Investment management marketing with a focus on financial advisor distribution and 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

 

Financial Advisor Marketing

Financial Advisors are an amazingly difficult prospect to engage. They are incredibly busy and already have a wealth of resources already available to them – do they even need to engage with wholesalers? The best way to convert financial advisors to customers is to build your marketing automation program around them.

Lead generation starts with effective segmentation

Before focusing on key strategies, Sales and Marketing must have defined a set of engagement personas and customer segments. Marketing has had personas for a decade but only since the advent of marketing automation software have engagement personas become empowered and brought to life.

Defining financial advisor segments for lead generation

Creating clarity with Sales is a two step process:

  1. Lead scoring – a measure of how active a financial advisor on your digital properties
  2. Lead grading – a measure of how profitable the financial advisor is likely to be

 

Advisor Marketing Focus

 

It may take several iterations to get lead scoring and grading optimized, however, the process should be fruitful for Sales and Marketing. The process crystallizes Marketing and Sales perspectives around which advisors are most profitable and which digital behaviors are believed to be most relevant to a sale. Some marketing automation vendors have one score that represents profitability and interest. However, being able to separate advisor behaviors from profitability factors simplifies discussions by clarifying customer segments by profitability as seen in the above graphic. As an example, Pardot applies a numerical value for an advisor’s lead score and a letter grade (A-F) for an advisor’s expected profitability.

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We are launching an exciting new content campaign introducing our new Closed Loop Marketing Architecture (CLMA) in the next few weeks. This new content is central to our core mission – to deliver closed loop marketing solutions for complex sales. Companies with complex sales, including financial services, investment management and B2B are looking for ways to align marketing and sales and drive top-line growth. CLMA helps them achieve this.

blog writerOur team members are enthusiastic about the new campaign and want to author blog posts about dimensions of the CLMA.


However, many of them consider writing a blog post a daunting task!

It does not need to be!

 

 

So, how can you write a [great] blog post quickly?

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Recent studies indicate that financial advisors expect continued strong demand for their services in the next year.  Russell Investments third-quarter Financial Professional Outlook indicated that Advisors remain bullish about the capital markets looking out over the next three years.

Marketing Volatility and Investor Behavior

Source: Russell Investments

However, they worry about investors’ emotional response to market events that could harm their businesses and their clients’ well-being, The Russell Investments study showed market volatility to be the most common topic initiated by clients.  A Fidelity Advisor Investment Pulse Survey showed similar results.

“When investors make emotional decisions, they decrease the odds of reaching their financial goals,” said John Hailer, chief executive officer of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia.

How can financial advisors set reasonable expectations with challenges like volatility and low-interest rates?…how can they take the emotion out of investor conversations to set realistic goals and stick to them?

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Across industries, there are a lot of articles that suggest sales is dead. The argument is that web provides a content rich platform for buyers to “self-sell” and there is no longer a need for a salesperson to drive awareness, shape and develop needs and craft tailored solutions. Some studies found that 70-80+% of a decision is made on the web and through trusted networks before a person ever engages a sales person. The sales rep’s role is reduced to order taking at the end of a self-sell cycle.