Benefits of a Marketing Automation System
“The wonderful thing about marketing automation is that once you create the initial content, you simply forget about it and let it work its magic. Emails automatically get sent to any prospects who sign up for your updates. Social media posts get published on a schedule. That means you get back to focusing on running your business like you should.”
FMG Suite recently hosted a seminar called “Growing AUM Through Digital Marketing” for the financial services industry. Our VP of Corporate Development, Rick Fox, moderated a discussion that ranged from technology to social media in marketing, and we received some useful feedback from a variety of participants.
The insights we learned helped us to understand the marketing challenges of the financial services industry so much that we decided to produce a series of posts summarizing the seminar so more financial advisors and firms could benefit.
This is the third installment of our five-part series. Part 1, “Technology Adoption,” can be found here and Part 2, “Inbound Marketing,” can be accessed here. Today’s discussion, Benefits of a Marketing Automation System, provides some industry insider observations about how automating marketing efforts affect brands, communication, and the bottom line.
What are the benefits of automation when it comes to brand development and communication?
Marketing Automation for Financial Advisors
“I think that what automation does is let you spend less time on what I would call lower quality things that can be automated and more time doing things unique to your practice and to your specific value proposition.”
Brian Cody, VP of Digital Media, Waddell & Reed
From optimizing time spent on marketing to determining which clients and prospects should receive the most focus, financial advisors and firms can realize much more than merely automating repetitive tasks with marketing automation. Automation software and systems can undoubtedly handle the often tedious marketing tasks, but the ultimate benefit lies in automation’s ability to analyze, adapt, and make the most of marketing spend.
Just like Henry Ford didn’t realize the potential of the automobile until he created an automated manufacturing process, the financial services industry can’t realize the benefits of targeted, consistent, on-demand marketing until it adopts the automation mindset. From more productive communication to brand building, marketing automation covers a lot of ground—automatically!
More Time for the More Important
Financial advisors are busier than ever keeping up with industry advancements and learning the best ways to reach more prospects. But advisors can often find themselves working with tasks that don’t have an immediate impact on revenue. By leveraging marketing automation, financial advisors can expedite that “busy work” and focus on the more important elements of financial services: prospects and clients.
“I would love to jump in on this and just say that the broker-dealers don’t really want advisors to be spending their time doing this because we, as advisors, should be doing what we are uniquely qualified to do. We shouldn’t be doing the ancillary things. So, whenever we can automate that so that things are going out without us getting involved personally, the better.”
Thomas Fross, President, Fross & Fross Wealth Management
The benefits of technological advancement lie at the heart of marketing automation solutions. Tasks and projects that once took days now take hours, and what took hours, now takes minutes. This decrease in time spent on marketing means that advisors can spend more time improving their expertise, researching trends, and working on other endeavors that can have a more immediate impact on the growth of their client base.
More Effective Spend
One of the key benefits of a marketing automation system is the time saved with marketing efforts, which result in decreased labor costs. Reduced labor costs mean marketing budgets can be trimmed, and the savings can be invested in other areas. Imagine enjoying better marketing results AND having more money to invest in a larger ad spend for brand building, elite talent, or numerous other opportunities for increasing AUM.
Another cost savings inherent in effective automated marketing systems is that they simply market better. Through integrated analytics, marketing technology can find opportunities, weed out poorly-performing marketing efforts, and enhance efforts that perform well. This analysis often leads to marketing avenues that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Simply put, effective marketing technologies determine what efforts provide the most ROI.
As digital marketing continues to evolve and become more complex, it becomes more critical that processes, systems, and automation can scale with growth. It should be evident to many in the financial services industry that the CRM system (Rolodex!) and other systems they used quite effectively a decade or two ago are now ineffective.
Because scalability is such a critical element of modern software and systems, investing in marketing automation solutions from reputable vendors should support both short- and long-term growth. This automation will increase market reach today and support the growing audience of even the most ambitious advisor or firm.
Building the Brand
“The first thing that I would say [about] digital marketing and the automation of communication today is they allow you to bring that brand to the forward in a consistent fashion.”
Andy Barksdale, Senior Vice President of Marketing, LPL Financial
One of the far-reaching benefits of a marketing automation system is its ability to build a financial advisor’s or firm’s brand. Brand position, the element that describes offerings and services and who they are designed for, is critical for reaching the right audience and building industry authority. A marketing automation system is not only designed to ensure consistency, but it can also get that brand position in front of more targeted prospects and clients.
Without automation, aligning brand personality, a brand’s story, and brand associations across a wide range of marketing mediums would be difficult at best. The specific traits of a brand’s personality, the story behind a brand’s history, and even the logos, colors, fonts, and taglines associated with a brand must be consistent and complementary to build credibility and trust.
Automated marketing systems excel at streamlining communication between a financial services advisor or firm and their targeted audience. From determining what content performs the best to analyzing an audience’s feedback, an effective automated marketing system can analyze this two-way communication and adjust its efforts to create stronger relationships. Automated marketing is built for “listening” to consumers and adapting the marketing approach accordingly.
One of the less obvious benefits of a marketing automation system is its impact on communication between departments. The common adage that marketing and sales can’t coexist comfortably is a prime example of how automation can transcend traditional barriers. Sales departments historically blame marketing departments for a lack of leads, and marketing often feels that sales squander those hard-earned leads. With the right marketing automation solution, the increased odds of obtaining leads and creating more prospects will create more peace between these equally important departments.
“So, it’s all about taking the step back, doing the research, finding where your clients are, and then meeting them where they are at and knowing what kind of content they want.”
Leah Alter, Director of Marketing and Consulting, Kestra Financial
Social media is an essential part of growing a financial services presence online. Regardless of how some “more mature” companies and executives perceive social media, the medium is here to stay, and it is powerful. Consider the following:
- Seven in 10 Gen-Xers will likely purchase something from a brand they follow.
- Thirty percent of millennials engage with a brand on social media at least once a month.
- Sixty percent of baby boomers are looking for promotions on social media.
If those statistics don’t raise an eyebrow in the financial services industry, we can’t imagine what would. While having social media presence is a necessity, it is very time-consuming. Between updating profiles, responding to clients and prospects, creating and sharing relevant content, and managing the various social media accounts, effective social media marketing is a full-time endeavor.
Social media automation software fills this full-time role by handling the process of sharing posts and content across social media channels while keeping the brand consistent and in front of the right audience. The benefits of consistent, frequent social media activity include more website traffic, better search engine results, and, ultimately, more qualified leads.
Social media automation is designed for efficiency, brand building, and enhancing a targeted audience’s experience, but even the most advanced system can’t replace the human interaction that builds relationships. Someone will still have to engage in meaningful conversations, reply to queries and moderate comments. But with the right marketing automation system, the time investment will be far less than with traditional social media marketing.