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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications

Advisors Often Ignore Product Marketing: Study

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The typical advisor receives between 11 and 25 marketing or sales contacts per day from product providers and distributors, like mutual fund companies, insurance providers and broker-dealers.

And, according to a new report from Practical Perspectives, most of it is falling on deaf ears.

The report, titled “Marketing Effectively to Financial Advisors – Insights and Opportunities 2016,” finds that most advisors do not devote considerable attention or time to marketing or sales communications from product providers and distributors.

“Advisors consider the marketing outreach they receive from product providers and other sources to be useful but most don’t have the time to digest the messages given the sheer volume and other day-to-day priorities,” said Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives and author of the report, in a statement.

More than 1 in 2 advisors (53%) review 10% or less of the marketing outreach directed to them, according to the report. This is also reflected in the limited time spent each day reviewing marketing communications, with nearly 6 in 10 advisors (57%) spending less than 15 minutes in total reviewing the multiple communications directed to them, according to the report.

The report is based on input from nearly 750 financial advisors – including full-service brokers, independent brokers, financial planners and registered investment advisors – gathered through an on-line survey conducted in March.

“Providers are spending countless resources on outreach each year to build awareness, loyalty and sales … The struggle is how you get your communication to stand out and attract the attention of advisors in a highly cluttered environment with so many firms competing for the chance to connect,” Schneider said in a statement.

RIAs appear to spend the least time on marketing outreach, whereas wirehouse advisors appear to dedicate more time, the report finds.

According to the report, roughly 26% of RIAs devote less than five minutes each day to the marketing communications they receive. Meanwhile, the report finds that nearly 3 in 10 wirehouse advisors spend more than 30 minutes each day on outreach directed to them.

“This likely reflects the greater volume of outreach wirehouse advisors receive and different forms of contact, including in-person meetings,” the report states.

According to the report, advisors pay far more attention and are more likely to take action from face-to-face contacts.

However, the report finds that the vast majority of marketing or sales outreach comes in the form of emails, with in-person office visits representing a relatively low portion of contacts.

More than half of advisors report that more than half of all contacts they receive are emails.

“The low cost, immediacy, and ease of use make emails the primary communication method used by broker-dealers, asset managers and insurance companies reaching out to advisors,” the report states. Office visits comprise a relatively low portion of marketing/sales communications, with 77% of advisors saying in-person visits make up less than 10% of the marketing outreach they receive. While outreach through social media has grown considerably compared to prior research, the report finds that social media and text messages are the formats least likely to garner the attention of advisors.

The report finds that advisors focus on communications that are from a specific provider or firms they already do business with, rather than randomly paying attention to contacts directed to them.

Firms identified as providing the most useful marketing or sales communications are typically larger organizations, such as American Funds, Blackrock/iShares, JPMorgan, Vanguard, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton and Jackson National, according to the report.

According to the report, 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.

In the coming year, the report says, advisors are most likely to take advantage of traditional contact formats such as hard-copy or printed materials, followed by webinars and teleconferences.

— Check out Highest Earning Advisors Are ‘Tech Obsessed’: Jefferson National on ThinkAdvisor.


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