In marketing and client communications, how you deliver a message is as important as the message itself. Too often, when trying to make a point, it’s easy to get caught up in an industry or company point of view, rather than looking at it from a client benefits point of view. In addition, a message that previously worked may lose its effectiveness over time or in a different financial or market environment.
Post-financial crisis blues
A classic example we have seen is the discussion and justification for the importance of asset allocation, diversification and rebalancing. The post-financial crisis era was an emotional time, when confidence in the market was low and investors felt they had been let down and not “protected” by their advisor. The conversation and message (appropriately for the time) revolved around advisors setting a framework that would keep investors on track and prevent them from making “irrational” investment decisions.
Memories are short
Fast forward ten years, and many investors have “forgotten” the pain of the financial crisis. In addition, a whole new generation of investors has entered the market, with different attitudes about investing and what they expect from their advisor. The message of “protecting investors from themselves” may now be perceived as patronizing by investors.
Your message must evolve
While asset allocation and diversification remain at the core of long-term investing, the message around them needs to evolve. Investors want to feel like their advisor is working with them to understand and develop a strategy that reflects their goals, situation and values. They want to feel a sense of inclusion and empowerment with tools and knowledge, not that they are being classified as “portfolio model x” or that their advisor is operating in a black box on a “need to know” basis.
Of course, above all, your message must be a true reflection of your firm, your core beliefs and approach. Regardless of the market environment, trust remains central to what investors look for in an advisor.