For most of its entire history, the hardest thing about becoming a successful financial advisor wasn’t actually learning the financial information necessary to give good advice, or the process of delivering financial advice… it’s the challenge of simply getting clients to give that advice to in the first place. Which in the past has led the advisory industry to have an attrition rate as high as 70% in the first 3 years. Because most people who try to become financial advisors never succeed at convincing a critical mass of prospective clients to actually pay them for that advice (or to buy their company’s insurance and investment products) in the first place.
Which, not surprisingly, has created an immense focus on trying to figure out what the “best” marketing strategies are for financial advisors to get clients, and has led marketing practices in the industry to evolve over the years, always in search of “the next best thing,” from cold-calling to seminar marketing, radio shows to blogging and podcasting.
Yet there’s been remarkably little research about what, exactly, are the best practices in financial advisor marketing, and which strategies are the most cost-efficient to grow an advisory firm. Which is crucial, given that most advisory firms have relatively little budget to spend on marketing in the first place (typically no more than 2%). Although perhaps the reason so few advisory firms spend on marketing is simply that they can’t figure out what to spend on in the first place, given the lack of data.
Accordingly, we’re excited to announce the latest Kitces Research initiative – a deep dive into what financial advisors are really doing that works (or not) when marketing for new clients, what tools, technology, and systems advisors use, best practices in the most popular advisor marketing techniques, and what advisory firms really spend on marketing (including hard-dollar marketing costs, tools and technology, and staff support).
The ultimate goal? To figure out, truly, what the “client acquisition cost” really is for the typical advisor when considering both the hard-dollar costs, staffing costs, and simply the “cost” of the financial advisor’s own time in the sales and marketing process. Because in the end, there’s no way to figure out what the “best” financial advisor marketing strategies really are, until there’s a standard metric like client acquisition costs (CACs) – that considers all the costs – for the various strategies to be compared on an apples-to-apples basis in the first place!