Building Deeper Advisory Relationships with Data

If you’re looking to form stronger advisory relationships, try turning your existing client data into a winning asset. According to a report from Broadridge, asset managers should integrate data and analytics into their marketing strategies in an effort to acquire talent, forge deeper relationships, and encourage retention. 

Tim Kresl, Principal, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., told NICSA members how to do just that during a recent #WebinarWednesday event based on the report. The discussion, which also featured guidance from John Hancock Signature Services, explored how the research findings can be used in an actionable way to create fruitful relationships with financial advisors.

In terms of general investment decision-making, Kresl said the industry is continuing to witness a shift to passive products, especially on the part of millennials, who also seek digitally-led advice via robo-advisors. In addition, he said the importance of segmentation continues to grow.

Segmentation

“The vast majority of assets are falling into larger buckets across more households, and therefore a much larger amount of advisors as well — which is creating a problem for asset managers looking to focus their efforts given the fractured nature of the market as a whole,” Kresl said. “This underscores the importance of segmentation and data use.” 

Katie Firth, Head of Distribution Operations & Business Intelligence, John Hancock Signature, agreed. “It’s a matter of trying to figure out—using your sales resources, using your product resources—how to  make sure you’re calling on the advisors that have oversight into the book of business you’re seeking, whether you’re going into active mutual funds or ETF products.”

To determine how to use analytics to inform client segmentation, client journey mapping, and brand enhancement, Broadridge conducted ten in-depth, one-hour interviews with asset management firm marketing executives in the third and fourth quarters of 2018. 

“For the most part, the asset managers that we spoke with are implementing, or at least considering implementing, a variety of tactics to create a more client-centric advisor journey,” Kresl said.

According to the study, these tactics include hiring staff with experience in journey mapping; segmenting advisors based on needs rather than channel or sales volume; forming working groups with execs from marketing, sales, and operations; tackling smaller, proof-of-concept initiatives prior to expanded execution; and upgrading existing technology and data analytics capabilities.

Content Marketing

Kresl said more people are also focusing on content marketing to deepen client relationships. “When product becomes somewhat commoditized, it requires asset managers to really differentiate themselves and stay top-of-mind with other relevant and proprietary content,” he said. “Whether it’s value-add or business-building, there are many things that firms are doing in this area.”

According to the study, digital mechanisms are preferred for both the delivery of targeted content and client interaction. But with so much content available to advisors, it’s crucial to get relevant information to the right client at an appropriate time.

To that end, customer-relationship management platforms (CRMs) can help asset managers take record of each advisor’s preferred content types, desired frequency of contact, content distribution preferences, and general areas of interest.

Mapping the Client Journey

Broadridge research also revealed an increased focus on mapping the client journey. “Asset managers are considering how advisors experience their firm holistically,” Kresl said. “How do you get an advisor to move from being a prospect who knows nothing about us, to somebody who’s dabbling in one of our products, to a perennial producer, to an advocate?”

According to the research, asset managers can increase the pace of this journey through a number of techniques. “The biggest was building an organizational understanding and alignment around what this is, why it’s important, and how we measure return on investment, which is arguably one of the hardest pieces,” Kresl said.

Getting buy-in from key stakeholders and moving from an ad-hoc to a more systematic engagement plant also help expedite the client journey, Kresl said.

Firth said John Hancock has ramped up efforts to understand the client journey, going as far as to incorporate the concept into the firm’s newly launched site.

“We wanted to understand how a wirehouse, broker-dealer based advisor might look at different pieces of content than an RIA might, versus an Edward Jones advisor and so on and so forth,” she said. “We made sure to understand all the different types of potential website visitors and make sure they had appropriate content available. You can only do that by considering the client journey.”

Note: Although the observations contained in this work represent the best thoughts of the individuals comprising the NICSA panel, they do not necessarily reflect the views of NICSA or any of its member organizations. Matters addressed in this work may touch upon legal or regulatory matters, however nothing herein is intended to be or should be construed as legal advice. You should contact your own counsel in order to obtain legal advice regarding these or any other matters.



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