The most effective marketing tool for advisers

By Morningstar |  16-06-20 | 

Morningstar’s Advisers’ Insights Survey results show that nearly 50% of advisers believe that the most effective marketing vehicle for advisers is referrals, with 38% indicating that their word-of-mouth referrals came from existing clients and the other 12% pointing to other financial professionals as the source of their referrals. This suggests that even in this technologically-saturated day and age, word of mouth is still a good way of telling your story.

The six most effective channels of acquiring clients

The four least preferred ways of acquiring clients

Notice that less personalized marketing vehicles such as podcasts, media interviews, and webinars are thought to bear less significance when it comes to acquiring new clients.

These findings support a larger trend in the survey, which suggests that when it comes to telling your story to new or existing clients, the highly-personalised, “human touch” is key. When building relationships with existing clients, nearly 80% of advisers believe that in-person meetings, phonecalls, and email are the most effective channels.

However, to scale a business in today’s hyper-connected, technology-rich culture, even a word-of- mouth referral needs to be supported by a robust online presence. According to the 2018 Morningstar Tech Survey, 90% of advisers said their clients want a digital experience to support the relationship. This includes an attractive website, but also compelling social media accounts.

LinkedIn, for example, is an ideal platform to share the skills and the years of experience of an adviser. Given our study’s findings that that experience is the only characteristic predicting client loyalty, it would be a misstep to ignore LinkedIn as a marketing vehicle.

How do advisers view marketing?

When asked to rank their business goals for the next five years, most advisers ranked “growing the business via more clients” as most important. The full list of adviser priorities is shown on the chart below.

However, most advisers also ranked “acquiring new clients” as their number-one challenge to growing their business—suggesting that finding new clients is both a priority and a pain point.

The proliferation of robo-advice, independent advisers with broad-reaching investment products, and easily accessible financial information means that being a financial adviser is more competitive than ever. Plus, the emerging group of investors tend to have different values and preferences than previous generations. These factors mean that in order to keep their businesses afloat, financial advisers must continue to demonstrate the evergreen value of their advice.

However, the research also demonstrates that the percentage of advisers who indicated “competition from other adviser firms” as a challenge was only about half of those who indicated acquiring new clients, suggesting that perhaps the challenge isn’t just staying competitive within the adviser space, but encouraging new business from those that might not have considered any type of adviser in the past.

The survey was conducted among 290 financial professionals in U.S.

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