Wind the clock back two years, to May 2020 – the pandemic rages and as a marketing services firm, your advisor clients have always relied on in-person workshops and meetings as primary marketing methods. Now the advisors, clients and potential clients are, in many instances, sticking close to home and leaning towards virtual meetings.
Kaijsa Kurstin joined wealth management marketing solutions provider White Glove as Executive Vice President of Marketing in May 2021, after the firm pivoted from in-person to 100% digital due in large part to her advice as she worked with White Glove through marketing and consulting firm DMI.
From having run no webinars at the close of the first quarter of 2020, White Glove has now run over 3,000 webinars and continues to run 600-700 events per month. Despite the pandemic waning, many of White Glove’s advisor clients still choose virtual events today.
Under Kurstin’s leadership, White Glove refreshed their brand and messaging and launched a new, optimized website and a new bundled service offering.
Outside the office, Kurstin participates in animal-related charities and coaches youth soccer, after initially volunteering to coach her daughter’s Soccer for Tots team four years ago. Kurstin recommends coaching youth sports not only for its intrinsic rewards, but to hone leadership skills in the corporate world.
As part of the WSR Pathfinder Awards, we have named Kaijsa Kurstin as our Digital Marketer of the Year, given the speed, size and success of her strategic pivot in building out more virtual solutions.
We sat down with Kurstin to ask about her career in marketing, the future trends for marketing in wealth management and what steps the industry can take to improve for women.
WSR: How did you choose marketing as a career? Were there any specific moments or influences that swayed your decision?
Kurstin: I have always been obsessed with how things were presented and overall aesthetics. I recall at a very early age I would wonder why a specific product packaging was red and not yellow. When I got to college (Go Syracuse!), I was drawn to public relations and knew that marketing was going to be a dream career.
However, my first job out of college was training corporations at a software training center in McLean, Virginia. Companies and government agencies would often send their marketing teams to be trained on software – like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel and basic HTML.
One day I was training a group from CB Richard Ellis and their vice president of marketing asked if I would be interested in joining the company. She figured I already knew how to use all the software. And that was it! I interviewed with them the following week and that was the start to my career.
WSR: How do you see the future of marketing unfolding in the wealth management industry? What current trends are carrying us forward? Do you see new trends on the horizon?
Kurstin: I like to say that the pandemic blew the digital doors wide open for advisors. The opportunity to market successfully online has been something many business categories have been afforded for decades. But since the 1970s, the SEC prohibited RIAs from using client testimonials in their advertising.
Recently, the SEC finally permitted financial advisors to solicit and use testimonials in advertising, including websites, social media channels, and email.
We are seeing more advisors leveraging the power of email and social media to connect with more people in their communities, especially now that there are solutions that allow them to do so while easily adhering to compliance standards.
Although many advisors have gone back to in-person workshops, many decided that they like virtual better. Some are doing a healthy mix of both. This provides financial advisors with greater flexibility in their lives. They can conduct virtual workshops in less time and do so from anywhere in the world!
Even as pandemic numbers decrease, we are seeing an uptick in requests for virtual appointments. Advisors, just like consumers, like to get time back in their day.
I also predict there will be more adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) marketing services.
WSR: What is it like to be a woman in wealth management marketing? How can the industry improve for women?
Kurstin: Good or bad, it’s familiar like wearing a warm blanket. Having been in the digital and tech space for so long, I’m unfortunately desensitized to the fact that I am often the only woman in the room. I have been fortunate however, to have always felt supported in all my roles. But this is my driver. This is one of the reasons why I am so incredibly passionate about this industry and making a positive impact.
Barron’s estimates that only 20% of financial advisors are women and only 12% of their top 100 advisors are women.
Just like my role at White Glove, where I need to be thinking about our client advisor, but also about their clients – in general, women are underrepresented and the industry needs to adapt to better serve all the end consumers.
It’s a fact that the share of global wealth controlled by women is increasing. It’s a fact that women outlive men. It’s a fact we still have a gender gap. So why is it that we still live in a society where the people who need financial guidance the most are so unrepresented? We need to do better. We need to highlight the value and impact we could have on society and appeal to more women.
It’s incredibly eye-opening to see just how much there is in the way of improvement and I’m positive about the future outlook. I’m glad White Glove is part of the improvements and provides me with a platform where I can make a difference.
I look at my daughter and secretly pray that if I can’t bring Wall Street to Main Street, she will.
Janeesa Hollingshead, Senior Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org