To attract new clients, most advisers should dramatically — and immediately — change their marketing practices, said experts at the recent In|Vest conference in New York.
Quicker than a planner can say, “YouTube,” prospective clients have transformed how they find and consume information. To capture their attention, advisers must pivot away from staid, print-driven methods to a more dynamic, visually driven approach. Specifically: video and social media, panelists told attendees of the Innovations in Content presentation.
Clientele are looking for more “content and advice,” said Wayne Gomes, the co-founder of GrapeVine6, which helps businesses build relationships through identification and sharing of web content.
Younger generations are driving this shift, primarily, said Kristi Ross, the president of dough, an online trading platform.
Gen Y clients are "two times more likely to seek financial content on social networks," Ross said, adding that this generation — born between about 1980 and 2000 — use social networks to search for content more than any other demographic.
Still, the lessons advisers have learned about reaching prospective clients can apply to many age groups.
To attract attention — no matter the age of the consumer — information has to be presented in a brief, educational, entertaining and personal way, Ross says.
"You can't be sales-y because this will turn them off," Ross said.
YouTube has become a juggernaut, and one that advisers ignore at their peril.
In 2015, 400 to 500 video hours were uploaded to YouTube every minute and most of them were watched on mobile, Ross said. In the last five years, YouTube's mobile consumption increased by 477%. In fact, 81% of millennials use YouTube and two thirds believe they can find anything they want to learn on the channel.
The younger demographic, in particular, is more likely to trust information gleaned from data graphics and infographics, and they are more likely to share those images on social media, she said. That benefits firms twice— by capturing more attention when they use these methods to reach younger clientele, and then reaping another set of eyes when the content is shared.
Specific words and themes can hurt or help young clients' perception of content, according to Jennifer Barrett, chief education officer of Acorn, a mobile micro-investing platform.
"Millennials hate the word retirement," Barrett said. "We brainstormed and came out with ‘preparing for your post work life’ to replace retirement."
Advisers have to restructure their approach and words to better engage younger clients, Barrett added. "Bring in stories of people they relate to, and talk in the way they talk about things,” she said.
Advisers, however, run into two problems catering to this increasing appetite for information: compliance and content supply, Gomes said.
"The compliance department is just not big enough to vet through all the material and we don't have enough advisers to churn (content) out," Gomes said. "This is an operational side problem."
Creating independence for content creators might just be the solution, according to Barrett.
"(Acorn) brought me in to create a quasi-independent unit within the firm, giving us the independence to publish our content," Barrett said. "This is very beneficial from a compliance stand point."