ELITE ADVISOR BEST PRACTICES
Getting Real Value from Value-Added Marketing
Which type of marketing program is the right fit for you?
By Jonathan Powell
- There are five main types of value-added marketing programs that advisors can leverage.
- Broad educational programs typically target general audiences, while more comprehensive programs focus on select, highly successful advisors.
- Some programs are designed to present new ideas for discussion, while others present actionable steps that advisors can take within their practices.
Value-added marketing programs have the potential to be hugely helpful to financial advisors seeking greater success—if they’re developed the right way using relevant, compelling and actionable content.
Of course, that content also has to be delivered in an effective, compelling manner. There are five main methods of doing this. For example:
1. Educational programs. These are tightly focused 60- to 90-minute presentations (typically keynote addresses) that are extremely effective for introducing new ideas, strategies or tactics to broad advisor audiences.
2. Single-day and multiday workshops. These workshops last between one and three days and reorient financial advisors’ thinking around a specific solution. Multiday workshops are the most effective because the overnight breaks provide participants with the chance to more fully absorb the material.
3. Train-the-trainer models. This is intensive, turnkey training of professional in-house trainers that allows the institution to offer the most successful programs over and over again. These models address the challenges faced by sales professionals (usually wholesalers) who do not have the proper positioning to be perceived by advisors as experts in the areas they address. By partnering (either by co-branding or private labeling) with a training company that is well-known to advisors, the sales professionals gain the needed credibility with advisors. This credibility is further enhanced when independent, empirical research is introduced.
The train-the-trainer model also avoids the problems that can arise when institutions bring in industry “gurus,” whose material may or may not complement the long-term vision of the firm, to speak to advisors. By having its own people—those who understand the unique nature of the firm—learn the material, the institution can shape the content to match the firm’s culture.
4. Premier advisors’ series. Built on the expert study group model, these conferences offer select financial advisors instruction in best practices from around the industry and combine them with intensive networking opportunities. Because these series typically begin with a multiday workshop that reorients advisors’ thinking, continue with ongoing quarterly meetings and use internal people to deliver the material, they combine the best attributes of each of the other delivery methods.
By targeting the exemplary performers in an organization, these programs transform people into marketing apostles for these best practices, spreading the word about the best ways to achieve long-term success.
5. Comprehensive coaching programs. These are fully customized programs that integrate deep theoretical background, real-world skills practice, and ongoing personal support and coaching for top-level advisors. These programs improve on the more traditional coaching approach, in which coaches tend to be very skilled at helping advisors gain clarity about their goals, but are much less able to help them identify the specific actions they must take to attain their goals.
A successful comprehensive coaching program will fill this gap by providing a complete road map of actions for advisors to take. It will combine the more traditional coaching support and guidance with a focused set of proven strategies and tactics that advisors can implement “on the ground” to achieve the success they want.
As you can see in the chart below, each delivery method is oriented toward a specific audience and is intended to achieve specific goals.
Delivery Methods for Value-Added Marketing Programs
All of the methods described above have several key factors in common:
- They incorporate a deep knowledge of what advisors want.
- They target the particular needs of a specific audience.
- They convey information and skills in ways that allow advisors to embrace each one’s credibility and motivate them to put the material into action immediately.
As a financial advisor looking to achieve results through these programs, it pays to consider each type of program carefully to determine which one is the most appropriate based on your goals and needs and your firm’s culture. If you are part of a financial institution that supports financial advisors, it’s crucial that you offer the type (or types) of programs that will really resonate with your financial advisor clients, capture their attention and provide them with truly useful ideas for taking their businesses to the next level of success.