Last month, I saw a social media post from a well-established RIA firm soliciting help for a video series it was creating. The poster, the lead advisor at the firm, asked if any of his connections could recommend a college-age student to assume the project as an intern at the firm.
To me, this request was unfortunate, since it showed that the advisor clearly thought a non-professional could handle this task for his firm. So I asked Robert Sofia, CEO and co-founder of the advisor marketing technology firm Snappy Kraken, if this was a common occurrence among advisors.
“Not specifically for video, but I’ve heard of advisors using college interns for a lot of different things, since the perception is that if someone is in that age group” then they automatically are “really good at technology which, of course, is not true.”
So is that why Snappy Kraken announced a new service under which it will provide “an affordable, professional video production service for financial advisors,” making its video production team “available for on-location shoots at financial services conferences and/or advisory firm office locations”?
“That’s exactly why we did it,” responded Sofia, because advisors “need different videos for different reasons to show at different times in different locations.” So Snappy Kraken is making the professional video production services available outside its studio in Ormond Beach, Florida, shooting advisors in their natural habitat—at their offices—or at advisor conferences.
Different types of videos can be produced for different purposes or to achieve different objectives, says Sofia. “Advisors know that videos are so important, so they’ve fallen into the trap of producing video for the sake of video.” Some advisors will say “’I need to do more videos, let me use whatever video this website company gives me. Now I have video.”
Sofia says that there may be a place for a video that explains a specific investing concept, for instance, but “generally speaking that’s not the kind of video you need to build credibility or to put up on your website. That’s not showcasing your firm, your people, your capabilities, your expertise—it won’t build your business.”
An advisor might, for instance, record a straightforward, solemn video in the wake of a market correction to reassure clients and prospects, Sofia says, but the same advisor might want to shoot lighter videos that display “more of your personality or that you have hobbies or that you have a family that could go on your website’s bio page.”
So does Snappy Kraken allow for customization of videos? “We don’t just allow for customization, we plan for it,” says Sofia. The firm asks its advisor clients what they want to accomplish, “Who do you want to draw in? Who’s your audience?” Then, he says, “we shoot videos to achieve those goals.”
What “separates the men from the boys” in video production, says Sofia, “are things most people don’t think about. Lighting is huge; I’ve got $20,000 of lighting in our studio. Makeup. Staging. Audio—what’s the quality of your mikes?”
So what does this “affordable” and professional video production cost?
The “in-studio” production has the highest price tag. Shot in a newsroom-style environment with scripting and Teleprompters and a coach to work with the advisor which costs “about $10,000,” though Sofia points out that “there’s a whole marketing program” that’s included with the video, including email marketing, social media and online ads, all part of a broader lead-generation package provided by Snappy Kraken.
Posting a video on an advisor’s site is not how leads are generated, Sofia adds, but rather it’s the “automated marketing around the video” where advisors “get the ROI.”
For videos that are produced in an advisor’s “back yard,” there is a sliding scale: $4,500 all in (including travel) for the first video, normally a home page video to draw in clients and prospects”; $3,500 for the second video, normally a firm profile video that goes on the firm’s About Us page; and $2,500 for the third video, usually on the individual advisor’s bio page.
Conference coverage packages start at $16,000, Sofia said, which includes daily recaps of conference happenings (as seen in this T3 conference video) and interviewing attendees. That fee can be reduced or even become free if the conference sponsor does a barter deal with Snappy Kraken.
“Advisors get taken advantage of,” says Sofia, since they’ve been told incessantly that they “have to do social media, have a website, video.” But “when you talk to advisors, they say ‘I signed up for this but I never got anything out of it.’” That, he says, “is a problem; we’re trying to fix that” by asking advisors to invest in marketing that has specific goals. “We never do marketing just for the sake of marketing.”