Effective advisor engagement begins with an understanding of the ideal advisors and influencers for your investment products and offerings.

Your marketing success will depend on strategies and programs that rely on accurate identification and targeting of market segments. Depending on your business model, you will target a variety of different advisor audiences. You might consider the top-level groups like  Wirehouse FAs, Independent BD firms and independent/Fee Only RIAs and Hybrids. But these groupings do not go far enough to properly tailor your advisor engagement strategy. Engagement strategies will vary significantly across these groups and even further within each group. There are a wide range of advisor types and styles that you must consider when crafting an engagement strategy.

An effective advisor engagement strategy requires a deep understanding of how your investment offerings fit with the target groups, subsegments and the size and economics of each sector.

Yet too often, our marketing and communications efforts are not targeted towards the most promising target segments. The benefit of improved segmentation is the ability to drive sales by crafting differentiated communications, deploying customized marketing programs, aligning distribution strategies and improving marketing and sales focus.

So how do we identify our ideal advisors and influencers?

The answer is to segment the market around criteria that matter.

Understand segmentation and the factors in your business model that should determine the ‘ideal advisors’.

  • Segments should have similar preferences within each segment and distinct preferences between segments.
  • Segments should be actionable for purposes of marketing planning and sales execution.
  • Segments should consider a range of factors that matter to your offerings, (e,g.  financial viability in terms of size, scale, margins; investment style, e.g. discretionary vs non-discretionary, etc.)

Go beyond groups (like Wirehouse, Indy, RIA) and consider factors that distinguish advisor’s likely interest, fit and engagement styles. Examples you might consider are:

  • Advisor business model
  • Advisor value proposition (e.g., wealth manager, investment manager, stock picker)
  • End client interaction – proactive vs reactive
  • Portfolio Management Approach: discretionary vs non-discretionary
  • Product/Market Mix – expansive or niche/limited vs full portfolio
  • Current relationship – established vs new
  • Position among peers – opinion leader vs trend follower
  • Stage in career: Ramping up, established, finishing up
  • Organization: Lone wolf, small team, office
  • Specialization within team: relationship vs product leadership
  • Channel preferences: wholesaler vs online/self-directed
  • Communication preferences: email vs letter/newsletter vs brochure
  • Education: direct/wholesaler vs webinar/video/TV
  • Awareness model: advertising vs product search

Identify and focus on the segments that work for you

  • Reviewing existing and/or planned segments in light of your business model
  • Identify and measure Total Addressable Market (TAM) so you can better measure awareness and engagement levels
  • Prioritize your target audience (e.g., by discretionary/non-discretionary, firm size/AUM, shared attributes, etc.)
  • Identify target audience buyer composition (e.g., personas, DMUs (decision making units) and influencers

Next Up: With your ideal advisors identified, it’s time to understand their world so you can effectively reach them and foster engagement.

Note: the author of this post is indebted to the work of Keith Sullivan in his comprehensive guidebook, “Exposed: The False Promises of Revenue Marketing” and the deep insights he provides into the 9 principles of buyer engagement.

Effective Asset Management buyer engagement begins with an understanding of the ideal customer or client and influencers for your products and services.

Your marketing success will depend on strategies and programs that rely on accurate identification and targeting of market segments. Depending on your business model, you will target a variety of different audiences. An asset management firm might consider top-level market segments like  Wirehouse FAs, Independent BD firms and independent/Fee Only RIAs and Hybrids. But these groupings do not go far enough to properly tailor your advisor engagement strategy. Engagement strategies will vary significantly across these groups and even further within each group. There are a wide range of advisor types and styles that you must consider when crafting an engagement strategy.

An effective advisor engagement strategy requires a deep understanding of how your investment offerings fit with the target groups, subsegments and the size and economics of each sector.

Yet too often, our marketing and communications efforts are not targeted towards the most promising target segments. The benefit of improved segmentation is the ability to drive sales by crafting differentiated communications, deploying customized marketing programs, aligning distribution strategies and improving marketing and sales focus.

So how do we identify our ideal advisors and influencers?

The answer is to segment the market around criteria that matter.

Understand segmentation and the factors in your business model that should determine the ‘ideal advisors’.

  • Segments should have similar preferences within each segment and distinct preferences between segments.
  • Segments should be actionable for purposes of marketing planning and sales execution.
  • Segments should consider a range of factors that matter to your offerings, (e,g.  financial viability in terms of size, scale, margins; investment style, e.g. discretionary vs non-discretionary, etc.)

Go beyond groups (like Wirehouse, Indy, RIA) and consider factors that distinguish advisor’s likely interest, fit and engagement styles. Examples you might consider are:

  • Advisor business model
  • Advisor value proposition (e.g., wealth manager, investment manager, stock picker)
  • End client interaction – proactive vs reactive
  • Portfolio Management Approach: discretionary vs non-discretionary
  • Product/Market Mix – expansive or niche/limited vs full portfolio
  • Current relationship – established vs new
  • Position among peers – opinion leader vs trend follower
  • Stage in career: Ramping up, established, finishing up
  • Organization: Lone wolf, small team, office
  • Specialization within team: relationship vs product leadership
  • Channel preferences: wholesaler vs online/self-directed
  • Communication preferences: email vs letter/newsletter vs brochure
  • Education: direct/wholesaler vs webinar/video/TV
  • Awareness model: advertising vs product search

Identify and focus on the segments that work for you

  • Reviewing existing and/or planned segments in light of your business model
  • Identify and measure Total Addressable Market (TAM) so you can better measure awareness and engagement levels
  • Prioritize your target audience (e.g., by discretionary/non-discretionary, firm size/AUM, shared attributes, etc.)
  • Identify target audience buyer composition (e.g., personas, DMUs (decision making units) and influencers

 

John Refford presented the 9 Principles of Advisor Engagement for MFEA members in March, 2018. Download the presentation on this page.

This eBook was published by Revenue Architects with a focus on B2B. It describes the 9 Principles of Effective Buyer Engagement that serve as a practitioner’s guide to increase leads, conversions, pipeline velocity and revenue impact.

These are words every marketer should tattoo on their foreheads:

“It’s not about us – it’s about them.”

Too often, those of us in marketing reach out to the market by touting our companies’ capabilities. In other words, we talk about ourselves – what we do, how we do it, why we’re better at it than our competitors. But just because we do it doesn’t make it effective. In fact, we all stand to benefit by recognizing that the best marketing isn’t about us; instead, it’s about our prospects’ needs and pain points.

By looking resolutely at everything from our prospects’ point-of-view, we put ourselves in a better position to accomplish our goals.

What does this mean?

It means understanding where our prospects are in their buyer journey and communicating with them in a human way. We need to deliver content and messaging through coordinated campaigns that focus on their most urgent, visible problems. “Urgent” suggests that the need is important and immediate; “visible” assumes it’s close to the surface or can be raised through provocative messages.

The idea of urgent, visible problems is a key concept in effective advisor marketing.

Unfortunately, marketers too often neglect it in favor of self-centered messaging.

It’s easy to get caught up in inflated rhetoric that actually may be irrelevant to the typical advisor with specific, tactical problems to solve. This person simply doesn’t have the time or inclination to think in terms of grandiose concepts—not when they’re facing the pressure of addressing such challenges as their need to:

  • Enhance their relationships with current clients
  • Justify their fees and defend active management
  • Reach out to a broader demographic of potential clients like women and Millennials

Not only do you need to show how you offer valuable insights that can help advisors address these challenges. You also need to demonstrate conclusively why it’s in their best interests to engage with your company in particular.

Inspire the next step.

Your content and messaging needs to focus on getting your prospect to engage – download, register, view a video or Webinar or otherwise raise his or her hand.

Relevancy is all-important here. Give your target audience information they judge to be less than pertinent to them, and they’ll quickly close their browser tabs. But give them a compelling reason to engage by making them an offer of content that promises useful insights on the business problems being solved, and you’ll be able to effectively move them to the next stage in their buy cycle.

Again, don’t lose sight of the singular objective of your efforts – generating inquiries and sustaining interest throughout the buying process. That’s how you’ll convert them to the point of sale-readiness. Continuously motivate them to take the next step, with as much content as is required to whet their appetites and keep them hungry for more.

Trying to persuade? Just answer the questions advisors are asking.

Understand what advisors are asking at each stage of their journey. And remember, prospective buyers’ questions are not linear. Rather, they can come in virtually any order.

  • They may be wondering what they can do to bring the next generation of investors into the fold.
  • They may be challenged by the need to be more digitally adept and looking for a solution set.
  • They may have concerns about market volatility or heightened P/E ratios and wonder what steps they can take to minimize the consequences.
  • They may simply want easy-to-digest literature they can share with their clients.

A good rule of thumb is simply to assume that the questions will probably be associated with the pains and challenges your prospects face.

What better opportunity for you to provide worthwhile solutions?

Next Up: Now that you understand your advisors, you can dive in and understand their challenges so that you can earn their business.

Note: the author of this post is indebted to the work of Keith Sullivan in his comprehensive guidebook, “Exposed: The False Promises of Revenue Marketing and the deep insights he provides into the 9 principles of buyer engagement.