What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Collaboration”?
If you’re like me, you think back to group projects in school. As a former high school English teacher, I understand the intent behind group projects, but as a former student, I remember how that good intent rarely got through to the minds of the students.
Group projects pretty much always have the same dynamics: you’ve got one kid who sits back, maybe gives a few ideas, but doesn’t do any work. Sometimes they coast the whole time, and other times they swoop in at the end to bloviate and take all the credit. Then there’s the kid who does absolutely nothing. They stop showing up to meetings and you wonder if they dropped out or hitched a ride to San Paulo somehow. Yet they still get their name on the final product.
And then there’s the student that does everything. The group got an A because of her, but she didn’t do it for the group – she did it for herself. She isn’t out to help anyone else; she’s trying to save her own name and record.
Thankfully, collaboration in the advisory industry is nothing like my former group projects (I won’t tell you which student I was, but it sure wasn’t the last one). The spirit is much more authentic, and unlike those group projects, everyone wins.
I had the good fortune of attending Orion Advisor Services’ Fuse 2016 event for the second year in a row a couple weeks back. I didn’t participate, per se, because my coding know-how begins and ends with a forgettable graduate course on graphic design, but I got to see a lot of advisor technology companies working together to create integrated technology that will ultimately help advisory firms do more by doing less.
It got me thinking – how can advisors collaborate with other firms in the industry to help boost their marketing efforts?
Here’s a few of the ways advisors can build better marketing strategy through collaboration.
Plan Joint Marketing with Complementary Companies
Let’s start with the simplest of suggestions: Round up one of your buddies in a complementary industry and work up a joint marketing campaign together.
Maybe you know a CPA and you regularly refer clients back and forth. Putting this relationship to work to give your marketing an assist could be as easy as holding a joint webinar, or even an in-person event, to discuss how financial planning and taxes go hand-in-hand.
Know anyone you should call right now? Here’s a few ideas on possible partners you could work with:
- CPA Firms
- Estate Planners
- Insurance Agents
Involve Your Technology Partners
Sometimes, you can create collaborative marketing opportunities using a less direct approach than the joint marketing campaign. I’m guessing you use quite a bit of technology in your advisory firm. Most advisors I’ve worked with incorporate, at minimum, a CRM and portfolio accounting solution. Most use financial planning and risk analytics software as well.
Put those technology partners to use in your marketing. Depending on your firm type and niche, those efforts can look very different:
Indirect – If you’re marketing to investors, the technology solutions you use in-house can and do benefit your clients. Incorporate the technology you use in your own marketing commentary.
For instance, do you use a white-label client portal like Orion so your clients can have 24/7 access to their accounts? Maybe your client portal allows you to chat online with clients. You can leverage these types of technology solutions when emphasizing the service you provide to your clients.
Direct – If you’re a TAMP (Turnkey or Third Party Asset Management Platform) looking to add more advisors under your wing, your technology partners probably have advertising opportunities for you or can help you broaden your reach to the advisors interested in their technology services. You could create a reciprocal relationship, where each time you bring on an advisor, you also onboard them to the financial planning system you’re using.
Think about the possible advisor technology solutions you have in your office:
- Portfolio accounting
- Financial Planning
- Risk analytics
How can you put these relationships to work for you, beyond how you already use their software?
The financial services industry is a large web full of interconnected companies and relationships. Often, those relationships are complementary, not competitive. When you can collaborate with other firms, the tide can rise for everyone.
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