Have you set realistic expectations for your firm’s marketing? If not you may be in trouble. All too often, RIA owners, founders, and managers have an unrealistic expectation of the role that marketing should play within their firm.
The other day I was looking at strategies to expand my activities to save and invest for retirement and I began to think about the similarities that should exist between wealth managers and professional marketers. My financial advisors have all set the appropriate expectations on what I can expect from my investments over the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. I have been told to expect a 5% to 8% +/- return on my investments and to run away from anybody who promises to double my money. So then why have many owners and managers set an unrealistic expectation on how their marketing dollars will impact AUM?
Set realistic expectations for your marketing efforts
There is no one single solution to expand and grow your firm and marketing is just one component of it. For marketing to be successful at your firm, it must be viewed as a set of ongoing activities to connect and engage clients and prospects through the sharing of information that helps individuals and families pursue their financial goals. All too often, marketing is associated only with lead generation and its value is then determined based on new leads and associated new assets generated from those leads. What about the importance of communicating the firm’s outlook on the markets with existing clients? How important is it to follow up quickly with relevant financial planning information for new prospects who attended a financial education seminar hosted by one of the firm’s advisors last week?
Establishing a set of marketing resources to follow up with referrals
According to Schwab’s 2016 RIA Benchmark Study, referrals provide 75% of new assets for RIAs. Since referrals are clearly the single largest component of a firm’s organic growth strategy, doesn’t it make sense to create a set of prebuilt campaigns ready to support advisors as they work to connect and engage with new referrals when they come in? Referrals still need to be sold on the value of your firm. In an increasingly competitive environment, RIAs should leverage a portion of their marketing efforts to set up referral marketing campaigns that are designed to share a variety of firm branded information via online and offline channels.
Outline the role of marketing for your RIA
Successful firms are taking the time to define the role of marketing and to establish marketing calendars with a set of scheduled activities that align with their firm’s strategic plan for growth. At this phase, don’t focus on whether or not you have the talent internally to manage the process of creating and distributing online and offline communications to clients and prospects. Take the time to sketch out two to three areas where you see room for improvement with how your firm and its advisors communicate with clients and prospects.
To learn more about building your RIA’s marketing department, click here to download my white paper: Smart Communications for RIAs.