“The failure to follow a well-established development process is causing many organizations to miss the mark when it comes to designing content and campaigns that resonate strongest with their customers and prospects.” -Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy & Marketing Office, Corporate Visions

Everyone will agree that building demand is one of the primary goals of marketing. In fact, it may well be Goal #1. The question is, what can asset managers do to create stronger demand for their products with advisors?

In the world of demand-generation marketing, we hold that creating Message Maps centered on a Pain-Empathy-Insights approach is a critical step in the process.

Building Message Maps is a great way to bring structure to the development of communications assets designed to escort prospects through the buying cycle.

Before we describe them in more detail, let’s consider a serious challenge Simon Sinek issued to conventional thinking about prospect engagement.

Simon got it right.

For those of you who haven’t read his books or seen his Ted Talks, Simon Sinek is a highly regarded marketing consultant and educator who has inspired tens of thousands of people to turn his concepts into action.

Simon says companies that do marketing right create overtures that focus on why they do what they do rather than on what they produce.

This only stands to reason, he says, because it corresponds with how people behave in the marketplace. They buy based on why they need not on what they get.

How does this apply to you and the messaging you create?

Relevance is the answer.

Focusing on the why allows you to speak to your ideal audiences in their own voice and to create communications that are specific and pertinent. That’s the way to maximize your impact and fulfill one of today’s marketing’s most important missions – relevance.

To develop high impact, content-driven demand marketing and persuasive selling, start by focusing on the buyer’s pain, offer up empathy by describing and understanding their individual role, then provide insights in the form of thought-leadership content.

Here’s an example of what this looks like in a Message Map model:

Engagement Persona: Time Strapped Independent Advisor

Message Maps 3

Before you begin any coordinated communications campaign, we suggest that you build Message Maps targeting your ideal advisors.

Remember, a Message Map approach is designed to get your prospects to take the next step. You want to incent them to deepen a dialogue with you.

That’s how true engagement is created.

Download a copy of the Buyer Engagement eBook: “Exposed: The False Promises of Revenue Marketing”

Advisor Pains — Urgent, Visible Problems

To understand an advisor’s point-of-view and to engage with them, you must have a deeper understanding of their pain — their urgent, visible problems, even those they may not be aware of. From a high level you might generalize their pains as:  

  • Differentiating themselves from their competitors
  • Justifying their fees and navigating an accelerated shift from commission-based to fee-based accounts
  • Attracting broader demographics and segments
  • Adapting their behavior, digital tools and agenda to their clients’ way of life.

However, this is likely too generalized to your total market. For example what are the comparative pains of indy advisors vs. wirehouse advisors vs. independent advisors/RIAs – as well as for the major segments within each.

Pain Maps – Foundation of Advisor Engagement

There are  four interdependent and sequential elements or building blocks that make up an effective Advisor Engagement Strategy.  It is likely no surprise that pain points are the foundational element. 

Advisor Pain Points


    • Pain Maps™
    • Engagement Personas™
    • Pain Ladders™
    • Message Maps™






Organizing advisor pain points in Pain Maps™  will enable the ULTIMATE goals of creating Engagement Personas™ and informing the message development process. Engagement Personas™ should represent an excellent buyer-centric perspective and be rich with pain points relative to your solutions.

Further, it is important to organize and prioritize the pain points for each segment (e.g., RIAs, Wire Houses, Indys) in order to connect them to the larger narrative in the context of segment-specific demand engagement initiatives. As you go through this process, you’ll see there’s often overlap between segments/buyer types, thus allowing for the most efficient message, experience and content development processes possible.

For example, an Independent persona’s pain points may contrast as well as overlap with a wirehouse advisor as illustrated below.

Illustrative Pain Points

Independent Advisor 

  • Fund companies that don’t understand me or my business 
  • Need insight and perspective that can be used with clients

Wirehouse advisor

  • Help positioning alternatives and “unconstrained” funds
  • Keeping up on products and the markets

Independent / Wirehouse Advisors

  • Portfolio advice / 2nd opinion
  • Broadening client demographics

Both Pain Maps™ and Engagement Personas™ are created through interviews with key stakeholders, primary and secondary research, surveys and, most importantly, interviews with your target audience.