Financial Advisor Marketing & Technology

Marketing & Technology For Independent Financial Advisors

Flower

Highlights Of Survey Results About Advisor Marketing And CABs

  • 27% of advisors said they don’t need a client advisory board to know what their clients want.
  • 57% of advisors believe their clients will give them referrals now despite big losses in portfolios they manage.
  • 58% of advisors say their website is fairly effective, effective or very effective in marketing to prospects, while only 38% say their website is fairly effective, effective or very effective in communicating with clients.
  • Many marketing vehicles are not being used by a majority of advisors, although the vehicles are at least fairly effective when used.

These were some of the findings of a survey we took in advance of last week’s webinar about client advisory boards. Bruce Peters, founder and CEO of CABHQ, was our featured speaker and he had plenty of material to work with from our survey.

Although 288 registrants signed up for the free session, just 43 filled out the survey. The survey was too long. We’ll keep surveys shorter in the future. Please respond to the surveys. Understanding your needs is important to us.

While the number of respondents was small, the survey results give us a good indication—albeit unscientific—about how advisors feel about issues they were questioned about. From my experience, once you have more than 35 advisors respond to a survey the overall results do not change much whether an additional 100 advisors or 1,000 respond.

I believe that the one-quarter of advisors that responded to question one by saying they don’t need a client advisory board to know what their clients want are mistaken. A formal feedback loop lets you know what your clients are thinking. Without formally asking clients what they’re thinking—through surveys, a CAB, or other means, you’re just guessing.

In question six, 57% of advisors say they believe clients will give them referrals despite large losses in their portfolios. If you are among the 43% of advisors who believe your clients will not give you referrals now, it may be worthwhile to examine why you feel this way. Could you do a better job of focusing client relationships on retirement planning, estate planning, risk management, and articulating and planning to achieve long term goals? How can you become less dependent on investment performance for referrals? Can you do a better job of educating clients about market risks?

It’s unfortunate that 43% of respondents to question eight say that establishing a client advisory board would require too much work amid the crisis. With clients in trouble, this is arguably the perfect time to set up a CAB. It would provide an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to making your firm great even in the worst of times. CAB members are more likely to bond with you now, in difficult times, than ever. This is precisely the right time to elevate communication and show clients you care.

Answers to questions 10, 11, and 12 could be the topic of several blogs. One interesting finding is that 58% of advisors say their website is fairly effective, effective or very effective in marketing to prospects. Yet only 38% say their website is fairly effective, effective or very effective in communicating with clients. That makes sense. Advisors are not yet utilizing Web 2.0 tools available to them to facilitate client service and engagement. According to the survey, 75% of advisors say they do not provide clients with an online vault, 89% say they do not write a blog, 67% are not using online meeting software, and 67% are not providing webinars for clients. While websites have been better for marketing than for client service, the growing use of client portals, online vaults, personalized content delivery, and other Web 2.0 tools will make the Web a much more important tool for serving clients.

While face to face quarterly or annual meetings remain by far the most effective way of communicating with clients, it’s interesting that personal notes run a close second and are among the most widely utilized tools for keeping in touch with clients. We’ll dig deeper into this in future surveys to determine if handwritten notes are more effective than emails. Your feedback on the use of personal emails with clients would be welcome.

For marketing to prospects, the most widely used vehicle of those listed is a website, followed by personal notes. Both are rated as having about the same effectiveness. Interestingly, brochures, seminars, and webinars are all used by fewer than half of those who responded. The low utilization of these proven marketing vehicles is noteworthy. While the great majority of advisors are not using these marketing tools, some of them appear to be fairly effective. For instance, 52% of those surveyed do not have a brochure, yet 36% of advisors say their brochure is either fairly effective, effective or very effective. Similarly, 40% of advisors are not using email newsletters but 40% say they are either fairly effective, effective, or very effective and the results show hard-copy newsletters are rated as slightly more effective while 40% of advisors do not utilize them.

This indicates many marketing vehicles are not being used by a majority of advisors, although the vehicles are at least fairly effective when used. A minority of advisory firms are able or disciplined enough to invest time and money needed to benefit from these marketing efforts. Those that do reap the rewards.

One Response to “Highlights Of Survey Results About Advisor Marketing And CABs”

  1. February 6th, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Bruce Peters says:

    Andy Gluck’s analysis of last week’s webinar Survey points out many new opportunities in the
    emerging "new order of business" for financial services professionals. From what could be described as today’s ashes the phoenix needs to arise. What’s the new that will survive and
    thrive? Our money is on collaborative business practices like Client Advisory Boards (CABs).
    As the survey indicates most recognize the need but have not seen their way clear to establish one as yet. This leaves us scratching our heads as to why not? Well, admittedly, I sometimes get dinged for being too "salesy", but how can I not? We have seen and know the benefit to both client and professional of the thoughtful conversations, dialogue, and informed listening. The shared exchange has off the charts ROI by any measure. We’ll be sharing more of the insights gained to the extent we professionally can. Thanks for the opening and look forward to the continuing coversation

Leave a Reply