Adviser Marketing Spend Up During COVID-19 Pandemic

Though they spent more on marketing overall this year, financial advisers have questions about the return on marketing spend.

Broadridge Financial Solutions has published a new report on financial advisers’ marketing spend, finding a 24% spend increase this year over 2020.

They survey shows only 26% of financial advisers report having a defined marketing strategy. At the same time, findings suggest advisers have a renewed focus on growing their practices through digital marketing, but there is a growing disparity in their results.

Broadridge finds advisers’ average annual marketing spend has increased to $16,090, up from $12,939 in 2020. The survey finds 15% of advisers report being very satisfied with their marketing return on investment (ROI). According to the survey, advisers with a defined marketing strategy onboarded more than twice as many clients over the last 12 months as those who don’t.

Advisers under the age of 45 are devoting 70% of their marketing spend to new client acquisition, compared to 57% for advisers over 55. On the other hand, two-thirds of advisers (66%) are actively adding new clients, and 59% of advisers report an uptick in inbound prospect requests.

Kevin Darlington, general manager at Broadridge, says the timing is right for this deepened focus on adviser marketing, echoing comments made by experts speaking at the 2021 PLANADVISER National Conference.

“Financial advisers are back on offense following a wait-and-see approach in 2020, increasing their marketing spend to grow their practices and reach new prospects,” Darlington says. “That said, many advisers are still struggling to execute a marketing strategy that draws a neat line to new client acquisition.”

As the survey shows, those who have taken the time to define and implement a cohesive digital strategy are twice as likely to be very satisfied with their marketing ROI. They are also more confident in their ability to find new prospects, convert leads and meet their practice goals.

According to Broadridge, fewer advisers now cite Baby Boomers as their primary prospecting target than in any previous iteration of the research: 79% in 2021, down from 81% in 2020 and 83% in 2019. Specifically, 13% of advisers now prioritize the Millennial audience (up from 10% in 2020), and 58% of advisers now prioritize the Generation X audience (up from 46% in 2020).

Other findings show 82% of advisers expressed a focus on targeting potential heirs, with 40% planning to target additional generations within clients’ families and 42% already doing so.

Reflecting the recent rule changes made by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), only 3% of advisers currently include client testimonials in marketing materials, but 30% plan to start doing so soon.

More information about Broadridge research is available here.