In a conversation in our New York offices in mid-March with Amy Webber and Colleen Bell of Cambridge Investment Research, I was asked what issues the IA and ThinkAdvisor.com editorial teams were watching. This is a common question I’ve been asked over the years, but my answer is made much easier these days by the analytics I have at my hands from ThinkAdvisor's traffic numbers (made useful by an efficient dashboard, a topic one of our feature stories makes clear).
My answer to that question? As of mid-March, the biggest issue is the Department of Labor's pending fiduciary rule which, by the time you read this, may have already been released by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The mandatory OMB review should be the last hurdle for this long-aborning rule which has raised so many people's blood pressures on both the pro and con side. And before mid-March, what were advisors interested in? The poor market performance, and its volatility, that was ushered in with the New Year.
A February Investment Advisor article by Morningstar's Steve Wendel, which used Dr. Wendel's behavioral finance insights to explain why clients don't take your advice, was our most-read magazine article in the month.
And before that? Social Security claiming strategies. Before that? The budget negotiations and eventual budget bill that was passed in December, which affected tax planning in addition to providing some much-needed certainty on more macro issues.
As the editor of a magazine and website serving advisors, I’d be remiss if I didn't pay close attention to those direct feedback traffic numbers, to that third-party data that objectively reported on what our audience — formerly known as readers, meaning you — were most interested in.
However, it's not just traffic numbers or reader survey data that informs our editorial plans. It's also those conversations with industry leaders like Ms. Webber and Ms. Bell; with advisor marketing and press and public relations professionals like Marion Asnes of The Idea Refinery or Dana Taormina of JConnelly (the new name of JCPR) or Marie Swift of Impact Communications. I’ve gained more industry insights than I can count in formal interviews and informal chats with Mark Tibergien and Philip Palaveev and Julie Littlechild and Dan Skiles and Tom Giachetti and many others.
I always learn from the advisors I know fairly well — folks like Greg Friedman and Deena Katz and Nick Nicolette — but also from advisors I’ve just met. I recommend to my team that at advisor conferences they sit down at lunch with people they don't know (yet), because they’ll learn from them, too.
Finally, I learn from my editorial colleagues — the members of my far-flung team, many of whom have knowledge and experience and insights I lack — and those editors and reporters and art directors and videographers who are part of my larger ALM team.
That's how you should learn and grow, too. Use the best data available to you, then filter it through the insights of your peers and colleagues and mix it all with your own experience to better grow your practices and better serve your clients.
That, too, is how you’ll successfully deal with the crisis du jour, whether it's a DOL regulation or a cranky market or just-passed tax legislation or new insights into client behavior. You can't do it yourself, even if you’re a sole practitioner; but together, we’ll all come out just fine on the other end of whatever quotidian crisis we’re facing.
--- Read "Why Clients Don’t Take Your Advice" on ThinkAdvisor.