How CMOs Address Organic Growth

Previous CMO 10 Honorees From RFG, Nitrogen, Oppenheimer And NewEdge Discuss How CMOs Can Support Organic Growth, Including AI, Third-Party Specialists, And Advisors’ Needs And Blind Spots
Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief, Wealth Solutions Report
Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief, Wealth Solutions Report

Chief marketing officers in the wealth management industry carry much on their plates, reaching audiences within the industry – especially advisors and professionals – as well as the ultimate audience, the client. CMOs must stay atop the latest changes, trends, techniques and regulatory movements while adapting to the ever-changing conditions of the industry, including the increasing difficulty of achieving organic growth.

While organic growth is the result of a combination of factors, marketing is a key ingredient without which organic growth cannot flourish. CMOs in firms ranging from the largest home offices to the smallest RIAs and independent advisory businesses must find ways to attract new business, even amid headwinds.

Concurrent with announcing our CMO 10: Top Wealth Management CMOs of 2024, we spoke with four of last year’s honorees to explore how CMOs are moving firms toward organic growth.

Rising To The Organic Growth Challenge

Abby Salameh, Chief Growth Officer, RFG Advisory
Abby Salameh, Chief Growth Officer, RFG Advisory

Abby Salameh, Chief Growth Officer at RFG Advisory, says that her firm is helping its advisors with their growth initiatives by investing in supportive technology, tools and people. “From creating bespoke marketing programs and automated digital campaigns, to organizing, hosting and executing client events, advisors that have taken advantage of these services have seen an organic growth rate of over 19%.”

Chris Broussard, CMO for NewEdge Capital GroupAmericanTCS and EdgeCo Holdings, says that his team is addressing organic growth by “leveraging data-driven strategies to identify client pain points and craft personalized solutions.” He explains that he uses AI-based analytics with CRM platforms to find high-value prospects, which allows his firm to develop tailored messaging and implement targeted campaigns.

Broussard states that this approach “positions advisors as trusted problem-solvers to challenges the client is currently facing, driving organic asset movement.”

Craig Clark, CMO, Nitrogen
Craig Clark, CMO, Nitrogen

Joan Khoury, Senior Managing Director and CMO of Oppenheimer & Co., says that her firm is solving for organic growth by providing comprehensive support for key clients concerns including retirement, legacy and entrepreneurship. “This strategy includes tailored development, curation and delivery of resources, ensuring our advisors can effectively address and meet their clients’ needs.”

According to Nitrogen CMO Craig Clark, a trend building for a long time has accelerated as wealth management marketers move deeper into the advisor sales cycle “and evangeliz[e] software that creates more consistent client-facing processes across the firm.”

Clark says that the marketers are implementing campaigns that will bring advisors to meet with clients in person, with the expectation that the meetings will be conducted in a standardized way, “enabling an experience that can scale across the whole firm.”

The Role Of Third-Party Marketing Specialists

“There is no denying that advisor marketing has advanced far beyond asking for referrals and like marketing in other industries, it is a highly specialized profession,” says Clark. He points out that firms with the most growth invest in advisor access to campaigns and content packaged in a compliance-approved manner, while allowing for customization.

Khoury says that her firm leverages third-party marketing specialists to work with internal thought leaders to educate clients on key topics such as AI, climate change and industrial advancements. “These experts contribute to podcasts, live events, webinars and client meetings, providing valuable insights. This strategy enhances client engagement and also positions us as a trusted source of knowledge in an ever-evolving world.”

According to Salameh, her firm hires specialists to build systems to execute, monitor and track advisor marketing programs. “We are leaning in heavily to support the tremendous wealth transfer that will soon be upon us.”

Artificial Intelligence

“Digital services have advanced so much from even just a few short years ago,” says Salameh, who points out the advantage of using AI to target and attract clients based on their preferences and behaviors. “You can now aim to deliver hyper personalized messaging to your target audience without much effort up front.”

Joan Khoury, Senior Managing Director & CMO, Oppenheimer & Co.
Joan Khoury, Senior Managing Director & CMO, Oppenheimer & Co.

Clark notes a fundamental shift driven by AI, as it “enables marketing content creation rapidly and without the specialized skills around writing and design that have prevailed since the beginning of sales and marketing.” This frees CMOs to create more personalized content and delegate certain content creation to advisors while shifting their energy to coaching the advisors.

Khoury sees advantages to using AI for content creation, as well as translation and video production. “We explore technologies like internal LLMs for content creation, language translation and text-to-video production. This shift from pure creators to ‘creator engineers’ integrates creativity with data, enabling rapid and impactful responses. By embracing learning and experimentation, we are on the path to enhanced productivity, personalization and rapid delivery to meet client needs dynamically.”

What Advisors Ask For To Support Organic Growth

Chris Broussard, CMO, NewEdge Capital Group, AmericanTCS and EdgeCo Holdings
Chris Broussard, CMO, NewEdge Capital Group, AmericanTCS and EdgeCo Holdings

According to Salameh and Khoury, advisors need help across many functions. “They are not natural born marketers. They are deliverers of financial guidance, act as life coaches and in most cases, also therapists,” says Salameh.

She continued, “Their requests for help run the gamut from one specific asset they need to a brainstorming session on targeting a specific audience to grow.”

Clark says that his firm sees two themes in advisor requests – insights into what works for other firms, and pre-built tools and content to put that into practice.

Broussard points to advisor requests for support in nurturing leads and prospecting. “Advisors rely on CMOs to develop lead nurturing campaigns via CRM, delivering personalized, timely content through appropriate channels.” This helps the advisor maintain consistent presence with the prospect to stay top-of-mind through the process of converting them into clients.

Upcoming Innovations

Noting that the future is difficult to predict, Salameh sees the possibility that AI will drive innovation in marketing and portfolio management.

Clark also believes AI could drive future innovations. “The innovation really is coming in the form of personalization at scale. AI-drafted content is a game changer, allowing advisors to much more quickly create drafts of marketing materials tailored to very specific audiences.”

Advisor Blind Spots

While advisors are aware of most happenings, trends and needs in the industry, they may also have knowledge gaps on how to achieve organic growth that can be filled in by CMOs.

“Advisors may underestimate the power of thought leadership content in driving organic growth,” says Broussard. “CMOs can position advisors as subject matter experts by developing compelling whitepapers, webinars and articles that offer tangible solutions to clients’ financial challenges.”

He adds, “This authoritative, value-added content captures attention, builds trust and establishes advisors as go-to resources in their areas of expertise, organically attracting prospects primed for conversion.”

Khoury notes that advisors might not realize how CMOs can be thought partners to help them develop their practice by modernizing their approaches and pushing “the envelope to think ahead, bringing insights from emerging segments like Next Gen and women, who are key to practice growth.”

Khoury concludes, “Ultimately, advisors play a crucial role in securing their clients’ financial futures, and we support them in achieving this goal through innovative strategies.”

Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at jbuchanan@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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