Advisors’ Marketing Strategies Take the Backseat

The use of marketing strategies among financial advisors fell to 20 percent, according to a new report.


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The number of financial advisors with a dedicated marketing strategy fell to the lowest rate in five years, according to a new Broadridge Financial Solutions survey.

Broadridge, a financial technology company based in Lake Success, New York, surveyed 403 U.S. financial advisors and 131 Canadian financial advisors from October to December 2023.

The company found that only about 20 percent of financial advisors in the U.S. had a defined marketing strategy compared with 28 percent in 2019. Almost all advisors said they found marketing activities challenging.

Advisors cited finding time for marketing initiatives and sourcing the right personnel as the top challenges with marketing, followed by selecting the appropriate technology to leverage and the act of developing a marketing strategy.

For more than half a century, advisors operated under a set of strict and highly regulated marketing rules that banned normal practices such as testimonials and the use of performance results. That changed in 2020 with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new marketing rule, which allowed advisors to use testimonials and third-party ratings in advertisements — under certain conditions.

Regardless, the highly regulated environment has meant that advisors have been slow to adopt and implement advanced marketing trends.

Marketing for advisors is not just about marketing the firm to potential clients but also about sharing educational information with current clients, but even with this aspect, advisors struggled, according to Broadridge.

“An important element in an advisor’s growth strategy is personalized educational content that forges deeper relationships and helps clients achieve their unique goals, and yet many advisors find challenges in developing and sharing personalized education,” Broadridge said in a statement.

The top reasons that U.S. advisors said they weren’t sharing educational content with clients were that they weren’t sure how best to go about it (49 percent), they didn’t have enough time (46 percent) and they perceived a lack of interest from clients (44 percent). Compliance was also a concern, with 34 percent stating they felt they would run into compliance issues.

Advisors who said they are personalizing their content marketing were more likely to say they’re successful at achieving practice goals. Seventy-one percent of U.S. advisors who are personalizing their content marketing said they were “more confident in reaching their practice goals” compared with 62 percent of advisors who aren’t personalizing their content marketing.

Thirty percent of U.S. advisors who personalized their content said they were “very confident” they would reach practice goals next year versus 18 percent of those who aren’t personalizing their content.

On the whole, Broadridge found that those who personalized their content were more likely to convert social media leads to clients, use generative AI, spend more time on marketing efforts, have a defined marketing strategy and generate more website leads, compared with their non-personalizing counterparts.

According to the survey, many financial advisors are leveraging AI to help solve some of their marketing challenges. Fifty-six percent of Canadian advisors currently use or are planning to use generative AI in digital marketing, while 43 percent of U.S. advisors said the same thing.

“2023 was the year of generative AI, and tech-savvy advisors can break through the clutter as they develop use cases to better personalize their content and communications for multi-generational clients,” Kevin Darlington, head of Broadridge Advisor Solutions, said in a statement. “However, many concerns and questions remain around the technology, so advisors should understand the risks and opportunities to leveraging generative AI in a digital marketing strategy to remain compliant while attracting prospects. Similarly, social media has become a popular tool to attract the next generation of potential clients and should be harnessed effectively for lead generation.”

However, in a world where financial advice is one TikTok video away, advisors may be fighting an uphill battle to gain the attention of investors, potential clients and even existing clients.

A 2023 Morningstar survey found that investors ranked advisors at roughly the same level they ranked trading platforms and business and financial news for value added. A different Morningstar survey last year found that investors preparing for a recession sought advice from social media, friends and websites more than they sought advice from financial advisors.

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