The power of personalization | Wealth management
If you’re lucky, there’s a point in your career when a trend you’re betting everything on starts gaining traction. For me, that trend is personalization and that moment came during the first Q3 2022 Advisor Conference session when Advisor Engine CEO Rich Cancro weighed in on the power of personalized engagement.
So why do I, along with T3 speakers and sponsors, see personalization as the wave of the future? It’s simple. Customer expectations.
Take a moment to reflect on the lives of your customers and the companies they most frequently interact with. Netflix? Personalized recommendations. Facebook? Ads targeted to reflect your interests. Amazon? Remembers everything you bought, liked or mentioned to your second at a birthday party three months ago.
In other words: people expect personalization and personalization. So creating that kind of experience for your customers quickly becomes table stakes to make sure your services are current and relevant for the rest of their lives.
With that in mind, here are some of the trends and ideas for personalizing your practice that I spotted in Q3 and beyond.
Communications and Marketing
One of the easiest ways to personalize your services is to improve customer communications. And one of the easiest ways to improve your communications is through segmentation.
Segmentation is what it sounds like: grouping your customers into different segments. You can do this using your CRM. In fact, if you’re tagging your customers, noting who has student loans, for example, you’re already creating segments.
How do segments help you personalize communication? Well, if the President were to announce the cancellation of student loans, you could ONLY email your customers with student loans to explore what this policy change might mean. It shows those customers you’ve got your back, without cluttering the inboxes of retirees who probably don’t care.
You can also take an easy step towards personalizing your communications by ensuring that all emails you send reflect YOU. If you’re working with a marketing department or content provider, be sure to add custom details. As so many at T3 have pointed out: Customers will notice the extra effort.
Or better yet, consider using video content in your email communications or on your website. If you’ve visited Podcast Alley at T3, you’ve seen the power of video in action – it’s one of the easiest ways to infuse your personality into email, social media or your website.
Clients these days expect some form of online portal, which creates an opportunity for advisors. So how do you create the best portal experience?
Pick ONE platform they can connect to. Ideally, all of your technologies communicate with each other through integrations.
If you’re not sure what to use as your primary portal, take a look at your tech stack and consider two things:
- How each provider allows YOU to personalize the experience and how they can let CUSTOMERS personalize the experience; and
- The type of online experience your customers would benefit from the most (this could be scheduling, performance, or both).
Once you’ve selected a portal, put your stamp on it. If you are “John Doe Consultants” and require your customers to login to Schwab, and there is no “John Doe” brand, you are ceding a client login to Schwab. (Which isn’t a blow to Schwab, you just want that commitment for your own business.)
Depending on what the vendor allows, this could be creating a full white-label experience, adding your branding, or just making sure your customers log into the portal from your site, instead of that of the supplier. The key is to insert yourself into the experience since you are their advisor.
Go through the login experience from start to finish as if you were a customer and make sure it creates the impressions you want. It’s also a good way to test the ways customers can personalize the experience and makes it easier for you to answer questions that arise.
The next frontier of personalization might not seem so obvious: wallets.
Advisors who manage investments in-house are often faced with a dilemma: using portfolio templates that make it easy to scale or creating custom portfolios that take time. But finding common ground — personalized, scalable investment strategies — can be the key to winning over the next generation of clients.
It’s no secret that a growing number of people want their investments to reflect their values, whatever they may be. As more advisors find ways to create portfolios that do just that, advisors who don’t risk losing clients. Start thinking about possible funds or services that will help you incorporate client values and preferences into their portfolios.
Or, if that’s a step too far right now, consider using customer reports to personalize how you talk about performance. Even if you don’t change anything about a client’s investments, you may be able to frame the conversation so that existing investments are discussed in the context of larger values.
Creating a custom framework can accomplish a similar goal without rethinking your entire investment strategy.
Make your personalization known
Whatever you decide to tackle on the personalization front – and hopefully after this article you have some ideas to start with – be sure to publicize your efforts.
As more and more advisors strive to create a personalized experience, customers and prospects are going to expect it. This means highlighting what makes YOUR business unique will become an integral part of your value proposition. If you create fully customized portfolios to reflect your clients’ values, say so.
In many ways, this applies that same principle of personalization to your own business. And that will be a game changer in the future.
Shawna Ohm is the founder of Content 151.