Advisors Overwhelmed by Product Pitches: Study

The typical advisor receives 50 to 100 marketing and sales contacts each week

Advisors will probably say they don't need a study to tell them they're barraged by product pitches; for manufacturers, however, the results could be eye-opening.

The typical advisor receives 50 to 100 different marketing and sales contacts a week in various formats, according to a new report from the Boston-based research and consulting firm Practical Perspectives.

Additionally, the report, “Communicating with Financial Advisors–Insights and Opportunities 2013,” found roughly one in three advisors indicate they actually receive significantly more communications.

“Many advisors find the volume of marketing and sales contact to be overwhelming and are challenged to devote time to reflect on these outreach efforts,” the report says. “Consequently, a large portion of the messaging is given cursory attention or ignored, especially from firms that advisors are not currently engaged with.”

Howard Schneider, Practical Perspectives’ president and author of the report, says advisors see benefit in the marketing and sales outreach they receive from product providers and other sources, but most don’t have the time to digest the messages given other day-to-day priorities.

“Providers are spending countless resources on outreach each year to build awareness, loyalty and sales,” Schneider says. “Many advisors indicate these contacts do influence key factors such as their willingness to consider a particular provider or their loyalty to a provider. The struggle for firms is to use best practices to gain advisors' attention in a highly cluttered environment with so many firms competing for the chance to connect.”

Additional findings of the report include:

  • Marketing/sales communications are heaviest from asset managers (those they currently use as well as those they do not) and from an advisor’s broker-dealer or custodian.
  • The vast majority of marketing/sales communications advisors receive are in the form of emails, with in-person office visits representing a relatively low portion of contacts.
  • Advisors are far more likely to value face-to-face contacts in their office, with advisors three times as likely to pay attention to in-person visits compared with emails or telephone calls.
  • JPMorgan, BlackRock/iShares, American Funds, Franklin Templeton and PIMCO are recognized by advisors for having the most attention-getting and useful marketing/sales outreach.
  • Despite much attention to the topic, most advisors do not perceive communications via social media to be a useful source of connection relative to other formats.
  • Advisors suggest a variety of changes to get them to pay more attention to communications, including making them more concise, focusing on relevant topics, and tailoring the message to the advisor and the client base they serve. Many also suggest reducing the volume of contacts directed to them.

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