Vendors Why Aren't You

Personalizing Your Marketing to Advisors?

I’ve been writing about Penton’s for a few weeks. There’s one final data point you might find interesting. Sixty percent of service providers don’t personalize their marketing to advisors. To refresh your memory, half of these companies employ full-time staff dedicated to delivering marketing support to advisors. Over 70% say that value-added services are “core” to their offering, not an ancillary supplement. Yet 60% don’t bother to personalize their appeals to advisors? I’ve worked with many large financial and FinTech companies. I know exactly how people who work in those organizations talk. Personalization would be great, a real “nice to have.” Maybe next quarter you’ll try something. You just don’t have the staff or technology to do everything you like right now, unfortunately.

Look. As I’ve said before, there is a vast cultural difference between corporate service providers and entrepreneurial advisors. Inside corporations, you can get away with vague, general benefits like efficiency and growth. But to an entrepreneur who isn’t supported by any corporate budget, you need be able to prove your ROI to the nickel before you even pick up the phone. And that’s hard to do when you sound like you don’t even know what business they’re in.

The price of irrelevance

Service providers are drowning advisors in content—and most of it is completely off-target. Consider the absurdities that advisors are dealing with today.

  • Who is sending quarterly market commentary to financial planners who outsource investment management?
  • Why are solo practitioners getting information about enterprise solutions like HubSpot when they should be hearing about Constant Contact instead?
  • Who told alternative asset managers it was a good idea to approach small RIAs who can’t actually afford to do due diligence on them?
  • Why are large research firms targeting RIAs who can’t possibly pay hundreds of thousands a month to subscribe?

You have so much data and technology at your fingertips today. It’s a snap to create automated campaigns that get the right message to the right audience. If you don’t personalize or at least segment your audience, you may think you’re targeting everyone. In reality, you’re targeting no one.

If the amount of time and money you’re wasting isn’t a good enough reason to start personalizing, let me give you one more. If you can’t come up with a message that’s relevant enough, advisors aren’t going to do anything at all. Your most dangerous threat isn’t your competitor. It’s advisor complacency.

These survey findings tell the same story I’ve been preaching for a long time. Sixty percent of advisors say they have no formal marketing plan in place. Eighty percent have no full-time marketing people. Half spend less than 10% of revenue on marketing, and most say they have no plans to increase their marketing budgets over last year. They’re content to ride the wave for as long as times are good, doing the same things they did last year, every year. You and I know that big change is in the air—but most advisors are not ready for it.

If you want advisors to understand, speak to them directly. If you want them to act, speak to them personally.