In Broadridge’s benchmark research survey, Marketing Practices of Growth-Focused Financial Advisors, 406 financial advisors revealed what top performers and average advisors were doing in their bid to win the battle for new business. As it explored the practices, marketing spend and success metrics of participating RIA firms and independent broker-dealers, the report also showed what it takes for aspiring professionals to join the ranks of their top-performing peers.

More aggressive and more confident in their ability to meet their growth goals, growth-focused advisors—which made up 21% of participants—were better at calculating their marketing ROI and connecting their marketing dollars to their success in finding new clients. Of these high achievers, 88% said they deployed the biggest share of their marketing resources to client acquisition versus only 67% of the majority.

The most startling example of just how different advisors are performing in terms of marketing effectiveness and client acquisition: Self-defined “innovators” said they are acquiring on average 17+ new clients annually, while “laggards” are acquiring four or fewer.

What Holds Most Advisors Back?

Advisors commonly cited three big stumbling blocks:

1. Lack of time

2. Lack of dependable marketing talent

3. Absence of a digital marketing strategy

They said they were further hampered by ineffective marketing ROI measurements, confusion around which technologies to use and an inability to draft a coherent marketing plan.

In contrast, 42% of growth-focused advisors had a well-defined marketing strategy versus 24% of all others. Fifty-five percent were also more likely to track their marketing effectiveness in terms of revenue versus only 42% of their peers. Plus, 72% were more confident about meeting their client acquisition goals versus only 61% of the majority.

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