Ep. 281: Moving in New Directions: Marketing in Financial Services (with Jamie Hopkins)

Financial Services Marketing

Trying to catch up with the times

Who should listen: Professionals who need a lasting way to stay deeply motivated and financial professionals interested in the new trends in marketing financial services.

Key idea: Great ideas are wonderful, but if you can’t implement them, they won’t have the intended impact.

Action items: (1) Write your eulogy to discover your why; (2) Determine what being free means to you. Both actions will impact where you spend your energy and time.

Marketing strategies for banks and financial institutions have long suffered regulatory and compliance obstacles that have made it difficult for one financial services provider to distinguish itself from another. Only recently, the SEC changed its decades-old rules to allow firms to start using testimonials and endorsements. Unfortunately, the amended rules are complicated, and not everyone is jumping on board for fear of a misstep.

In this environment, Jamie Hopkins, managing partner for wealth solutions at Carson Wealth, coaches his advisors to market their why—the unique driver that gets them up and excited to work with their clients every day—and to personalize their financial and wealth management services in all the ways they can.

There’s got to be a better way

Jamie is blunt when he says that the type of fear-driven financial services marketing the industry has historically relied on is not going to work in today’s market.

Highly negative messages that foretell clients running out of money when they retire or that convince clients they’ll die and leave their families destitute have been advertised concurrently with other equally exaggerated messages about 78-year-old bodybuilders who retire early and are now surfing in Bali.

But today’s younger consumers don’t relate to strategies based on threats and unrealistic promises, and they’re not buying it.

The same outdated notions of what consumers will tolerate also plague financial technologies. Fintech aside, Jamie tells a story during his interview about when he had to sign a literal piece of paper that someone had to bring to him during the pandemic so that he could complete his purchase of an insurance policy—and this during a time when you can click a button on your keyboard and have a new car delivered to your driveway.

Personalized marketing

Jamie—unlike those that came before him—encourages his advisors to adopt the best practices of marketing that we see in other industries. Two easy suggestions include:

  • Encourage people to relate and connect with you. For example, write a blog about your personal mission—your why.
  • Post pictures of your family on your website that demonstrate you’re a real person and not just a stiff in a suit.

For too long, financial services marketing and wealth management professionals have been encouraged to keep a healthy distance from the consumer, to stand apart, and to be product oriented. Jamie believes it’s time for all that to change.

Advisors, he says, need to become more personal and get to know their clients more intimately. Advisors should take an interest in their clients’ lives and be more solution oriented. As Luke observes, personalization makes something relevant.

When something is relevant, it will get people’s attention.

Once you have someone’s attention, you can communicate a message.

And if that message is sufficiently compelling, people will act on it.

The challenge for the financial services industry, Jamie suggests, will be how to scale an effective level of personalization.

An improved user experience

It used to be that an advisor’s physical location was important to the delivery of their services. The face-to-face meeting was meant to create trust between the advisor and the client, and it’s why, Jamie claims, that technology for a better user experience didn’t succeed at first. Now, location doesn’t matter nearly as much as it used to—even for older generations.

Zoom meetings and conversations are now commonplace, as are tools like Robinhood, the company that democratized investing and pioneered commission-free stock and EFT trades using a mobile app, and Lemonade, which sells insurance on its app and has a social conscience.

Improvements and changes in financial clients’ user experience are coming, as are new financial services marketing tactics, like geofencing, that rely on data-driven targeting. What remains to be seen is whether, and how much, regulators and compliance officers are willing to loosen up and allow for this type of overdue progress.

Please enjoy our interview with Jamie Hopkins, and we’d appreciate it if you would give us a five-star rating and leave a review of this episode on Apple Podcasts. (Not sure how to leave a review? Click here.)


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