Three Components to Successful Marketing for Advisors
The ‘rule of three’ is a writing principle that suggests that groups of three are very effective. I believe this is especially true when it comes to RIA marketing. From my experience, those RIAs that are most successful share three basic characteristics:
I believe this that is where the ‘rubber meets the road.’ Sharing your knowledge and insights with clients, prospects and centers of influence through content is one the most effective marketing strategies. Blogs, webinars, whitepapers, infographics, podcasts are a few ways you can share your thought-leadership and viewpoint. Before you start though, there are a few questions that need answers to get you there:
- What are you most passionate about and what makes your firm different than others?
- Is there a particular niche or unique client type that you best serve?
- Who within the firm is best to tell your story? It doesn’t have to be the firm’s principal, but they should be someone who will be fully committed to the role.
- Most importantly, be authentic and speak about what you know. Steer clear of the latest fads and avoid competing with or copying others.
How do you cut through the clutter? To start, make sure your message is clear, concise, and easy to understand for the reader. Always have a compelling call-to-action (CTA)which offers value to your reader. Think about what the next logical step in the process that may provide additional insight and engagement. For example, if you’re writing a blog article, you may want to reference a ‘Download a whitepaper…’ or ‘Attend a seminar to learn more…’ Try not to make it too sale-oriented, instead focus on the educational benefit to the reader.
In addition to your purpose is your plan. The old adage ‘plan your work and work your plan” may be cliché, but is often the difference between success and failure to execute your marketing goals. Begin by defining very specific and measurable goals. Try to set short and long-term goals that are both reasonable and achievable. Next, develop a strategy which details your tactics, resources, budget, and schedule.
There are two factors to your commitment – financial, determining a budget that aligns with your return on investment (ROI), and personal; who’s going to actually doing the work and how much time are they willing and able to put in.
As a small business, how much should you allocate to marketing? Although opinions vary, this fairly straightforward explanation from the U.S. Small Business Administration provides some guidance:
“Many businesses allocate a percentage of actual or projected gross revenues – usually between 2-3 percent for run-rate marketing and up to 3-5 percent for start-up marketing. But the allocation actually depends on several factors: the industry you’re in, the size of your business, and its growth stage. For example, during the early brand building years retail businesses spend much more than other businesses on marketing – up to 20 percent of sales. As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing. This budget should be split between 1) brand development costs (which includes all the channels you use to promote your brand such as your website, blogs, sales collateral, etc.), and 2) the costs of promoting your business (campaigns, advertising, events, etc.)”
Once you’ve determined a budget, develop a process which closely measures both your cost and the return on investment (ROI). There are many ways to do this. Investopediagives this simple example, “take the sales growth, subtract the marketing cost, and then divide by the marketing cost: (Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI.” How you look at the ROI of any marketing campaign ultimately comes in the form of increased business growth. The main purpose is to track your efforts over the course of the year and beyond.
A few things to keep in mind in maximizing your return on investment:
- View all marketing initiatives as ‘works in progress’ — look for small ongoing adjustments which can often have great impact on the results.
- Conduct after-action assessments — take the time to review what worked, what didn’t, and what needs improvement. Analyze all aspects of your effort and set qualitative and quantitative goals for the future.
On a personal level, be sure that whoever is managing your firm’s marketing, be it a staff associate or outsourced consultant [for on this, read my IRIS article, 5 Advantages of Working with a Virtual Marketing Director], it can be wise to start with a smaller project to make the process less overwhelming. Select someone who has both strategic and tactical experience. It’s great to have someone who’s able to tell you what you’ll need to do. It’s another thing to have the hands-on skills to get the job done. Since marketing is a long-term investment, it’s worth your while to find and develop someone with the right mix of talent, values, and work ethic to be a true resource and extension of your firm, and lead this effort.
As small and entrepreneurial businesses, RIAs need to approach marketing in the most efficient manner with constantly keeping an eye towards both short and long-term goals.
Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI
Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US
It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.
Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.
Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.
From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.
Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.
How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?
One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.
When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.
To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.
The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
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