What Advisors Really Think About the Marketing They Receive

As part of SS&C’s Advisor Roundtable offering, we get a chance to sit down with financial advisors on a regular basis and solicit their feedback on a whole host of topics. This month, we had the chance to ask them a few simple questions about the marketing they receive from service providers. Here’s what we heard:

Q. What’s the best way for financial marketers to communicate with you?

A. It’s not what you’d expect.

As marketers, we expected to hear advisors say that they wanted to receive content via email, social media, or podcasts. While those vehicles weren’t off the table, the number one way advisors preferred to receive communication is through an internal or external salesperson.

We’ve all known for years that the intermediary space is a sales-driven category, but this finding reinforces that financial marketers must be intelligently integrated with their sales teams. It’s not fancy, but it’s what works. Financial marketers must find ways to maximize relationships in the field. That means:

  • Creating a constant feedback loop between marketing and sales – including involving sales early on in the content development process
  • Generating content that the sales team will use in the field with FAs
  • Building marketing automation systems that deliver intelligent content to FAs on behalf of your sales people
  • Arming sales people with social content that they can use to reach their network

Too often, marketers skip to channels that have nothing to do with the sales team – because hey, marketing and sales often have a sticky relationship. But there’s a lot of value to be had in crafting a truly integrated go-to-market strategy.

Q. What’s your favorite financial website?

A. The ones that are visual, easy to scan and highly actionable.

We expected to hear advisors mention the typical news publications like Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. And those did come up. But interestingly, multiple advisors mentioned View from the Top by Matt Topley. Huh?

Take a look at the site, and you’ll see the reasons why advisors liked it:

  • It’s highly visual (translation: lots and lots of charts)
  • You can quickly scan it to see if there is content of interest
  • It’s easy to find pieces to send to clients
  • It’s timely

As we’ve mentioned in prior pieces, the easier it is for advisors to digest content, the happier they are. That’s why Topley’s site is so effective. And it’s why pieces like J.P. Morgan’s Guide to the Markets are so successful – it’s easy to scan and quickly digest information. 

Are you implementing that strategy with your materials? If you aren’t, advisors may not be paying attention to what you have to offer.

Q. When should financial marketers email you?

A. When we’re not with our clients.

Advisors talked about some interesting habits related to email. First off, we all know this, but advisors get too many emails, so they need to prioritize what to read and when they’ll read it. 

This led to the concept of “the morning cull”: Many advisors said they will take a look at their email in the early morning to scan for what’s relevant to them. They will flag emails they want to read later and trash the ones that aren’t relevant. Then, they use lunch or the end of the day to go back and actually read their emails.

Some implications:

  • Get your emails in early or at the end of the day to avoid the craziness of an FA’s work day
  • Have a clear subject line with key terms that tells the advisor that there’s something relevant, interesting and timely in your email (a clever-yet-unclear subject line isn’t necessarily better)
  • Don’t send your latest 4- and 5-star ratings – leave that kind of selling to the wholesaler. Your email should be focused on delivering timely and valuable information to the advisor

In closing…

FA’s are busy, and they’re focused on their clients – not you. Too often, financial marketers shape their activities and communications around their marketing priorities, as opposed to the priorities and mindset of the financial advisor. It’s the entire reason we created our Advisor Roundtable offering – to force ourselves and our clients to constantly be reminded about what really matters to the advisor target.

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