The coronavirus, a global slowdown in production, and recession fears have wiped out the market’s gains since 2017 in a matter of weeks. With no end in sight to the historic volatility of our market and even our society, it’s tempting to look at a greater emphasis on your firm’s marketing efforts as a luxury. In a market crash, you’re thinking about profit margins, operating costs, and the livelihoods of the clients you already have. I would argue that an intensified marketing push isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. The safest way to sustain your business in volatile times is aggressive marketing tied to the services your clients value most.
Any advisers worth their salt have had several conversations with their clients about resisting the urge to panic. Right now, clients appreciate a calm voice and a healthy dose of perspective. This is the exact time when people need their advisers most. If you’re doing all of this while making intelligent moves to protect the assets you manage, why would you say, “This is good, but what if it were better?”
This was our exact situation three years ago, when Orion decided to build out a new marketing department. At the time, we were growing and enjoyed an accelerated pace of new innovations. By all measures, our clients, employees and investors were happy with how we were humming along. Why did we need marketers when we had done so well without them?
Here’s why: When you truly believe in the service and value you offer, you want to share that with as many people as you can. We knew a robust marketing effort could amplify our work even more. Three years later, our marketing team of more than 30 people has proven to be a powerful force multiplier for our business.
Wallet share has never been more important
How much of your clients’ assets do you manage? Probably less than you think: A McKinsey study found the average wallet share of wealth managers can be as low as 38%. The days of easy lift from markets may be drawing to a close, which means advisers need to explore new areas of profitability. A great client experience makes for stickier relationships and a greater wallet share — and well-executed marketing campaigns can put that experience front and center for your clients and prospects.
Highlight what your clients value most
Let’s give the client experience a closer look. There are two broad approaches to serving your clients. You can focus on how to help them, through investment allocation, risk-tolerance questionnaires and other tactics. Or you can lead with why they want your help …in other words, their goals as investors. It’s been my experience that leading with the why captures more client assets. It leads to conversations about what resources the investor has to reach their goals, and ties the adviser’s service directly to the client’s top priorities. Uncovering the why strengthens your value to the people you serve. Marketing campaigns that highlight your ability to meet these goals will help bring you prospects primed to work with you to the greatest possible extent.
What got you here won’t take you to the next level
Success isn’t static. Just ask any video rental chain or manufacturer of personal digital assistants (Remember those?). The market environment, client expectations and technological innovations are always in flux. What’s more, a hungry, rising adviser practice has very different infrastructure needs and expenses than an established business looking to break through to the next level. A robust marketing investment may feel like a step outside of your lane, but it is a mistake to discount the impact that marketing can have on your growth. Speaking of which …
Great marketing opens the door to disruption
As creatures of habit, we put a lot of stock in consistency. We want formulas for success we can predict and replicate. At a bare minimum, we enjoy regular paychecks and hope our advisers have steady hands on the tiller! But consistency without creativity is stifling. When you make marketing a genuine priority, it brings a creative spark to your work, one that can illuminate opportunities you might never have considered and ignite extraordinary outcomes you could never have imagined.
It’s never too late to think about expanding your firm’s marketing efforts. This moment will test our ability to stay in front of clients and prospects with smart content that addresses the realities of their lives. You may need to look for novel solutions as your teams adjust to working from home and other disruptions. But the potential for invigorating your business and reaching a broader audience is well worth the investment.
Eric Clarke is founder and CEO of . Follow him at