Time for client segments to be recognized and for advisors to distinguish their brands uniquely whether under a wirehouse brand, RIA network, or independent.
Financial advisor marketing programs require personalization to achieve practice growth. No modern individual or firm can reach and/or grow an audience without it. Recently Jessie Johnson of Forrester (Putting B2B Personalization In Context) wrote about B2B marketing that “the customer’s experience of an interaction matters most”). While some might argue that financial advisor/client connection isn’t a B2B relationship I argue that the significant nature of these advice relationships is complex and akin to the sales and marketing process of an SMB. The point however is to consider that personalization and customization of content and brand identity in financial advisor marketing is now a requirement for growth.
For both firms and advisors, for wirehouse advisors, RIA’s, and anyone involved in financial advice marketing must meet their customers with personalized content. This does not mean that automatic content needs to appear magically on the first advisor website visit it’s much more simple than that. It means that the ROI on bio pages, locators, and templated websites that never change is extremely low on ROI. These services have a functional purpose for clients to filter and narrow their research but on their own do not activate clients nor do they create a steady flow of leads aligned to an advisor “Ideal Client Profile” which represents their unique segment.
The move to segment personalization applies to all advice-driven services, including emerging retail branch models, private banking, and insurance. The “retail branch of the future” is touted by many industry experts. Personalization effectively delivers high impact and activated client experiences by aligning relevant content to smaller client segments. The suitability of advisors to enhance the segmentation process is a highly effective technique that combines personalization, customization (implemented by the advisor), and humanization.
All businesses understand the value of communicating with a unique segment and positioning themselves as such.
The case for differentiation and personalized client engagement has been made many times. Firms are making investments to scale personalized service to clients as noted by Vijay Raghavan of Forrester in his report on “Hot Technologies like Analytics and Personalization Drive Better Digital Wealth Management Experiences” (may require a client subscription) as noted below:
“Firms are capturing more data on customers to drive better insights and experiences”
“Merrill Lynch And Morgan Stanley Use Personalization To Provide Advice To Clients At Scale”
So if personalization is viewed as a strategic imperative for existing clients shouldn’t it be more important during client acquisition? This is after all one of the primary growth activities an advisor or firm can implement.
So if personalization and customization are a requirement why are organizations so slow to adopt? Well, in simple terms firms are not yet recognizing the value of lead generation in the financial advisor marketing space. While the brand presence and listings type services have been recognized for years the need for market differentiation hasn’t been a priority. In the digital age, the advent of research-based decision-making is changing the formula. All businesses understand the value of communicating with a unique segment and positioning themselves as such. Organizations and market leaders like RBC are investing in differentiation for their advisors and reaping the market share benefits. It’s only a matter of time until the rest of the market catches up to this strategy.
The time is now to continue to extend these investments into marketing. Client engagement and content builds relationships and matures client insights at the advisor/client level, typically where most critical business is at risk or growing.
Technology and current processes should not stand in the way of transforming your marketing approach to attract clients at an advisor or enterprise level. Both entities have the skills and reasons to change. Many supplier firms, like us at Veriday but also others, have proven platforms designed to manage customization and personalization at scale without a massive disruption to existing teams or budgets. If you would like to explore with us how to achieve personalization at scale here are a couple of upcoming opportunities, feel free to reach out to start a conversation.