November 15, 2013

Lucre Targets RIA Market With $64,500 Websites

Marketing firm wants to find your firm’s soul and put it on the Web like it did for Private Ocean

You’ve heard of the $64,000 question.

Now there’s a $64,000 — make that $64,500 — answer called ThisIsLucre.com, a niche product offering targeting wealth management firms seeking “radical revenue growth” through its snazzy websites.

While boutique strategic communication firm BigMouth has worked for 20 years on blue chip accounts including Apple, Dell and Oracle, founding partner Mike Yoffie told ThinkAdvisor that smaller companies have often sought estimates they felt they could not afford.

“When people would say ‘That’s great but we can’t afford it,’ I’d say “So wait until you can afford it because other solutions [just won’t cut it]. Ours is going to pay for itself many times over."

Yoffie, who says about 40% of his San Francisco-based firm’s clients are in the financial services industry, says wealth management firms particularly were attracted to the kind of work they did for Private Ocean.

Seeing a lot of deals fail to materialize but believing in their communications and design prowess, Yoffie says he and his partner Todd Spina thought:

“Most firms until they reach a certain size can’t afford the kind of work we do. Why should only the biggest firms get that?”

Thus was born Lucre, a prepackaged communications offering for RIAs, currently in its launch phase and targeting wealth management firms in the $50 million to $500 million assets-under-management range.

For $64,500, Yoffie says, a wealth management firm seeking to move its revenue charts will benefit from his firm's two decades of experience that includes their work for multibillion-dollar companies.

“This is really a sort of entry-level package. ‘I know what I get. I know what it costs. I know how long it takes to get it,’” says Yoffie of Lucre, which promises its predetermined deliverables at its fixed price point in 90 days.

Lucre’s $64,500 answer is to the problem of wealth management websites that “all look basically the same,” Yoffie says.

The veteran copywriter believes that each firm has a “soul” that is obscured by the bland sameness of website and marketing content that is either dense and jargon-filled or slick and superficial.

Lucre’s process includes getting to know the firm’s owner to free that lost soul and communicate his or her mission. Yoffie cites Apple ad icon Lee Clow, who attributed his success to the high-level access he had:

“We met with Steve Jobs every week. I didn’t even see the CEOs in most of our clients; we see chief marketing officers,” Clow was quoted as saying about his work with Apple.

But will the $64,500 price tag be too much for RIA firms?

“To our minds it’s incredibly cheap,” Yoffie says. “You can buy a nice car or totally turbocharge your business.”

“We are creative directors, strategy guys — we call ourselves ‘chiefs of moving the charts.’ That reflects our efforts on measurable results,” he adds.

By measurable results, Yoffie says Lucre holds itself accountable for results by tying the firm’s work to some kind of hard metric.

For example, in the case of Private Ocean, which resulted from the merger of Friedman & Associates and Salient Wealth Management, client retention was a key metric.

“A bad thing would have been for people to say [after the merger]: ‘Huh — I’m going to go to a place that feels more like Friedman & Associates used to be.’"

But Yoffie and his team worked to communicate the idea that clients were getting the same personal service from the people they knew — only now with greater service capabilities and a succession plan. Client retention was north of 90% post-merger.

Another key metric for Lucre is attracting assets under management, meaning getting more prospects through a firm’s pipeline.

Yoffie says that out of hundreds of advisor sites hosted on the Advisor Websites platform, his client Private Ocean is the No. 1 performer in terms of page views and time spent on the site.

Private Ocean’s success through a merger and a rough market has brought in referral business to Lucre. A current prospect, a Bay Area independent firm with more than $1 billion in AUM, recently told Yoffie:

“We're not talking to anyone else. A contact at Private Ocean told us, 'Clients don't leave because an advisor leaves; they're bought into the firm. Positioning the firm rather than the individuals has really worked.'"

So, in answer to a hypothetical RIA client’s $64,500 question, Yoffie describes the bottom line this way:

 “You are getting everything that you need to effectively transform the way that you sell at your firm. That includes insights that we get from firm members, clients and centers of influence; a ruthlessly focused strategic communications strategy.

“You’re getting a simple, powerful website that corresponds to the way that people actually use the web, which is not a deep dive. You don’t need a 50-page website. You get a piece of collateral [marketing material] which you can also save as a PDF; a sales presentation; photography — capturing people in a human way.

“What runs through all that is a story, a narrative," he says. "That’s what you see if you look at Private Ocean…it’s all a narrative with some empathy in it.”

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Check out Unique Advisor Site Targets Ultra-Affluent on ThinkAdvisor.

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