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Defining Adviser Awareness: Key Elements for Creating Effective Distribution Campaigns

By Alma Piscitello, Executive Vice President, Relationship Management at Ultimus, and Clay Thompson, President at On-Demand Wholesaling 

In the newest installment of our #TALKtoUltimus podcast series, Alma Piscitello, EVP, Relationship Management at Ultimus, interviewed Clay Thompson, President at On-Demand Wholesaling. You can listen to the full podcast *HERE.

The podcast focuses on three key elements for creating effective distribution campaigns including expanding client segmentation beyond AUM, how to distill and test core messaging, and how to drive execution.

With the current market fluctuation and uncertainty about what our world will look like post coronavirus, it may be time for the industry to consider a fundamental re-think about processes. No one knows exactly when or how certain markets will rebound, so it’s important to refocus on market fundamentals. Not every company will recover the same way or at the same pace, making those fundamentals an important lens for viewing that recovery. 

Asset managers can also benefit by refocusing on the fundamentals regarding their distribution campaigns. Smart managers allow the data fundamentals to tell them how to segment advisers, how to market to that segment, and how to best tell a compelling story. 

Client Segmentation Using Context

According to Thompson, when his company reviews distribution strategies with clients, they find that asset managers often focus solely on assets under management (AUM) as the means to segment advisers. His view is that by defining advisers by AUM only, asset managers may be missing key information that can add depth and definition to segmentation.      

“Successful segmentation requires asset managers to think about advisers within the proper context. Advisers are more than the sum of their AUM in the same way that asset managers are more than their one-dimensional return metrics,” said Thompson. “Data points that include years in the business, insurance licensing, asset mixes, firm size, and average account size can all factor into the context through which advisers should be viewed. The data is only meaningful if provided in the proper context for interpretation.” 

Thompson continues, “We’ve all been in meetings where data people talk in terms of SQL (sales qualified lead) data and customer relationship management (CRM), while sales is focused on separately managed accounts (SMA) or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The data has no context and the sales context has no data.  This is what I refer to as the ‘great wall of data’ – two teams on opposite sides of the same table not relating to each other. For true client segmentation and context, data people must be trained on what the company sells and how they sell it. And the sales team must look for data that will expand adviser context.” 

Distilling Core Messages – Tell Your Story

To have meaningful and impactful conversations with advisers, asset managers must develop and deliver a relevant story with a goal of creating awareness. According to Thompson, there are four key fundamentals that asset managers must address in their story in order to effectively create awareness with advisers: 

  1. What is it that your asset management firm does?
  2. Why are you, as an asset manager, uniquely qualified to do it?
  3. Who are the best client prospects (investors) for what you do?
  4. How can an adviser best present what you do to their clients?

Creating an effective distribution campaign means more than just getting advisers to notice you with a like or a retweet. To build true awareness, asset managers must build on the four distribution building blocks by telling a memorable and relevant story. 

“In the same way that asset managers must view their advisers through the proper context,” said Thompson. “It’s vital that advisers have the proper context with which to view the asset manager. It’s our experience that performance data alone often fails to generate interest – because the adviser can’t relate that performance to you or see the context behind the products you offer.”

Driving Execution – Is There a Silver Bullet?  

According to Thompson, there is no silver bullet to successfully drive execution. Once asset managers have followed the key steps to crafting a story, it takes time and resources to pull it all together. “My best advice is to ‘be consistent and persistent’ and don’t stop after one try if you don’t get the outcome you are seeking.”

“Furthermore, put some serious thought into how to best deliver distribution messages, with an eye on the contextual background of targeted advisers, and then put it out there as frequently as possible.”

Below are a few things asset managers should keep in mind when creating a story:

  • Make sure the content is brief and to the point.
  • Be respectful of the adviser’s time.
  • Find a cadence that works for you and the adviser. Constant bombardment isn’t recommended. The goal is to be consistent and persistent, but not annoying.
  • Let the data tell you what’s working regarding response rates and other metrics. Don’t presume to know ahead of time what will work best.
  • Look at what forms/mediums are working, but don’t limit yourself to only one.
  • Again, don’t give up after a few times if you are not getting the expected responses.

To hear more from Clay Thompson about how to leverage your existing distribution efforts to generate more adviser demand, listen to the full podcast *HERE.

Ultimus’ Distribution Advantage program works closely with firms like On-Demand Wholesaling and clients to facilitate the development and implementation of effective distribution strategies, enabling firms to understand and navigate the complex distribution landscape.

On-Demand Wholesaling, based in Columbus, Ohio, leverages 35 years of wholesaling experience by President Clay Thompson to provide video content that can help financial services firms tell their story to advisers. Wholesaling through the years has changed a great deal, but the need to tell your story has not. The company focuses on leveraging existing distribution efforts with digital tactics to generate adviser demand. For more information, visit https://ondemandwholesaling.com/ 


8354 UFS 5/28/2020

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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