Wondering what advisors are really doing for marketing this year? Want to know whether their service providers are in sync with their needs? If so, this post is for you.

FiComm recently got a look at survey data on both groups from a study conducted by Penton’s WealthManagement.com. I had the privilege of moderating a panel with powerhouse industry marketers at the WealthManagement.com Executive Forum and Industry Gala that discussed the surveys at length. I can’t share everything that’s in the report, but I can pass along some topline results you’ll probably find interesting—whether you’re an advisor or a marketing partner.

Let me make a confession. The very first thought that occurred to me when I saw the data was, “We have a lot of work to do.”

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“So, let me ask you this, ‘What persona are you speaking to with your marketing efforts?’”

There’s a dead silence on the other end of the line, before, “Well, my clients have an average of $500,000 in investable assets and are rapidly approaching retirement.”

When marketers talk about personas, it’s a much more complex idea than you may think. It’s not just a “who is your client” question, but a “why are they your client,” a “what language do they prefer to use,” and a “how to serve ads to them on social media” question.

If you haven’t drawn up profiles for your target personas, your messaging could be missing the mark.

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Inbound Marketing and Why Advisors Must Pay Attention

Last week, the FiComm marketing team traveled to Boston to attend Inbound 2017. This remarkable event brings over 20,000 marketers together from around the globe to inform, inspire, and lead marketing transformation across geographies and sectors. What is most intriguing about Inbound is that for an event targeted at sophisticated digital/social/mobile marketing strategies, the mission is to “celebrate the human, helpful side of business”.

I was not able to join our marketing team at Inbound because I had the privilege of speaking at other notable industry events including Insider’s Forum, DISRUPTadvice, and ECHELON Partners Deals and Deal Makers Summit. But there is an important connection here. At each of those events, I felt like I was shouting at the top of my lungs about the need for our industry to evolve our marketing practices in new and exciting ways, with the same passion as the speakers at Inbound. The difference? I bet the speakers at Inbound didn’t hear these responses; “My clients are not on social media,” or “My clients do not want to get emails from me,” or “Snackable content diminishes my expertise,” or “My prospects are the ultra-affluent and cannot be communicated with that way.” To which I respond, you’re missing the point.

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“What marketer isn’t technical? Who hasn’t entered a tracking code onto a website, or created last-minute tag attributions?” begins today’s session on Google Analytics (GA). What marketer isn’t technical, indeed. I know I’m guilty of it: using words and concepts that leave clients in the dark.

With that in mind, let’s be honest: GA is a fascinating and terrifying place. It’s like a CRM (like Marketo or Pardot), only on steroids. You can get really granular in your marketing analysis when you’re running your reporting out of GA, but unless you know what you’re looking for, it can be overwhelming.

So, for today’s lessons from Inbound17, here are a few high-level things web tracking can help you find.

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The FiComm team is back with your daily update from Inbound17, where marketers are discussing the future of marketing. A common theme, though, is the need to talk about the past – as in, what no longer works. SEO is still a thing, but not keyword SEO. Direct mail is making a comeback as individual tracking codes increase in popularity. But nothing is quite so contentious as email.

We in the marketing industry are always so eager to tackle the newest, most innovative way to engage with our audience, there’s a pretty wide margin of error in this space. More so than any other marketing pillar, email is built on trust. Your subscribers and lists have given you permission to communicate directly with them, and it’s an avenue that – when implemented correctly – can leverage a brand’s referrals.

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We continue with our rundown of everything marketing happening at the Inbound 2017 conference. Yesterday, I discussed how to prepare your business for marketing trends. Today, we’re taking it back to some fundamental concepts and how new data is challenging what we once “knew.”

What does “inbound” even mean?

That’s a good question. Let me backtrack a little. When the inbound methodology first hit the scene in the early 2000s, it was all about content. BlogBlogBlog, social media, “Content is king,” blog. The theory was that, in an increasingly digital world (and especially among millennials), disruptive methods like banner ads were becoming passé, and there needed to be another type of marketing that allowed potential customers to find you on their own terms.

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Live from Inbound17

If you own a business, you know that you should invest in marketing. That’s how growth happens. But unless you’re a marketer, chances are that the intricacies of different marketing methodologies are not very interesting to you. If I had a penny for every time I’ve seen someone’s eyes glaze over when I explain the inherent benefits of CPI versus CPC and the suggested value attributions for each… you get the idea.

That’s part of my challenge as a digital marketer: taking the numbers and turning it into something that non-marketers care about. So, when I say “Inbound17,” that may mean nothing to you. Allow me to explain: it’s a conference where digital marketing specialists get to discuss the changes they’re seeing and the challenges that they are facing to figure out how we’re going to adjust our methodologies for a better solution.

And it’s happening right now. The question now is: how do your current marketing efforts stack up? Is your strategy as efficient as it can be, or is it becoming outdated in the rapidly changing world of marketing? That’s what FiComm is here to find out.

This year, our team was invited to attend a preview day for Inbound17 where we got a first-hand look at what we can expect for the rest of the week. These are the trends we’ve noted during our preview and are excited to explore during the week.

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This post wraps up my series on content marketing. The last content type I want to talk about are checklists and FAQs.

She can’t be serious, you’re probably thinking. Checklists?

Of course I’m serious. Too many firms spend their whole design budget on big projects—a website, collateral, white papers, quarterly commentaries. But they don’t take the time to design the smaller pieces that clients see every day. Checklists. Meeting agendas. FAQs. Yet those are equally relevant to the relationship.

Take checklists. Almost every firm I’ve ever worked with uses a new client checklist—asking clients for wills, tax forms, statements, account balances, and so on. It’s one of the first things a new client sees, and it’s usually just an Excel or Word document that’s ugly, hard to read, and dull. Like it or not, this piece is an extension of your brand, so you need to get it right.

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It’s time for more real-world examples of content marketing. In this post, I’m going to talk about infographics.

And to be honest, talking about infographics is all most people do. The industry loves the idea of infographics—images that combine the technical data and text that advisors adore with a graphic visual that’s actually fun for readers to follow. Problem is, too few advisors are actually using them. It’s time to fix that.

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The FiComm team enjoyed some southern comfort in Nashville last week at Insider’s Forum 2017, which kicked off with Founder, Honkytonk Bob “Tex” Veres, serenading the crowd at the Omni with his soulful take on the “Fiduciary Blues.”

Light-hearted humor aside, the week was both thought-provoking and empathetic about the uneasy state of the industry (compressed margins, rising competition, succession planning, and the looming DOL rule). Bob wasted no time tackling many of these topics in his keynote, and his predictions for the future painted a vastly different picture of what financial advice could look like in just a few short years.

FiComm is a long-time supporter and partner for Insider’s Forum, and with good reason. Bob and his team have created a lasting, impactful event that often sets the tone for how advisors and service providers think about industry trends, and the action-packed agenda of breakouts and moderated panels always makes for an energizing, immersive and collaborative gathering.

Here are our five takeaways we wanted to share with you from the event:

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