Real-Time Marketing Applies to Advisors Too

By Cynthia Stephens, VP of Marketing, ByAllAccounts on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Last week I attended the #FutureM conference in Boston, taking place during Hubspot’s INBOUND 2014 event.  There were thousands of marketers and technologists packed into the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.  The who’s who line-up of speakers included MasterCard CMO Raja Rajamannar (@RajaRajamannar), The Recording Academy (the GRAMMYs) CMO Evan Greene (@hopeandchange) and Hubspot co-founders Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) and Dharmesh Shah (@dharmseh).

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I left the event energized about what a few of the best and brightest are doing.  And my wheels started spinning in real-time about ways to adapt some of what I heard back at the office.

Here’s what struck me the most:

  • Dharmesh talked about the importance of culture in driving growth: “Peers > Beers”!  Driving exceptional growth, he said, requires awesome people.  And, awesome people want to aim for 10X growth, not just incremental growth. 

  • One of the imperatives for what MasterCard CMO Raja dubbed Marketing 4.0 is rapid speed to market and innovative, innovation methods.  It is old news that consumers expect two-way dialogues with brands (e.g., via social and viral).  This has direct implications on the way we go about interacting with them as marketers.

  • Ekaterina Walter spoke about providing utility in real time.  She points out, however, that this approach isn’t scalable.  Ekaterina contends that the goal is not to build scale but to build a tribe (i.e., raving fans).  Even negative comments about your product or service present an opportunity to turn them into positives. 

By now, you may be wondering, what does all of this have to do with financial advisors and investment advice?  After all, we’re not marketers?  Right?  Wrong!

I would suggest to you that marketing isn’t about skill in creating brochures (e.g., positioning statements, marketing materials, assembling databases).  Rather, it is about making a connection with someone (at the heart of Raja’s Marketing landscape 4.0).

Making connections is something financial advisors do for a living – build deep, and often personal, relationships with clients.

What this all means to you as a financial advisor:

  • Be more agile. Echoing what Ekaterina said, provide utility in real time.  What’s an example of this?  When the royal baby was born Dunkin’ launched a special munchkin and social media campaign, timed to coincide with the occasion.  Could you have used this as an occasion to write a commentary on the importance of wealth transfer and estate planning?

  • Deepen connections with clients.  In a new survey investors told us that a full 55% of surveyed investors said they were thinking of firing their financial advisor in the next year.  Among these investors, 57% asserted that poor investment performance was the primary motivator in their decision (listen to a recent webinar replay posted in the ByAllAccounts Online Learning Center for more investor insights).

  • Build the culture you want to recruit.  Whether you are growing the team or looking for a successor to the business, you won’t recruit rock star advisors without a culture that appeals to rock stars.  Create the culture you want to cultivate and be clear about the values that matter most.

Cynthia Stephens is the Vice President of Marketing for ByAllAccounts, a Morningstar company that provides innovative data aggregation technology for financial applications. Read other blogs by Cynthia

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