WSR Spotlights Industry-Leading Marketing Heads To Showcase Excellence In Wealth Management Marketing
Marketing executives must combine a talent for creativity with a deep understanding of products, services and client needs to create the messages and campaigns that build perception, brand and client awareness. Marketing in the wealth management industry requires skill and strategy above most industries to account for two primary levels of clients to serve – advisors and professionals on the one hand, and end clients on the other – as well as the many niche groups in various spaces across the industry.
CMOs in our industry must be intellectual, curious, creative and strategic, able to track the full chess board of possibilities in real time. We searched across wealth management for a group of CMOs who stood above the rest in industry impact, demonstrated ability to strategize and execute campaigns, widespread recognition and a strong reputation as an outstanding marketing executive and leader.
Our industry is fortunate to have a wealth of excellent CMOs, and our invitation-only inaugural CMO 10: Top Wealth Management CMOs honors a group of truly exceptional individuals. Please join us in congratulating them:
Chris Broussard, CMO, NewEdge Capital Group and AmericanTCS
Arriving in February 2020, Broussard leads marketing for two subsidiaries of NewEdge Capital Group – NewEdge Advisors and NewEdge Wealth, as well as its affiliate AmericanTCS, which provides custody, trust, wealth management, software automation and retirement administration to the retirement industry.
Broussard designed the marketing and communications strategy that successfully launched the NewEdge Wealth brand in 2020. The following year, he led the development and execution of the rebrand strategy for NewEdge Capital Group, encompassing NewEdge Wealth, NewEdge Advisors and NewEdge Securities. He also led marketing initiatives as multiple firms were consolidated into the AmericanTCS brand.
Broussard’s team provides marketing and communications services and strategies for over 300 advisors in more than 120 offices. Due in part to his leadership, NewEdge Capital recruited $9.1 billion in expected assets under management (AUM) and 40 advisor teams in 2022.
With over 20 years of experience, Broussard also served as CMO and President of Tematica Research, Chief Digital Officer and VP for Eagle Publishing, VP of Marketing for Morgan Stanley Online and VP of Marketing for FOLIOfn.
Since joining Robertson Stephens in April 2021, Calabrese took responsibility for leading the firm’s efforts to both market its wealth management services and help advisory teams develop and execute their growth strategies. His team collaborates with advisory teams to customize marketing plans, with the goals of increasing engagement, decreasing attrition, increasing prospects in the pipeline and improving close ratios, as well as building and amplifying the firm’s brand in local markets.
Under his leadership, Robertson Stephens has rapidly expanded with seven additional teams, six new offices and raising its AUM to over $4 billion as of January 2023.
Calabrese began his career in 1997 at AXA Advisors, was VP of Marketing at AXA Equitable for 10 years and spent 14 years at LPL Financial as VP, Marketing.
Calabrese advises aspiring wealth management CMOs to be a student of both industries – wealth management and marketing. “I believe the more you know about the wealth management industry, the better marketer you will be. Learn about what wealth managers do every day: investments, financial planning, operations, compliance and technology. You will thank yourself.”
Calabrese concludes, “In addition, build a strong and diverse marketing skill set throughout your career, network and build relationships that will be with you for decades. And last but not least, never stop learning, always be agile because change is abundant. Stay humble and have some fun along the way.”
Craig Clark, CMO, Nitrogen
With 20 years of experience in marketing and sales development for Software as a Service (SaaS), Clark joined Nitrogen in May 2022 when the company was named “Riskalyze,” and observed that its risk tolerance brand challenged its business strategy in a way that couldn’t be overcome in traditional marketing channels. He initiated a yearlong initiative to rebrand Riskalyze to market its products as a purpose-built sales engagement and growth platform for wealth management firms.
The firm renamed itself “Nitrogen” and launched Nitrogen Ignite, a product for growth-phase firms, in May and June of this year. Over 3,000 advisors, industry analysts and executives attended the announcement on livestream.
Prior to Nitrogen, Clark was CMO of document processing firm PDFTron, where he repositioned the company from a niche software developer to an international standard for digital document management that is used in products such as Docusign. Before PDFTron, he served in various marketing and communications executive roles in firms such as ACL Services, where he led the repositioning of the firm into Galvanize.
“Rebranding a successful, long-serving brand name is the nuclear option in marketing and should only be triggered following analysis of hard, dispassionate data,” said Clark, who suggests that before a major rebrand a firm should ask, “What about your brand is proving to be a headwind against your business strategy? Why is it not reasonable to anticipate overcoming this short of a complete rebrand?”
“I feel like I’ve had some success navigating major corporate rebrands and I’d probably summarize my best advice by saying, ‘be dispassionate,’” Clark continued. “Hire external expertise to (1) Put survey data to your perceived brand problem, (2) Navigate the job of selecting a new name and (3) Design the visual system / visual brand. You and your colleagues are way too close to the issue and can’t make dispassionate decisions.”
Marissa Fox-Foley, CMO, Choreo
With 20 years of marketing experience, Fox-Foley helped launch Choreo from a division of RSM US with no name recognition to a national stand-alone brand with more than 50 media mentions in less than 12 months.
The firm operates out of over 39 locations nationwide, serving more than 6,000 families with approximately $14.8 billion in assets as of February 2023. In her role, Fox-Foley develops and executes growth marketing strategies across both traditional and digital communications.
Under her leadership, Choreo launched Canvas, a multichannel digital marketing and communications platform that empowers business development through personalized marketing campaigns, and she played a significant role in the design and launch of the Choreo Partner Alliance, which enables CPAs to partner with Choreo advisors. She also developed and executed strategies to integrate advisors from three acquisitions entailing over $3 billion in recruited assets.
Explaining what generates marketing success for wealthier client segments, Fox-Foley says, “The needs of investors who are considered high and ultra-high net worth have steadily become more complex when it comes to managing and preserving wealth. This evolution is heightened by rapid advancements in technology and demand for more comprehensive solutions to make lives simpler as financial needs become more complex due to life, and wealth, changes.”
“For wealth management firms it’s no longer just an investment mindset that will resonate, but rather a robust platform that at a minimum includes tax planning and compliance, trust services, bill pay and online estate planning,” she adds. “Financial marketing therefore must consist of content and messaging that demonstrates how the firm and its advisors are both strategically and financially relevant.”
Ryan George, CMO, Docupace
George has helped catapult Docupace to 59% growth since he joined in August 2020, in part due to his promotion of human-centered design and recognizing the value of back-office employees in campaigns such as National Back Office Heroes Day. His marketing campaigns and initiatives have led to the success of product launches, new leads and increased revenue, such as the launch of the RIA Productivity Suite campaign in December 2022, which generated 21 leads, driving $1.5 million in new annual revenue.
The firm’s website visitors have increased 62% year-on-year, with a 55% increase in page views. At the same time, media engagements rose by 82%, referral traffic by 51% and newsletter subscribers by 37%. George also promotes advisor education through media and industry events, providing advisors with explanations and guidance on scaling business by leveraging technology.
Prior to Docupace, George held various roles at Guidestone Financial Resources, 1st Global and U.S. Global Investors. He is a member of the Forbes Communication Council, the Financial Services Institute’s Marketing, Growth and Development Council and the Association for Accounting Marketing.
Describing the difference between marketing in wealthtech and other areas of wealth management, George says, “The biggest difference is the distance you have between the advisors and their clients. In the wealth management space, I would often come alongside an advisor on a client/prospect-focused project. At Docupace, we’re focused on the back office and operations so I have to work harder to keep the advisor-client relationship paramount in how we message to the marketplace. Doing so means I have to read, write and network more to keep the connection intact.”
Arriving at Atria in 2018, Holcomb leads the firm’s agency and in-house marketing teams in the development of messaging, positioning and branding, which has elevated Atria’s brand awareness, as evidenced by web traffic, engagement and social media metrics. The firm’s follower growth has outpaced its peer group this year, in most instances by triple digits, a contributing factor to the firm’s rapid recruiting growth.
With 29 years’ experience in financial services, Holcomb has consulted on over 50 large-cap IPOs and led several firms. Previously, he served as COO at Thomson Wealth Management, Chief Strategy Officer at First Allied and President of First Allied Wealth Management.
Holcomb also founded financial analytics company DataStream, as well as Greenbook Financial Services, an RIA that exclusively serves doctors.
Joan Khoury, Managing Director and CMO, Oppenheimer & Co.
During her eight years at Oppenheimer, Khoury has raised the firm’s profile as she leads the marketing efforts for its three core businesses: investment banking, capital markets and wealth management. In her role not only as CMO but also as a member of Oppenheimer’s Management Committee, Khoury had a role in developing a four-block approach to accelerate marketing for the firm: developing the marketing platform, creating and activating a brand strategy, launching a thought leadership initiative and defining experience for its audiences.
Khoury also led efforts to develop a multichannel brand positioning – The Power of Oppenheimer Thinking – with a goal to modernize the firm’s heritage brand to drive market awareness, consideration and conversion. The first phase launched earlier this year, aiming to boost advisor recruitment. The second phase, targeting investors, will roll out later this year. According to the firm, initial metrics are exceeding expectations.
Prior to Oppenheimer, Khoury served as CMO at LPL Financial, and before that, as SVP and Global Head of Marketing for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
Khoury is a member of the Women’s Forum of New York, which is dedicated to bringing together women of achievement across various industries, professions and the arts in New York City. She is also active with various marketing and industry organizations including SIFMA and The Marketing Society.
McCartan arrived at Hightower four years ago and focuses on helping advisors best serve clients through original content from the firm’s distinctive “well-th” focus and well-being to financial literacy. Over the past year, she has catalyzed the firm’s focus on Next Gen advisors and investors by launching a page of resources including basic guides, a podcast and a video series with social media influencer Jo Franco. She has also extended the well-th branding so that advisors can adapt it in their marketing efforts.
With over 20 years of experience, McCartan previously served as CMO at FiComm Partners, one of WSR’s IMAGE 10 honorees, and in executive marketing roles at Folio Dynamix, MetLife Financial Services and AIG Advisor Group.
An advocate for working mothers, McCartan founded the Detours and OnRamps Forum conference in 2006, which ran until 2012 and won Avon’s “Women Changing the World” award in 2007.
Roche is responsible for marketing, social media, corporate communications, public relations, event experiences and content at Osaic. Since joining the firm in February 2022, Roche has worked to improve, consolidate and streamline all communications. She led the firm through its recent rebrand from Advisor Group to Osaic, and is helping to oversee its upcoming consolidation of eight individual wealth management firms.
Prior to Osaic, Roche was VP, Head of Marketing and Communications at AssetMark and held various executive roles at LPL Financial. Prior to joining the wealth management industry, she worked in public relations specializing in politics, entertainment and media. Her clients included
CNBC, Bad Boy Entertainment, Howard Stern, Sirius Satellite Radio, Michael Eisner and the Brooklyn Nets.
Roche sponsors and volunteers at organizations supporting physical and mental wellness, education, economic empowerment and human rights, and served on the Board of Directors for The Monarch School, which assists unhoused youth and their families.
Describing what she sought to achieve with the rebranding of Osaic, Roche said, “Unifying our eight wealth management firms under one new brand gave us an opportunity few companies have today; to build something new that would represent who we want to be in the future. The brand was developed through a robust process that included hours of market research and interviews.”
“Osaic was created to reflect a bold vision for the future, while honoring the heritage of our company,” she continued. “It was designed to differentiate us in the industry as a firm unafraid to evolve for and with our clients and to meet the next generation of advisor and investor where they want to be. We’ve built this brand for the advisor who believes the future should be transformational and we designed Osaic as an inclusive home where everyone can thrive.”
Abby Salameh, CMO, CAIS, and Managing Director, CAIS IQ
With over 20 years of experience, Salameh leads CAIS’ brand and media strategy, channel marketing, corporate communications and IQ business unit. Joining the firm in 2021, she advocates the role of technology in democratizing access to alternative investments.
Often a featured speaker at leading industry events, Salameh has been key in leading the firm’s services to the private wealth space, including spearheading the firm’s brand refresh to reflect its reputation as a leader in the transformation of the alternative investing space and the development and execution of CAIS’ inaugural thought leadership-focused Alternative Investment Summit, a three-day event held in Beverly Hills in 2022.
Prior to CAIS, Salameh served as CMO of Hightower Advisors, leading the firm through a strategic rebrand. Prior to that, she was CMO at Private Advisor Group, a VP at Fusion Advisor Network and Head of Marketing for Institutional Services at TD Ameritrade and TD Waterhouse.
She is a member of the Forbes Communication Council and Board Member of the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation.
Janeesa Hollingshead, Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.