  3. Deploy a Revenue System – processes and technologies for email, social media, website, content, lead nurturing and development, CRM
  4. Run creative, tailored content-driven campaigns for each target segment
  5. Nurture clients with technology to help self-filter the wrong clients and encourage the  right clients to your firm.

Revenue Architects helps financial advisors develop these strategies as well as select and operate the marketing technology systems that will work best for their firm based on ambition for AUM, target market and available resources. Reach us at

This post is being shared this week in our updated Newsletter which we plan to publish about once a month. The newsletter is designed to be easy to scan at a glance so readers can click only articles of interest. Articles are pulled from “Things We Think”, the Revenue Architects Blog. The blog is named after the 2001 Viant weblog.


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Viant was an innovative company designed from the ground up to build digital businesses. We also created Revenue Architects from the ground up – to address our client’s revenue agenda. We thought the name worked.

The Business Issue

The pursuit of top-line revenue growth is more challenging than ever. The web, social media and mobile technologies have transformed buyer process. Businesses must integrate marketing and sales and better engage the web to capture, deepen and expand relationships. Yet, executing successfully requires a wide range of talent – from creative design and branding to content creation and technology. At the same time, some of the best experts are working independently from the traditional agency. We flexibly and adaptively bring these expert teams to our clients – helping them capture customer value with new marketing and sales.

2012 Momentum

Thanks to great clients, a great team and an extended expert network, Revenue Architects enjoyed a solid 2011 and is off to a great start in 2012. We continually refine our business model to ensure we are positioned to adaptively deliver marketing support for our client’s growth agenda. We are celebrating new members of the team, expansion of our client base, an updated website and new offices in downtown Boston. Here are some highlights:

Welcome to “Things We Think” and our newsletter. We hope you are able to enjoy some of the perspectives and thank you to all that helped Revenue Architects have a successful 2011 and start for 2012.

It is great to be kicking off the Revenue Grader development project working with our partners Icicle Technologies.

Revenue Grader will be an entertaining yet informative way for business leaders to quickly and easily measure their potential for revenue performance. By self-scoring maturity levels across three main domains of a revenue architecture (Revenue Strategy, Revenue Systems and Revenue Programs), leaders  can rate maturity levels, identify gaps and map priorities for a marketing plan.

We decided to test drive the Revenue Grader with a set of B2B mid-market companies working with the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (SACC).





About the SACC:

“The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce plays a vital and active role in assisting Swiss companies in the United States and U.S. companies in Switzerland to expand their business. The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization.”

About the Workshop

The workshop for the SACC will explore the opportunities and challenges for small and medium sized B2B companies seeking to develop strategies to leverage social media and digital marketing to expand their businesses. This will be an interactive 6-hour workshop and will be limited to 8 companies and will include:

  • An overview and key principles of social media and digital marketing
  • Group discussion of lessons learned, best practices, and challenges
  • Working sessions to develop specific strategies for each participating company


Here are some metrics that Marketo and Eloqua suggest as what you might expect from successful lead nurture programs. Given the complexity of effectively implementing a personalized lead nurture program, it is interesting to see where the impacts might be and what benefits you might expect.




Marketo pointed to these metrics in a recent webinar invitation:

  • Fewer marketing-generated leads ignored by sales (from 80% to as low as 25%)
  • 150% increase in contact-to-lead conversion rate
  • 2-3x lift in conversion rates on raw leads to qualified opportunities
  • 20% more sales opportunities
  • 225% increase in volume of prospects that convert to sales opportunities
  • 7% points higher win rates on marketing-generated leads
  • 6% points lower rate of “no decisions”
  • 2x increase in bid-win ration
  • 47% higher average order values



Eloqua points to the following metrics and a case study in one of their white paper guides:

  • Improved conversion rates at every stage of the demand waterfall, most significantly at the top of the funnel
  • Nearly eliminated “unrated” leads in its database as a result of the discovery nurture
  • Increased suspect-to-MQL conversion rate from 8% to 11% on net new leads entering the system
  • Saw an additional 30% of “suspects” (or new visitors) convert to MQLs over time due to its seed nurture
  • Drove a 64% increase in SQL productivity from corporate sales development through cultivate nurtures
  • Increased by 118% the number of opportunities entering the pipeline

Below are some interesting facts and opinions about Facebook curated from the current Economist article.

“Last year the company had sales of $3.7 billion, a little below recent estimates, and made a net profit of $1 billion.”

“The network boasts 845m users, which, were Facebook a country, would make it the world’s third most populous, behind China and India.”

“Every day 250m photos are uploaded to the site. One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook, according to comScore, a research firm.”

“Facebook accessible to ever more people. (The Boston Consulting Group reckons that around 3 billion people will be online by 2016, up from 1.6 billion in 2010.) The second is the rise of the mobile phone. Already more than 425m people are tapping into Facebook on these devices and in future most of the social network’s growth will come from the mobile web. Together, these trends could propel the number of users beyond 1 billion.”

“People are now spending far more time on Facebook than on rival web services such as Google (see chart 2) and why it has benefited from strong network effects. ”

Another interesting perspective- will a new hot social network take over? Tumblr? Twitter?

“One is that people stop using Facebook, either because they lose interest or because they are put off by its behaviour. As News Corporation discovered to its cost after it splashed out $580m on Myspace in 2005, network effects can also go quickly into reverse. Once large numbers of people started leaving the service, which became more cluttered than a teenager’s bedroom, it proved hard to stem the tide. Last year, News Corp sold the business for just $35m.”