Going Beyond Traditional Advisor Segments to Increase Marketing ROI

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Asset managers are collecting more data on financial advisors than ever but often struggle to transform their CRM systems into relevant and meaningful opportunities for advisor outreach and engagement. Undoubtedly, the competition for the attention and assets controlled by financial advisors (FAs) is intensifying, prompting many asset managers to seek better ways to target and communicate with advisors.

Data analytics and distribution teams spend about half of their time on data acquisition and data management, with just 14% of their time on more advanced analytics that fuel advisor segmentation and sales-lead generation, according to Applying Data to Distribution, a report by Ignites Research.* Perhaps more astonishingly, the report reveals that only one-third (39%) of asset managers incorporate advisors’ content preferences into advisors’ CRM systems, and one-fifth (11%) categorize financial advisors by types or “personas” that help determine their sales and marketing approach.

The current methods for segmenting the FA population for sales and marketing tend to be broad in nature and fail to take into account important differences in the attitudes, mind-set and preferences of FAs. Often, the desire to send more-targeted, customized communication is there, but firms fall short in their efforts to implement effective strategies given the additional time and money required to create their own proprietary models. Continue reading

Thought Leadership Is Key to Getting On New Advisors’ Radar

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In sharp contrast to other types of marketing, many advisors would read thought leadership from an unfamiliar mutual fund, ETF or VA provider. In fact, advisors prefer thought leadership and market commentary to comprise a larger percentage of the marketing content they receive in lieu of more product-specific updates.

In March, Cogent Reports conducted 18 focus groups across the US to help providers better understand how to stand out and maximize the impact of their marketing efforts. The groups were held in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and included a representative mix of 85 advisors by channel, Cogent Advisor Segments™ (outlined below), AUM, age and industry experience. Continue reading

Trends to Watch for in 2016

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We kicked off December with a special webinar featuring all of our Cogent Wealth Reports authors. Using their combined 60 years of financial services experience and fueled by our research from this year, they made predictions for the industry in 2016. Here’s what they anticipate will happen in the coming year.

JJKJulia Johnston-Ketterer, Senior Director
2016 Prediction for Robo-Advisors

“In 2016 I anticipate that affluent investors are going to embrace robo-advice even more so than they do today. I think we’ll see this trend particularly among Gen Xers, who are going to be out in front in terms of investing more of their dollars into and adopting robo-advisory services. We’re also going to see an accelerated response from current robo-advisors, as well as firms on the sidelines getting ready to play, in terms of expanding product lines and modifying how these products and services are distributed. Next year we’ll continue to monitor investors’ use of these automated investment services via our Cogent Beat Investor portal. We’ll also be taking a qualitative look at the impact of these services on both investors and advisors.” Continue reading

How to Improve Marketing Reach Among Advisors

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Emails, websites, social media, mobile apps, print, advertising, press—the list of tools marketers use to reach customers continues to evolve. In recent years, frequency was king, but that has changed. As people today continually wade through more and more email, it is harder for companies to stand out. To be successful, it’s increasing important for firms to understand who they are reaching out to and how their targets want to receive and use that information.

In this case, we are talking about financial advisors. Our newest report, Advisor Engagement™, finds that the volume of touches advisors report receiving continues to taper, revealing providers recognize the need to target and personalize their communication to key segments. This year, advisors say they receive an average of 106 touches per month, down significantly from the 126 touches reported in 2013. In particular, advisors report receiving fewer emails, print mailings and webinar invitations compared with two years ago.

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New Advisor Segments Unlock Optimal Communication Strategies

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Cogent Reports’ advisor segmentation model, Cogent Advisor Segments™, debuted in 2014 and continues to offer providers the ability to go beyond the traditional advisor channel and AUM demographics to target advisors based on their unique communication preferences.

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When indexed to the average advisor, the 4 proprietary segments display distinct differences that enable providers to further hone their targeted outreach, and consequently maximize their brand consideration and revenue potential. For example, when selecting a single preferred method, Insight Enthusiasts embrace a variety of communications, the less-tenured Data Vaulters welcome support and education from external wholesalers, Digital Devotees prefer tailored information from wholesaler calls and social media, and the more-tenured Selective Oracles prefer pulling in data from emails and websites when time permits.

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A Case Study: Not All Advisors Are Alike

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Society is saturated with organizations trying to get your attention, and with increasingly diverse communication methods—whether mail, email, social media or face to face—the amount of competition for our consideration can be deafening. Everyone has a way of dealing with excessive information blindly looking for its target. As a company trying to reach financial advisors, effectively identifying and targeting different personalities when launching a marketing campaign can be difficult.

A series of recent studies conducted by Cogent Reports™, inspired by 2013’s Cutting Through the Marketing Clutter™ report, have identified four distinct advisor segments: Insight Enthusiasts,  Data Vaulters,  Digital Devotees and Selective Oracles (previously Detached Doers). The report and subsequent quantitative evaluations have demonstrated that these advisor segments not only have different styles when consuming information but also different priorities when it comes to investing in and selecting financial products. Continue reading