Client Services and Operations Director
Posted on November 28, 2016
The Retail Distribution Review sparked a massive change in the Intermediary market.
Few would deny that the changing fee system, standards, and qualification requirements shook the financial advice industry hard. Alongside that, digital advancements introduced new challenges, with new competition appearing in the form of online information services and self-assessment tools. A large number of Independent Financial Advisors left the industry; bigger networks bought up smaller firms, and wealth management teams changed.
Since then, things have settled. But although day to day standards and practices have found a new rhythm, we’ve noticed that Intermediary marketing strategies have taken longer to catch up.
Many banks and financial organisations still market to their Intermediary prospects in the same way they’ve always done. And, unsurprisingly, it’s not working well.
Why marketers need to change their strategy in 2017
A new Intermediary market requires a new approach. Relationships formed with IFAs before the RDR may not even exist anymore, and data held on Intermediary prospects may be long out of date.
The financial industry needs to form new relationships with the fresh wave of younger, highly-qualified IFAs that have risen to fill gaps left by the shake-up. What’s more, relationships with other contacts such as Paraplanners, who now hold much more authority and decision-making power within the industry, need to be invested in and thought about.
Marketers need to recognise that the power and needs of Intermediary professionals have changed: everyone needs different things delivered in a different way. That means that the solutions you present and the way you communicate them must change too.
It’s time to strengthen the role of digital within your Intermediary marketing strategies. IFAs and wealth managers now expect confident, digital interaction and to be given the opportunity to use digital platforms to form and grow relationships with you.
Here are three ways you can do just that in 2017.
Tip 1: Develop your content hub
This is more than just developing an online blog for your brand. Now’s the time to identify newer, more relevant pain points for Wealth Managers, Paraplanners, and IFAs and develop a dedicated part of your website that addresses them.
Think outside of the box and try developing interesting, useful tools for them to visit and use, alongside your blogs and whitepapers. It will all help add value and build trust.
- CPD training opportunities
- Video training guides
- Business content, helping them to grow their business by offering marketing or sales insight
- Guides to use with their clients to help them sell your products and advise clients on the best use of their portfolio
Make sure to use data-capture opportunities via email sign-up forms or content download wherever possible, and tie-in your Google analytics reporting so you can see what content visitors read the most. This analysis will help you see what’s working and refine your approach, and help you to develop your content plan longer term.
Tip 2: Grow your social media
A recent study by FT Adviser found that the number of IFAs on social media has quadrupled since 2012 and that 48% now use it to stay on top of industry news. A strong social media presence for your brand and products has never been more important.
Twitter and LinkedIn are the best places to start. Share content from your website on these platforms based around three core areas:
- Product or service marketing
- News and insight
- Content to support the IFA’s business goals
Create a monthly content schedule for your social media in advance so you’re not floundering for ideas each day. And if you haven’t already, try social scheduling software like HootSuite or HubSpot to stay on top things.
Consistent, well-organised, rewarding content will always offer a good return on investment for your effort. What’s more, because of the networking effect of social media, just one IFA sharing your content could massively expand your reach.
Tip 3: Think about webinars
With great solutions such as Brighttalk now available, it’s never been easier for you to develop easy to digest online content.
Webinars are a great way to engage with IFAs in real time at a relatively low cost. It’s a lot easier to sit and watch a training video or presentation on a topic than it is to read a long whitepaper, and the interactivity of webinars creates an opportunity to build much stronger relationships.
Intermediary contacts will be able to ask questions and provide feedback, live. You’ll have a great chance to find out what they’re really thinking and to better communicate your brand personality through the charisma and expertise of your team.
What’s more, webinars also offer valuable data-capture opportunities. Details given to you during the registration process are the perfect foundation to help tailor your follow-up sales and marketing communications and to start building long-lasting relationships.