Effective marketing is not necessarily about following
trends—it is about following good business practices, according to Robert
Sofia, chief operating officer (COO) of Platinum Advisor Strategies in The
Sofia says his company, which helps independent financial
advisers attract and retain clients through marketing, encourages advisers to
avoid always “chasing the marketing silver bullet.” He cites critical events as
an example of when good business practice is important. Whether it is a big
drop in the market, a presidential election, the fiscal cliff crisis or the recent
Boston Marathon bombing, Sofia says, it is vital to have a communication
strategy in place to deal with situations that make investors nervous.
It is unrealistic for advisers to call every client, in
these situations, so they should plan to schedule conference calls, send email
blasts and/or post videos.
Unfortunately, Sofia says, many advisers are not effective
with client communication, but the ones who understand that it is the key to
client relationships have the most success.
Sofia’s company also uses technology to publicize events, be
they educational, charitable, intimate or large. The events are promoted
beforehand with call “blasts” and social media, and guests are sometimes
encouraged to bring along friends, which can provide prospecting opportunities
for the adviser. “The combination of good communication followed up with events
is working well,” Sofia says.
In advance of public seminars, advisers can send postcards
with quick response (QR) codes to give recipients the chance to attend a virtual
seminar instead or obtain a free report associated with the seminar. “These are
technology trends that other companies use all the time but the adviser
industry is not using that much,” he says.
So why are advisers slow to embrace technology-driven marketing?
Two big reasons are simply lack of time and lack of support. If the adviser has
too much on his plate, Sofia says, he should consider delegating or outsourcing
to a marketing firm. When choosing a marketing firm, however, he recommends
that it be connected to the financial industry and understand the adviser’s
Sofia says advisers also hesitate to use technology due to
fear and a lack of knowledge. Social media can prompt unease in an adviser
because of compliance restrictions, but Sofia says regulations are not as
strict as many advisers think. “The regulators have loosened up considerably,
[but] the firms … have to catch up,” he says. “Compliance should not be a
barrier to using social media.”