Celebrating its 10th year as an event, this year’s Technology Tools for Today (T3) advisor technology conference was the biggest ever, punctuated by a stream of major product launch announcements at the conference itself, and buzzing about the literally billions of dollars of merger and acquisition activity for advisor technology firms in the two weeks leading up to the conference.
The breakout categories at this year’s event included several new “Personal Financial Management” (PFM) tools for advisors to work collaboratively with their clients, including the launch of EMX Select from eMoney Advisor (which, finally, will be “unbundled” from their financial planning software!) and a new solution called “Narrator” from Advicent (maker of NaviPlan and Financial Profiles). Also highly visible at this year’s T3 conference were an onslaught of more than half a dozen new “robo-advisor-for-advisors” solutions, all seeking to bring a better technology platform for advisors to build their businesses and automate much of the onboarding and investment implementation with their clients.
Yet underlying the potential efficiency of all these new technology solutions is the ongoing challenge that for many advisors, working with smaller clients isn’t actually a matter of efficiency (which technology can solve), but a marketing problem to get a sufficient volume of those clients in the first place. And while several new technology solutions are aiming to automate more of the advisor marketing process, along with making advisor websites more engaging with a series of “self-help” tools that can get prospective clients interested in actually working with an advisor, the question remains: how many advisory firms have a good enough marketing process to actually leverage these tools in the first place?