Written by: Alex Cavalieri | Seven Group
I used to love the word automation. It was something that, as a younger marketer, I would use regularly in pool of my marketing buzzwords. But, as I gained more experience, more perspective, the word automation in marketing and communications meant less and less to me. Don’t get me wrong, automating tasks is incredibly important to operate efficiently, especially for some business (i.e. Amazon) where the relationship is very transactional, but when it comes to marketing your practice, you should think twice about the platforms you're using and the content you're pushing out the door.Businesses have become obsessed with automating their marketing and sales. And it’s not just direct-to-consumer business. In fact, B2B companies (58%) plan to adopt the technology in the future. And why wouldn’t they? On the surface, it sounds great - automated social posts, automated emails, text messages at 5 am talking about some offer. And this can be incredibly effective, but only if it makes sense for your business model (i.e. if you’re an e-comm site and want to send someone a reminder to finish their purchase, etc.).But at the end of the day, doing this is as an Advisor is probably costing you more than making you. Advisors should never automate their marketing, here’s why:
There’s more noise in the market, more need to cut through the noise
Every touchpoint, every impression matters, especially in a high-touch space where prospects and leads generate a lasting impression after 1-2 touches. According to Gartner, 57% of the buyer's journey is decided prior to speaking to a business. This means, having a unique message in every video, email, and article you send out is incredibly important because the investor's mind is largely made up at the point of contact. Not only is there a need due to the investor's perception, but there's a need to differentiate from other Advisors. If you scan any 50 Advisors across the country, you'll likely see a lot of the same messages, same content, etc.. Why? Because people are automating. If Nike and Adidas had the same marketing approach, it would be odd and they'd be largely cannibalizing each other in a sea of same. A good place to look for inspiration is outside of your industry, and if companies like these aren't going out with the same content and ads, why you should have the same marketing as the Advisor down the hall?
The human element matters now more than ever
The rise in Robo-Advisors over the past several years has only heightened the importance for Advisors to show their differentiating factors. Why? For many investors, particularly those questioning the integrity of financial service providers, Robo-Advisors offer a solid substitute for human advice (SSRN Robo-Advisors: A Substitute for Human Financial Advice? study). So, if there are investors who are on the fence, Advisors need to find ways to differentiate themselves - and that, in large part, includes adding a human element to your marketing and communications. Automated marketing is largely templatized, and while it may allow you to customize your message a bit, consumers know when they're receiving an automated message vs. a message catered to them. Add the human factor, show through video and voice how you're different.
Listening is the key to effective marketing
The biggest issue with setting and forgetting it is your inability to listen to your customers consistently - having the conversations, engaging in conversations, pivoting based on their feedback. Especially, if you have limited resources, you're likely going to ignore what's going out the door and just go on about your day. But every missed opportunity is a missed sale. Taking the time to listen to your prospect's objections, your client's feedback, it matters to your marketing strategy. It defines your approach.Stop with the automated emails, the automated LinkedIn messages - good marketing starts strategy and intent, not automation.