There are hundreds of marketing organizations out there, and all of them strive to provide agents with the products, systems and support they need to grow their business. Many advisors are happy with their marketing organization, but the relationships don’t always last for long. Advisors are known to be a transient bunch when it comes to FMOs. A top advisor is always on the lookout for a marketing organization that can boost his commissions and provide better support.
Senior Market Advisor wanted to find out what’s most important to advisors when it comes to marketing organizations. We asked what you like and dislike about your current MO(s), how you evaluate them, and if you are looking to make a change. In what areas do you think your MO needs to improve? What sources of information do you use to find out more about products and marketing organizations? These are among the many questions our advisor readers answered in this survey, which was conducted during the second half of January.
What we found provides insight into key issues facing MOs and advisor attitudes toward them.
When it’s time to change FMOs
1. When communication breaks down.
2. When an FMO fails to deliver on promises and commitments.
3. When an FMO doesn’t offer appropriate products for your clients.
4. When an FMO becomes a “commission pig.”
5. When an FMO lacks appropriate training, coaching or mentoring programs.
6. When an FMO lacks effective marketing materials, campaigns and strategies.
7. When an FMO lacks back office support.
8. When the company culture clashes.
9. When you’re treated like a number, not a person.
First off, nearly two out of every three respondents to our survey reported they have been affiliated with three or more marketing organizations during their careers, and one out of every three said he has been affiliated with five or more.
While 75 percent of the respondents said they are not currently considering switching marketing organizations, the other quarter are actively in the market for a new FMO.
Another survey question reveals that once an advisor is in the market for a new FMO, 85 percent will decide on one within six months. Some are simply dissatisfied with the performance of their marketing organization. In an open-ended question asking what advisors disliked about their FMO, many advisors complained about commission rates, product limitations, poor communication and a lack of marketing support. “The FMOs are not ready for prime time. They are way too small in staff and knowledge of the products they promote,” one respondent said. “They talk a good game, but their follow-through needs some help,” said another.
When it comes to what advisors like about their current FMOs, comments about strong personal relationships and a positive culture were by far the most prevalent. “The one-on-one relationship with my marketer,” was what one respondent likes best. “I can call him anytime for info, assistance or just to bounce ideas. Also, it’s a small FMO with resources behind it, so I can talk with the execs if needed.”
Accessible executives were cited by several respondents as positives, and the importance of good communication maintaining a good relationship was a recurring theme. “I have more than one (FMO),” one respondent answered. “The one I speak with most, [I have an] excellent relationship with my rep.”
Good product selection was another frequent answer to what advisors like best about their marketing organizations.