Marketing to financial advisers is no easy task and in the current competitive environment, financial services product and service providers are under heightened pressure to demonstrate their value. Yet despite these challenges, there are many ways financial services product and service providers can differentiate their business and earn advisers' trust. Steph Bone, Head of Marketing at Square Mile talked us through some considerations and trends, based on her relationships with advisers, that can help when marketing to this audience.

Advisers are individuals - they all have their own personal preferences

There is no one answer on how best to communicate with advisers and people like to consume media in different ways i.e. you may segment your audience and communications by 'tier 1 adviser', however within this group there will be a variety of people who like to get information from different places.

Therefore, the key is to create an integrated marketing campaign - where you distribute content through various marketing channels (email, website, social media, sales aids, press pieces etc.), with the same consistent message and imagery throughout. That way if an adviser reads an article in the paper, through an email you send or through your website, they are receiving the same message consistently through the various channels. It also increases the chance of the information reaching them.

Timeliness is everything for market related content

Timeliness is key, particularly when it comes to market related content - getting market content out before your peers can create a positive brand image and will mean over time advisers may come to rely on you for this information first.

With our adviser clients we get market related content out within the first week of the quarter - it means our advisers can be proactive about passing this information to their clients. For adhoc market communications, we take the same approach where we communicate big market news to our clients before 10am - that way if they get concerned calls from their clients, they can be knowledgeable on the subject.

The importance of personalisation

I think this is one we all know, but personalisation is becoming increasingly important - again like anyone, advisers want to feel that the content they are being targeted with is what they find of interest rather than being sent another generic email. This is particularly important when they just want to access information relevant to them quickly. We are seeing a rise in web preference centres as a result of this, giving people the opportunity to select the content they want to receive.

Make your content different

There is no shortage of content in our industry, so producing content that cuts through the noise and is different to what everyone else is doing can help to differentiate you from your peers. This could be a different style of video, utilising podcasts as a medium, making the content relatable to advisers or tying up with third parties to create targeted campaigns.

The simpler the better 

Advisers want to be able to gather the information they need quickly and easily, and the simpler this is to understand the better. As an industry we tend to use a lot of jargon and acronyms to make ourselves sound cleverer, when actually advisers want clear and simple information, quite often in a format that they can relay directly to their clients.

ESG is becoming increasingly important

ESG is everywhere - there isn't a day that goes by where ESG isn't in the headlines, and we believe that over the next few years ESG will become mainstream. Square Mile ran our first investment conference in October and by far the most positive feedback was on our ESG sessions. However, what is clear is that it is still a complex subject, not helped by the fact that there is a lot of terminology being thrown around. There is still room here for a lot of education and information.

Independence has value

We would say that! But having third party endorsement from an independent fund research company can allow advisers to get a view of a fund that isn't coming directly from a fund group who will clearly endorse their own products. At Square Mile we work with fund groups to provide independent comments, quotes and videos for the funds we rate, which they can then lift into their marketing communications to help to endorse these funds.

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