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The new faces at your advisory firm

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Your staffing is evolving. Whether you are expanding into content marketing, considering new tech roles or want to deepen diversity at your firm, we have a set of checklists and worksheets you can download to help get you started.

The time is now to embrace diversity.

Not only when building your team but also through your client relationships, marketing and prospecting.

An unprecedented amount of money will shift into the hands of women over the next several years. This change represents about a $30 trillion opportunity. To prepare, advisory firms need to understand women’s preferences and behaviors regarding finances. 

For many women, including me, wealth is about more than just money. It’s about life, the things we value, and the people we surround ourselves with on this journey.

While most women don’t explicitly look for female advisors, we do place a high value on establishing a personal connection with any advisor. Women want to work with someone they can trust, someone who will look out for their best interest. 

Attending Investment News’ recent Women Adviser Summit, I noted a major theme was the importance of women – both within the industry and as investors. The agenda also highlighted the necessity for inclusivity toward the LGBQT+ and special needs communities. 

I came away with several questions to talk about with colleagues: What are you doing to promote diversity at your firm? Have you created an environment where employees and investors feel respected, valued, safe and fully engaged regardless of gender or race? Are you open to all perspectives, identities and backgrounds?

Advisory firms should aim to create deep value propositions that resonate with women to take advantage of these opportunities. I would start by taking a close look at your team. If I look at your firm’s website’s team page, will I only see a group of men? Women want to see women represented, especially at the advisor and senior management level. 

What can you do to impact those barriers to success? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Ensure a good work/life balance
  2. Have a diverse leadership team
  3. Provide empowering mentorship from top advisors
  4. Aid in getting access to better prospecting networks

In addition to the uptick in women investors, the demographics of all investors continue to diversify across the board. This diverse client base brings all kinds of unique needs. Whether it’s becoming an ally for the LGBTQ+ community or addressing other environmental, social and governance (ESG) requests, to keep pace with the market, your team should include someone who can meet these needs.

More and more people are looking for sustainable and responsible investing these days. Do you have ESG options incorporated into your wealth management planning? Are you an advocate for your client?

Inclusion not only ensures that more are represented, but it will also impact your business and impact on your community. In my opinion, it's worth the time, commitment, and energy.

The CFP Board assembled a list of recommendations for firms to effectively boost diversity among workers based on research and case studies. It’s an awesome resource. 

New tech challenges

There are emerging technology trends that advisory firms should prepare for.

The first is crypto and its corollary Web3. Crypto being the short form of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, while Web3 being the general idea of decentralizing the Internet on public blockchains. Even if not all of the institutions are going down this path, as an entity it's here to stay. So when we think about client segmentation, Gen Z’s are definitely going to be more crypto-oriented and there is going to be demand from these different types of investors. 

From a talent perspective, firms will need someone who's crypto-aware. Having that individual is important because the subject is not something that people can understand easily, in my opinion, leading to heightened and inflated expectations. So understanding the different angles of blockchains and crypto and how they are being used is essential for the future.

Another popular trend is smarter user experiences and personalization. The implementation of user experience is on a pendulum – at a certain point, the industry determined end users’ devices (like mobile devices) should be very lightweight, but now the end-user device definitely has to have a little heft to it. This heftiness enables a much richer user experience.  

A subcategory of user experience is understanding how best to deliver analytics. That's been part of the industry for a very long time, but now there is a different expectation on the simplicity and the ease in which people can digest analytics. Similarly, personalization is nothing new, you can have a personalized experience based on your data. But now you need to offer that personalized experience as soon as your client logs in, specific to their needs. 

Depending on the size of your firm and the direction of your tech, you may need a chief digital officer who focuses on personal experience and overall user experience. Almost like a chief behavioral design officer, who understands the behavior of your clients, what they want to see and how you understand them in a much deeper sense.

I assume everybody has already thought about cyber security, but now there is literally cyber warfare happening like the globe has never seen before.  Your clients could be subject to it and your company could be subject to it. 

Again if you are a large enough firm, you may need a chief information security officer who really understands the cyber security aspects of your technology. If you are using multiple vendors, for instance, you must understand the dependencies and the critical pathways that you have with them. And while IT folks are good at what they do, if they’re not specialized in cyber, they won’t know all of the ramifications of a security attack.

I’ve taken a lot of interest in how people have been resigning for the last two years because they're looking for something different in life. There are a lot of advisory aspects to that transition – you're changing jobs, you're possibly looking at your health and maybe have concerns about how it will impact your future. 

There have been some recent scientific developments associated with these concerns. Scientists just fully completed the human genome; 23andMe is constantly examining statistics around genetics and the likelihood of disease or health issues. So you may need another kind of specialist, someone who can discuss these future health issues and guide life planning accordingly. Of course, a lot of people don't want to hear they have a high probability of diabetes. But if you're still 40 years old, you can do a whole lot, and technology definitely can help there.

Lastly, to be competitive in attracting tech talent, having diversity in location is important. Are you willing to do a virtual setting? That gets people excited, but there's got to be a mixture going forward. Also, start young. People who join your company, who participate in product development and the evolution of your company, feel a sense of loyalty and partnership. That loyalty and partnership definitely pay dividends and can maintain employee happiness and camaraderie.

Marketing forward

Marketing continues to evolve, and I find the amount of data now at your disposal is amazing – actually overwhelming when you think about it. 

Before, if you wanted to reach potential clients, you’d place an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal. The approach was so broad. Now, you can target the type of client you’re trying to reach with incredible accuracy: What city they are in, what publication they read, and what days they actually read the publication. Engagement gives you even more insight – including how often they read, how long and what they’re reading. 

It should be no surprise that marketing leaders spent almost 27% of their budget on marketing technology in 2021, according to Gartner. When you devote more resources to the different platforms available now to reach prospects, you also need the right tools in place to make sure your efforts are effective, like a CRM. Here’s another statistic to consider: According to Hubspot, roughly 62% of marketers use built-in marketing or CRM software for marketing reporting.

There are three areas of focus in the digital marketing space that you should consider paying attention to. Some of these have been around for a while, some are new, but they are definitely on the up for the near future.

No matter how remote we become or what platform we’re on, at the end of the day the goal of marketing is to build a human connection through experiences. 

That’s why video, podcasts, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (accessibility), and a personalized content experience are all content marketing trends in 2022. Content marketing is about the experience a business provides to its lead in order to create a series of follow-up campaign touches that lead to re-engagement, retention and referrals. Connection – the true human connection – is key to building true relationships and advocates.

Have you tried out an Oculus headset yet? It’s not all games. An estimated 85 million people used augmented reality or virtual reality in 2021! Usage has been growing steadily, but firms can still benefit from a first mover advantage here. Marketers will be able to experiment with things like where users are looking when experiencing an ad – understanding how to market it is critical to engaging younger consumers. 

Many in the advisor industry have settled compliance concerns about using social media. So it’s time to explore the video platforms out there and learn how to leverage their unique format. Social media videos, like what you see on TikTok and Instagram, don’t have to be about your favorite noodle dish or how you have perfected a dance routine. Firms can easily insert themselves into the stream of information being looked at religiously by their clients and target groups, creating top-of-mind engagement and a relationship. I’ve seen some financial advice TikTok videos already and they’re pretty creative.

The number one role that firms will need to do any of the items above is a Content Marketing Manager. To convert prospects and maintain clients, you need to be sharing content. A lot of content. We're talking blogs, videos, podcasts, tweets, reports, case studies, TikToks, and more – all weaved into an epic journey. 

Guiding this narrative are content marketing managers. They are critical for brands today that need a voice that cuts through the noise, builds trust, and ensures content isn't just a pleasant accessory – it drives conversions. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple, clear and understandable for the general public is great.

Employees building this content can give you new insights – for instance, a deeper understanding of where prospects and clients are engaging, with what type of info, and how frequently. The data is endless and can help you understand our target audiences more.

More and more, clients and potential clients are self-educating and need to see your value break through the clutter of what they experience each day. 

If you want to secure more clients, increase your sales, and help with brand awareness, marketing is going to drive all of that – and be worth that initial investment.


This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Opinions and forecasts discussed are those of the author, do not necessarily reflect the views of AdvisorEngine and are subject to change without notice. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.