Four Things You Need To Know When Creating Successful Advertising That Targets Financial Advisors

By: Carl Uttaro

Marketers focusing on the financial services industry face an uphill battle when it comes to grabbing the attention of the advisor community and convincing them that their products will make them more money and keep their clients happy.  The audience number also presents a challenge.  With less than 300,000 financial advisors in the U.S. creative MUST break through the clutter. Challenges abound there are however some keys to creating successful advertising that will help to drive interest and generate a response from an advisor by getting them to:

  • Seek more information about a broker/dealer offering;
  • Start recommending a specific broker/dealer and its products;
  • Contact a wholesaler or company representative for more information;
  • Seek a contract or selling agreement with a specific brand; or
  • Follow a brand on Twitter or other social networking.

Over the years the research team at Phoenix Marketing International has tested thousands of financial services ads and we have created ways quantify advertising success across many segments of the financial services industry. Our most recent research analyzed 9,186 individual assessments in 109 unique print advertisements for 32 brands that were evaluated semi-annually between May 2012 and November 2013.  The resulting analysis uncovered four key “pathways” to creating successful broker-targeted print ads and identified the financial services companies that are exhibiting some of these pathways in their ads.

Communicate Relevancy and Support With Advertising That Shows Financial Advisors You Want To Help Grow Their Business.

Growth is important for the advisor community as many are constantly seeking out new customers and looking for ways to drive higher retention amongst existing clientele.  Making sure that advisors know you are on their side and looking to help grow and retain business is one of the keys to advertising success. Franklin Templeton, for example, has presented relevant offerings related to its “Time to Take Stock” 401(k) promotions, including a downloadable and educational white paper for advisors to access. Additionally, American Funds featured an ad with a real world case study of an actual client’s success story. Other strong performing brands include: Prudential, John Hancock and Pacific Life. All of these communicate the relevancy and growth messaging while staying true to the brand.

Promote Your Superior Product or Service by Encouraging Financial Advisors to Recommend Your Brand 

Own your superiority and brand strength in the marketplace and harness these attributes while encouraging advisors to recommend your brand.   Advertising from American Funds, BlackRock, and Franklin Templeton lead on critical creative attributes – including trust and value – found to drive a desire to recommend a specific brand. BlackRock promotes these attributes with the tagline “So What Do I Do With My Money?” and answers the question with details about their specific funds or strategies that can succeed in today’s market. Other brands with strong ratings on this pathway include John Hancock, MetLife and Prudential, which all contain “recommendation driving” creative.

Be Impactful and Breakthrough The Clutter With Creative That is Memorable and Stands Out

With so many ads out there competing for only a few eyeballs it can be a challenging task to grab an advisors attention and get them to act.  MetLife does a great job at rising to the top and has been a consistent leader in creating ads that break through media clutter.  Financial advisors report that their unique ads are inspiring, meaningful and also entertaining. The company has licensed the use of the Peanuts characters in its advisor-targeted print ads to develop clever and memorable references to their products and services.  This includes several Woodstock characters in branded football helmets, referring to the “personalized protection” of an annuity. Brands that also rate well for impact and breakthrough include Nationwide Financial, Pacific Life, BlackRock and PowerShares.

Make it Believable By Conveying a Credible Offering 

Sensationalism won’t work with advisors.  They need to believe in your message, because their clients need to believe that an advisor has their best interests in mind. Look closely at American Funds, MetLife and Franklin Templeton. These ads typically rate very well with financial advisors who believe that the message is absolutely credible. Believable ads portray the brand and offering as primarily authentic, reassuring, clear and meaningful. The brands earning the strongest ratings for believability often created ads that featured informative, catchy headlines that were then backed up with concise and detailed information to support the claims. This problem/solution type of strategy has consistently resonated well with advisors, because the messaging and creative work to prove that your firm can help the advisor and their clients. Examples of other top-rated brands that leverage this pathway in their creative include John Hancock, Prudential and JP Morgan.

Carl Uttaro is a Sr. Research Analyst for Phoenix Marketing International one of the top consultative research companies in the U.S. 

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