Marcoms Roundtable: Reaching Advisors With Investment Products

Marcoms Experts From Gregory FCA, Edelman Smithfield And Craft & Capital Share Strategies To Present Investment Products To Financial Advisors
Chris Sullivan, President, Craft & Capital; Nicole Hakimi, Senior Vice President, Edelman Smithfield; Trevor Davis, Vice President, Gregory FCA
Chris Sullivan, President, Craft & Capital; Nicole Hakimi, Senior Vice President, Edelman Smithfield; Trevor Davis, Vice President, Gregory FCA

Busy financial advisors constantly search for ways to gain an edge – improving their efficiency and productivity – which means that marketing and communications aimed at advisors needs to focus on both of these angles. Asset managers providing investment products through advisors need not only a good product, but a good marcoms strategy to present the case for their products to busy advisors in a way that speaks to advisors’ needs, and the needs of their clients.

To explore the best marcoms strategies to serve these goals, we spoke with marcoms experts  Trevor Davis, Vice President at Gregory FCA; Nicole Hakimi, Senior Vice President at Edelman Smithfield; and Chris Sullivan, President of Craft & Capital.

We asked each of them: What are the keys to a marcoms strategy aimed at financial advisors for investment products?

Their responses follow.

Chris Sullivan, President, Craft & Capital

Chris Sullivan, President, Craft & Capital
Chris Sullivan, President, Craft & Capital

In my experience, the key to a successful investment management marcoms strategy aimed at financial advisors is have a lot more “coms” and a lot less “mar.” It is essential to lead with education and deliver content to FAs that doesn’t just help them better understand an investment idea or approach, but helps them answer some of the big questions from their clients.

It is also important to remember that no one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to be listened to, so make sure everyone on your team is highly attuned to any feedback that FAs might offer on how messaging and ideas are landing.

People don’t think linearly, so while your team might have a marketing “roadmap” in mind for how these conversations will go, some of the responses you’re able to glean from the field may point you in different directions and help inform tweaks and pivots that can be very helpful in opening additional FA doors since the question or criticism that one FA shares is likely the same one that 10 others might have been thinking but left unsaid.

In terms of content, taking an omnichannel approach is our usual recommendation. Advisors don’t get their ideas or insights from one single source or even one single type of source. Instead they’ve got their trusted outlets across a range of media types. So whether you’re looking at earned or paid marketing and PR opportunities, make sure you are telling your story across multiple channels.

Nicole Hakimi, Senior Vice President, Edelman Smithfield

Nicole Hakimi, Senior Vice President, Edelman Smithfield
Nicole Hakimi, Senior Vice President, Edelman Smithfield

Financial advisors have difficult jobs! They need to stay up to date in a rapidly evolving industry while balancing a wide range of practice management and client responsibilities. To engage this audience, asset managers need to demonstrate that they understand these complexities and can provide solutions that make the advisors’ jobs easier.

Below are recommendations we make to our asset management clients who promote investment products through the advisor channel:

Identify white space. Conduct an audit of existing investment content geared towards advisors and identify unique themes to own in marketing and communications efforts. A white space analysis is an important first step given the number of asset management firms that compete to market themselves to advisors and their clients.

Illustrate how the fund can fit into a client portfolio. Marketers and communicators need to be able to explain how a fund can fit into a portfolio and help clients achieve objectives such as capital preservation, income generation and diversification. Align with portfolio managers and distribution teams to develop jargon-free messaging on the fund’s investment attributes and points of differentiation. Amplify these messages in earned, owned and paid media.

Meet advisors where they are. A Putnam Investments survey found that while advisors have “all but abandoned” Facebook and Twitter, 91% of them are active on LinkedIn. Fund managers should use LinkedIn to engage the wealth management community. To take it a step further, they can add paid promotion to social posts to target advisors by job title, company and location.

Trevor Davis, Vice President, Gregory FCA

Trevor Davis, Vice President, Gregory FCA
Trevor Davis, Vice President, Gregory FCA

Capturing the attention of financial advisors among the crowd of product providers competing for mindshare is a challenge, no question. But it can be done.

First, think of what matters to advisors. They need to understand how the product fits into a client’s portfolio or solves a problem, and be able to explain it to their clients, in plain English. Lead with what your product is designed to accomplish and less up front on your firm, pedigree and people.

Second, in delivering effective marketing communication tools, package the message in a way that’s useful for advisors in conversations with clients. Make it engaging and visual.

Third, and perhaps most impactful, is to remember that not every advisor is the same in terms of what they look for in an investment product. For some, cost is a primary driver in selecting funds. For others, risk mitigation is critical, so they may be looking for strategies that complement that orientation. Take the time to listen and understand the unique needs of the advisor and align your marketing accordingly. For example, it’s not crazy to think that an advisor with a track record of allocating client money to annuities might be receptive to buffer ETFs or low volatility funds.

Finally, remember that the advisor gains or loses credibility by association with the investments they make for their clients. Maintaining a strong, visible, credible brand presence makes it easier for them to choose your offering, even if you are a relative boutique.

James Miller, Contributing Editor and Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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