Advisor marketing is in a state of flux, evolving rapidly alongside all other types of mobile communication and efficiencies in terms of staying connected 24/7. At the same time, advisors are faced with increasing responsibilities and higher levels of scrutiny on how they service their customers. Asset managers are sensitive to that and seem to understand that constantly barraging these busy advisors with marketing isn’t the best way of capturing their attention or providing a solid ROI. In fact, last year, advisor-reported marketing monthly touches from financial services providers dropped in frequency, from 110 in 2016 to only 101 in 2017. With the number of marketing touches dwindling and capturing advisor attention not getting any easier, asset management firms are funneling more and more marketing dollars into digital campaigns. Is that the right move?
Is Digital Marketing the Right Tool?
The short answer? Yes.
In 2017, advisors cited email as the most effective way to communicate with them, even outranking external wholesaler visits. What’s more, after wholesalers, the digital touches of websites, webinars and mobile apps generate the greatest lift in brand consideration.
Most providers achieve limited reach through these digital touches, however, with the industry average recall for websites, webinars and mobile apps at 10% or less. With a plethora of new online and mobile technologies, breaking through the digital clutter is set to become an even more complex and challenging endeavor. Asset managers must learn how to optimize the digital experience for advisors and prove their expensive marketing efforts are worth the resources and expense.
One of the surest ways to make your mark in any market is to identify an unmet need and offer a targeted solution. With advisors flocking to digital communication channels, there appears to be a gap between their expectations and what they find when they start using these tools. In a study we conducted in March of last year, advisors were asked to identify the gaps in the technology and digital support they receive from asset managers. Advisors identified tool enhancements, stronger reporting capabilities, mobile access and service/support as the top wants on their technology wish lists. What’s more, their needs often center on the three key areas of insights and training, efficiency and integration, and tools and apps.
Digital is clearly the way of the future. However, just like all other marketing tools, digital marketing dollars will only provide a solid ROI if they are being leveraged to meet the true needs of the target audience. The good news is advisors are open to communicating with asset managers through a variety of digital channels and research shows that websites, webinars and mobile apps can generate the powerful lifts in brand consideration. However, just being out in the digital world isn’t enough. Asset managers looking to differentiate themselves must offer tools and content that meets advisor needs.
Our upcoming qualitative report, Cutting Through the Digital Marketing Clutter, will uncover the best-in-class approaches for maximizing the reach and impact of digital advisor-based marketing efforts. As a follow-on to our series of marketing clutter reports, this study will do a deep dive into just the digital marketing space, allowing firms to increase advisor engagement where it matters most.
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