RIA owners and independent advisors need to be mindful of the valuable time and resources spent on doing their own marketing or using a platform. These “solutions” may seem like a great cheap option for growing their book of business, but misconceptions exist that make DIY marketing too good to be true.
Misconception #1: DIY Marketing is More Cost-Effective Than Outsourcing
By doing their own marketing, some advisors believe they can save on hiring a full-time professional or outsourcing. This particularly appeals to smaller firms that may not have the budget for a dedicated marketing solution.
When taking this approach, advisors may struggle to balance their marketing efforts with their primary responsibilities, leading to burnout, decreased performance, and closing the door on new client engagement opportunities. Without proper guidance, advisors may not effectively budget their marketing costs or time to achieve the best results. Limiting spending to building a digital brand presence, email, and social media isn’t always enough to keep firms relevant, especially if you want to focus on building trust with high-net-worth prospects.
Navigating all the nuances of a successful marketing program could distract advisors from their most essential tasks; every hour spent on “figuring out” marketing is an hour not spent on client relationships and other forms of business development.
Misconception #2: DIY Marketing Gives Advisors More Flexibility.
Another common misconception about DIY marketing is it gives advisors more flexibility and control over their efforts, allowing them to develop and implement their own strategies.
Even though having more autonomy when it comes to marketing may seem beneficial, it does not mean adequate experience to create successful campaigns or implement the right strategies. Lack of knowledge may lead to subpar results. In most cases, advisors cannot accurately measure their marketing effectiveness, resulting in a lack of data-driven decision-making.
Additionally, there may be instances when an advisor's business goals and marketing are misaligned, leading to disjointed and ineffective efforts. This often results in inconsistent communication and failure to accurately convey the firm’s identity. Even with “flexibility,” an advisor’s marketing efforts will not always appropriately represent the firm’s brand.
Therefore, large and small RIAs should seek the guidance of a dedicated specialist with the necessary skills to create effective marketing strategies. Doing so gives advisors the flexibility to prioritize what they do best—which is not marketing!
Misconception #3: DIY Marketing Gives Advisors a Better Understanding of Their Brand.
The belief that an advisor’s understanding of their brand and value proposition improves by doing their own marketing is another common misconception.
Marketing is a blend of psychology, storytelling, technology, and data that involves a wide range of ever-changing sub-components, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media algorithms, audience behaviors, and optimized combinations of images and words. By managing their own marketing, advisors are tasked with determining what content to send or post and how often their audience should receive it. They also need to be aware of the exact steps required for a stranger to become an interested prospect. These aspects of marketing require a significant amount of time, effort, and expertise to keep up with and understand. Instead, it would be more effective for advisors to focus on building client relationships and developing their sales skills while leaving the marketing efforts to a dedicated specialist.
Although DIY marketing and platforms may seem like viable alternatives to hiring an internal specialist or outsourcing a CMO, RIA owners and independent advisors must be aware of the downfalls before spending valuable time, money, and resources.