Marcoms Roundtable: Strategies To Grow In The Retirement Space

Marcoms Experts At Vocatus, Ficomm And Water & Wall Describe Key Actions Advisors Must Take To Enter And Grow In The Retirement Plan Business

A recent Cerulli study pointed to a trend of wealth managers increasing their presence in the retirement plan business. The report pointed to drivers such as increasing relationships, generating growth through workplace engagement and the stickiness of relationships that include retirement plans. As this trend burgeons, advisors exploring expansion in the retirement plan business need to know how to position their marketing and communications.

To learn the best marcoms strategies for advisors entering or growing in the retirement arena, we spoke with Candice Carlton, EVP, Head of Consulting & Innovation at Ficomm Partners; Ray Hennessey, CEO of Vocatus; and Kevin Santo, Senior Account Executive at Water & Wall.

We asked each of them: Which marcoms strategies are most useful for advisors reaching out to the retirement plan space?

Their responses follow.

Kevin Santo, Senior Account Executive, Water & Wall

Kevin Santo, Senior Account Executive, Water & Wall
Kevin Santo, Senior Account Executive, Water & Wall

Educational content should be a staple of any advisor’s marketing arsenal. Many advisors believe misconceptions about their value is the biggest obstacle to accessing Next Gen clients.

Accessing the retirement plan space offers an avenue for advisors to reshape those misconceptions at scale. To achieve that goal, however, advisors must similarly educate plan sponsors on their unique value.

Doing so isn’t as difficult as it may seem. For example, developing a professionally branded, one-page template once will allow you to establish a plug-and-play content pipeline.

Publish at a consistent cadence and tailor content to educate plan sponsors on your expertise. This could include implications of regulatory tax developments for soon-to-be retirees, sector-specific opportunities for new grads starting their first 401(k) plan, or something else entirely. Regardless of the subject, distribute content strategically to targeted lists and speak your audience’s language. The finance industry has too often hurt themselves with complex and jargon-heavy marketing, when content should really use terminology the majority of readers can understand.

Most importantly, don’t let content shelf life expire once an email is sent. An educational one-pager should be repurposed as a LinkedIn article. That LinkedIn article can then serve as talking points for media interviews and industry speaking engagements.

Ultimately, as the industry becomes increasingly competitive, brand credibility is key. And one of the quickest ways to develop it is through education.

Ray Hennessey, CEO, Vocatus

How can financial advisors get more retirement plan business? Success comes down to showing plan management expertise, going far beyond simply communicating your ability to manage money. You must position yourself as an advisor who understands the complexities of managing someone’s future.

This is a very specialized area, so advisors should focus their marketing on their knowledge of the regulatory environment, particularly ERISA rules, as well as the different state requirements for setting up and managing plans. A content strategy is a great way to start. You can share your thought leadership on blogs, in social media and by providing expert commentary around trends in the retirement business.

Positioning is important. You should present yourself not as simply a money manager but as someone who knows how to run a business and support employees, talking to retirement plan clients more directly, businessperson to businessperson. This is a great way to deepen your relationships with existing clients, too.

Most advisors have clients who are also business owners or executives at companies with retirement plans, so you can often start with your own client base to gain greater experience in this area.

Candice Carlton, Executive VP, Head Of Consulting & Innovation, Ficomm Partners

Candice Carlton, EVP, Head of Consulting & Innovation, Ficomm Partners
Candice Carlton, EVP, Head of Consulting & Innovation, Ficomm Partners

For advisors reaching out to the retirement plan space, it’s important to have multiple touchpoints for this audience to reach you. YouTube, podcasting and social media are prime platforms for advisors who love educating plan participants and want to stand out from their competition in a modern, digital-first way.

Advisors usually connect with institutional clients through center-of-influence (COI) relationships, board participation, RFPs and networking with HR professionals. A strong digital presence and high-value content can validate your expertise in the space, appeal to their plan participants and ultimately convert them to work with you directly. Without your own individual brand, it may be harder to convert this demographic to clients.

In-person education events are crucial and pretty typical. By inviting attendees to subscribe to your ongoing content channels, you create a valuable pathway to convert them into individual clients in a really authentic and education-driven way.

Janeesa Hollingshead, Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at

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