Does demand drive innovation or does innovation create demand? Or is it possible that both are true? When I look at the landscape in our industry I see consumers looking for objectivity. They desire someone who will really and truly look out for their interests.

There are certain things that have a broad appeal to the consumer. For example, we’re all going to die some day, and because of this universal fact, the life insurance industry has created a way to provide for the survivors. When a life insurance salesman calls on a prospect, they can offer something that the customer needs. How much and what type of insurance, plus which company, are questions that need to be addressed. But what if the agent is a representative of just one company? What then? Is the customer really getting the very best product for their situation?

Take the investment industry, specifically those who manage money 100% of the time. People clearly need this service, no question about it. How should the money be invested? What return should be targeted? How will the customer pay for these services?

When you need a loan you go see your banker. They can certainly provide this, but is there a better loan with better terms out there?

All three of these situations have one thing in common. All of the advisors handle a specific product or niche. The life insurance salesman will sell life insurance, the investment person will sell investments, and the banker will sell loans. What’s missing? Who’s looking at the client’s picture from a holistic point of view?

If these vendors are working for a large corporation, then they are working for a large corporation. Don’t gloss over this. If they’re working for a large corporation, they are not working for the client. They may be ethical but they have an obligation to their employer to produce. This type of structure can easily lead to recommendations which are not in the best interest of the client, which brings me to my main point. In this example, demand drives innovation. The innovation is the emergence of the “gatekeeper,” or the individual who help clients coordinate the myriad of decisions In order to optimize their choices.

In this case, the itch has created the niche. What do you think?