Many asset managers invest significant effort into creating content for financial advisors and their clients. But are these efforts paying off? Unfortunately, our research suggests that firms are falling short of the mark when it comes to creating advisor content that is memorable and differentiated.
In our 2021 “Advisor Insights” survey of financial advisors, conducted in association with Horsesmouth, we asked advisors to identify attributes that they associated with the content created by the asset management firms with whom they do business. The response that advisors selected most frequently was “None of the above,” with 30% of advisors selecting this response for the average firm. This suggests that, in many cases, advisors either cannot recall anything meaningful about the content produced by the asset managers that they work with, or alternatively, they don’t believe that the content has any distinguishing features.
This pattern is particularly worrisome for asset managers because, as it turns out, a response of “None of the above” to the question about firms’ content is strongly negatively correlated with firm advocacy. In other words, advisors who have nothing to say about a given asset manager’s content are significantly less likely than average to recommend that firm to a friend or colleague.
So, what should firms do to address this problem? When we look at the list of content attributes and their respective correlations to firm advocacy, “highly relevant” stands out as the attribute most strongly correlated to advocacy. “Highly relevant” content, in this context, includes content that is highly relevant to the advisor, the advisor’s firm, the advisor’s clients, the challenges the advisor’s clients are facing, or some combination of the above, and it certainly makes sense for asset managers to aim to meet this standard when developing their material.
However, it is important to note that every single content attribute, with the exception of “none of the above”, is at least somewhat positively correlated to advocacy. What this means is that asset managers should focus, first and foremost, on ensuring their content is memorable to advisors (in a good way, of course), rather than on making it fit into a specific box.
To create content that advisors will notice and remember, firms need to make sure that their content is differentiated and, most importantly, is consistent with their brand and expertise. There is little value for firms in developing a standout content piece that gets advisors’ attention if those same advisors promptly forget which firm created it—or, worse, associate it with a competitor.
In summary, investing in content makes sense for asset managers, as it can be an important driver of advisor advocacy and brand loyalty. Just make sure that your content is memorable to advisors and that it represents your firm’s brand accurately and effectively.