Marcoms Roundtable: The Evolution And Future Of Marcoms

Executives From Edelman Smithfield, FiComm And StreetCred Share Views On Recent Changes In Marcoms And What Is Developing Next

As the area of wealth management that involves messaging to target audiences, marketing and communications must necessarily evolve with those audiences. Add the rapid pace of change in technology, regulation and client behavior, and those target audiences become moving targets while you must constantly adapt to the latest tools as the toolkit develops.

To learn how marcoms have changed in recent years, the drivers behind those changes and trends going forward, we spoke with three seasoned veterans: Jimmy Moock, Managing Partner at StreetCred PR; Meg Carpenter, Founder & CEO at FiComm Partners; and Nicole Hakimi, SVP, Financial Services at Edelman Smithfield.

We asked each of them: What have been the most significant changes in marcoms in the past five years? How are those evolving into the future?

Their responses follow.

Jimmy Moock, Managing Partner, StreetCred PR

Jimmy Moock, Managing Partner, StreetCred PR
Jimmy Moock, Managing Partner, StreetCred PR

In recent years, the approach to marketing communications in our industry has undergone significant transformations, driven by technology, shifting client demand and consumer behaviors, industry innovations and the emergence of digital-only media properties.

Some key truths and changes that stand out are:

PR serves as an adrenaline shot to strong marketing: Public relations (PR) plays a vital role in supporting marketing efforts by enhancing brand visibility, credibility and reputation. It reaches a wider audience beyond traditional marketing methods. PR pros can craft narratives that resonate with the audience, positioning the brand favorably and establishing trust. PR complements marketing by providing third-party validation and endorsements beyond what Company A has to say about itself.

Importance of thought leadership: Stories about companies, products and services matter, but so do the personalities that help bring them to life. Content marketing, which has emerged as a cornerstone of marcoms strategies, entails creating high-quality, relevant thought leadership to attract and retain consumers’ attention amidst the cluttered digital landscape. This can enable brands to establish themselves as leaders, differentiate and build connections with their target audience via the personalities who put pen to paper.

Louder calls for authenticity and transparency: Consumers and industry publications are increasingly demanding authenticity and transparency. This shift has led to the rise of purpose-driven marketing and PR campaigns, influencer partnerships with genuine brand affinity and a greater emphasis on storytelling.

While I can’t tell the future, I can guarantee that the next five years won’t look like the last five years.

Meg CarpenterFounder & CEO, FiComm Partners

Meg Carpenter, Founder & CEO, FiComm Partners
Meg Carpenter, Founder & CEO, FiComm Partners

Over the past five years, the landscape of marcoms has undergone significant transformation, reshaping the way advisory firms connect with consumers.

First, the modern consumer’s buying journey has evolved, emphasizing the importance of building trust online. Regardless of age, financial status or geography, individuals now validate and engage with services digitally before any in-person interaction. This paradigm shift necessitates a digital-first marketing strategy, where businesses strive to create impactful online experiences to establish trust.

Second, a noteworthy change has occurred in the financial advisory sector with the implementation of the SEC Marketing Rule. This groundbreaking shift allows advisory firms to incorporate client testimonials and endorsements into their marketing efforts. For the first time, firms can share stories that resonate with potential clients, fostering a deeper connection. This change acknowledges the power of social proof, recognizing that people are more likely to choose advisors who work with clients similar to themselves.

Third, the effectiveness of traditional referrals is dwindling, especially among younger generations. Unlike their predecessors, younger clients are less reliant on referrals when seeking financial advisors. This trend forces advisory firms to reevaluate their growth strategies, pushing them to explore new avenues beyond the conventional referral model. In navigating this evolving landscape, businesses must adapt to the changing dynamics of consumer behavior and leverage emerging opportunities for sustained growth and relevance in the future.

Nicole Hakimi, SVP, Financial Services, Edelman Smithfield

Nicole Hakimi, SVP, Financial Services, Edelman Smithfield
Nicole Hakimi, SVP, Financial Services, Edelman Smithfield

The wealth management industry is at an inflection point, as economic headwinds, digital transformation and competitive pressures are shaking the industry. Wealth and asset management firms are finding creative ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

Below are a few developments that have impacted the marketing and communications functions over the past five years:

Stumbling towards diversity: Wealth management firms are positioning themselves to serve clients from a wider range of backgrounds, including women, millennials and Gen Z. That said, there’s more work to be done in promoting diversity within their own workforces. CFP professional demographic data as of Feb. 1 shows that the industry is still predominantly white (82.2%) and male (76.2%). More diverse teams would attract more diverse clients.

Storytelling through owned channels: Financial services firms are increasingly using owned channels such as newsletters, podcasts and webcasts to directly engage clients and prospects. This creates opportunities for platform-sharing between wealth management firms and asset managers, insurance companies, trade associations and other industry players.

More creative use of social media: LinkedIn has gone from a “nice to have” to a “need to have.” Research from SmartAsset shows that 46% of financial advisors use LinkedIn either often or extremely often in their marketing efforts. Advisors and other wealth management industry executives have become more comfortable using different post formats to boost engagement such as short-form videos, polls and carousel posts.

Janeesa Hollingshead, Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at editor@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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