Modernize your RIA’s marketing: How to entice, retain and position future leaders

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A popular theme at IMPACT® 2016 in San Diego revolved around how RIAs can develop future leaders – an interesting topic as America sat on the cusp of electing its own leader. RIAs know they have an aging workforce and face challenges from a succession standpoint if certain issues aren’t addressed. Aside from building out traditional internship and mentoring programs, how can an aging C-suite attract a young demographic and cultivate these young professionals to become the advisory industry’s future leaders?

Through various succession-focused sessions, IMPACT® 2016 attendees learned that modernizing their marketing efforts is an efficient and tangible way to integrate and showcase younger professionals. It can also stoke these employees’ desire to advance and take ownership of their role within the firm.

Revamping your RIA’s marketing and PR efforts offers dual advantages. It increases your firm’s visibility and positions the company among a new pool of professional talent. Here are three ways to get started.

Know where to find young professionals. Think about it – an older adviser’s sense of recruiting may consists of putting out quarterly ads in their local newspaper. Times are changing, and prospects increasingly use alternative channels to find an adviser outside of word-of-mouth referrals or advertisements. Social and owned – i.e. blogs and bylines – media are effective strategies to boost interest in your business and services. Who else is increasingly using these media channels? Young advisers. Sixty one percent of internet users between the ages of 18 and 49 are on Twitter. On the flipside, only 13 percent of internet users between the ages of 50 and 63 are using the social media platform. A younger demographic also leads the charge from a blogging perspective. A Sysomos study found that “Bloggers in the 21-to-35 year-old demographic account for 53 percent of the total blogging population.” Young professionals are personally using these platforms, and are more inclined to want to use them from a business standpoint.

Showcase young talent through different channels. Whether it’s through blog content, LinkedIn posts or a Fox Business appearance, it’s important to showcase the wide breadth of experience and thought leadership available at your firm. It is especially critical to showcase young talent for two reasons. On one hand, clients and prospects can see the “future” of the firm, and can understand that the company continues to grow and retain trustworthy leaders of tomorrow. On the other hand, encouraging young talent to be visible thought leaders bolsters their credibility in the industry, allows them to develop their own personal messaging that aligns with the firm and provides a sense of career development.

Reverse mentorship. Adviser attrition remains a problem in the industry. As discussed at IMPACT® 2016, financial advisers are among the oldest workers, alongside post office employees and morticians. As these baby-boomer advisers continue to near retirement, the reality is that there aren’t enough young advisers to replace them. According to Cerulli, “Last year, there were about 36,000 new adviser trainees in the financial advice industry. But more than 29,600 advisers who’d entered the field in the previous five years washed out in 2015.” These stats are staggering but show how much work remains to strengthen the relationship between advisers at different levels. This is where a reverse-mentorship program comes into play. Entering the business can be intimidating for young advisers who may find it challenging to build up a book of business. While older advisers can work with them to develop their skills and contribute meaningfully to the company, the younger adviser can assist with modern marketing through social media and blogging – an equally intimidating challenge for aging advisers. This “quid pro quo” allows each demographic to educate the other on areas that might not be an inherent strong suit.

As we’ve discussed before on our blog, marketing and PR efforts have a long list of benefits for financial services companies. But, by integrating these strategies, these efforts can also impact the firm’s future workforce and strengthen the communication approach that will ultimately be passed on to our younger, future leaders.