Hightower launched Engage, a marketing platform that the RIA firm says is designed to help its advisors “maximize their reach, enhance client engagement and jumpstart growth.”
The platform, built in partnership with marketing technology firm Snappy Kraken, gives Hightower advisors the ability to “leverage custom content for client communication, digital marketing and lead generation, allowing busy advisors to focus on what they do best — serving their clients,” said the firm, which includes about 100 wealth firms, $77 billion in assets under administration and $57 billion in assets under management (as of Dec. 31, 2019).
The platform was developed in response to a “few factors,” according to Abby Salameh, chief marketing officer at Hightower. First, “advisors need an easy to use platform to execute campaigns and an automated way to do it,” she told ThinkAdvisor.
Engage “allows the advisors to ‘set it and forget it’ if they wish,” she added. This means Hightower advisors can use and configure Engage as they like or rely on the firms’s marketing team to centrally execute cross-channel campaigns for them, the company noted in its announcement.
Hightower also “wanted to remove the burden from the advisory business of being tasked with executing their lead generation campaigns,” Salameh explained.
Some advisors lack “a consistent approach to communicating and campaigning to their clients in a meaningful way, with content that is most relevant to their specific needs,” she points out. Engage “empowers them to deliver content that is appropriately written for the audience.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, advisors are now under more pressure than ever to engage in meaningful communication with their clients, she points out.
Over the past six weeks, the Hightower in-house marketing team has been “creating ongoing communications for our advisors to use with their clients and prospects,” Salameh told ThinkAdvisor. Its recent content has included Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and what it means for advisors, as well as the Paycheck Protection Program.
“Never before has the need to ‘engage’ been greater,” she said. “Keeping in front of clients with reassuring messages and encouragement has proven to be so helpful for our advisors. Not to mention some of the prospecting campaigns we have developed, which advisors have used to get in front of some of their prospects that may have been sitting on the sidelines.”
Hightower started development on Engage six months ago and it “has been a labor of love to integrate the technology into our Clear platform and ensure proper security is in place since it will fully integrate” with Salesforce’s cloud platform, which Clear was built on, and Hightower’s compliance systems, Salameh explained.
This was, meanwhile, the first time that Hightower collaborated with Snappy Kraken, she said.
Prior to this week’s launch, Engage had been in pilot testing for about a month, Salameh noted, adding Hightower had a group of about 15 firms that were “banging around and testing the platform to iron out the kinks.”
There are now about 25 of the firm’s 107 advisory businesses onboarded and it is “working towards full adoption by the end of May,” she said, adding “there are some activities the advisory businesses must do before they can use Engage.”
She explained that, as an example, “they need to segment their prospects and clients in Salesforce into the campaign buckets so the platform can pull the smart lists to use for each type of campaign,” and that “takes a bit of time to do.”
Hightower’s Advisor Success consultants are “working quickly with each firm to get them set up and launched,” she added.
Hightower advisors who use Engage will be able to access a curated suite of original, customizable marketing campaigns, produced in collaboration with Snappy Kraken’s creative team, that include blog posts, email newsletters, video content, social posts, guidebooks and infographics segmented by audience personas, with accompanying analytics to measure engagement, Hightower said.
That content will allow Hightower advisors to “differentiate themselves from their competitors without having to devote the time and expense needed to build marketing thought leadership campaigns from scratch,” the firm said, noting this solution is available to all Hightower advisors at no cost.
Engage will give Hightower advisors the ability to “simultaneously attract new leads, motivate existing prospects, nurture clients, boost referrals and automate operational workflows,” providing scalable monthly campaigns designed to motivate six core groups of users.
These groups consist of retired clients, accumulation clients, next-gen clients, business owner clients, ultra-high net worth clients, and prospective clients, the firm said.
Engage also makes it simple for Hightower’s collaborative community of advisors to share best-practice materials, including client letters and articles, with one another via a content library that is accessible to each Hightower advisor, it said.