A typical content marketing relationship typically works like this: Brands create content and distribute it directly to consumers through a promotion channel, such as Facebook, Twitter, email, or email. , LinkedIn — or even mail if you happen to have private print magazine .
But what happens when you’re not delivering content through broadcast channels, but through people? A lot of companies rely on agents, advisors, and other types of salespeople to reach their audiences, but they often miss the opportunity to use those people to deliver content and gain attention. of everyone.
With over 6,000 financial advisors, Raymond James is no stranger to working with intermediaries. But over the past few years, the company has been able to get almost its entire sales force to use content. Now, when advisors work with consumers, they can turn to helpful resources like “ How do rising interest rates affect bond prices? ” and “ Six things to know to forecast market downturn weather ” comes directly from Raymond James.
I spoke with Raymond James CMO Mike White, who has been at the company for over 15 years, to find out why he considers financial advisors clients, and how content affects both B2B and B2C relationships and why his marketing team has such a progressive relationship with the compliance department.
Who is Raymond James trying to reach?
Our content, which can be like many marketing and communication initiatives, varies by stakeholder. Clients typically receive our content through our financial advisors. So we have a kind of business-to-consumer model. Much of it is about education.
We also have a pretty good focus on relationships with the media and the public — for example, showcasing our subject matter experts. We have a wide range of analysts, economists and stock strategists. Our goal is to make sure Raymond James’ views are expressed and shared.
Finally, we also have the capital markets audience as part of our business. It’s a business-to-business model with investment bankers who, in many ways, have a very similar relationship with their clients that advisors do. The level of sophistication and content is somewhat higher with them.
What’s special about content in Raymond James? How do you make your mark?
Where we’ve really tried to make our mark are the leaders at financial advisor marketing support. We believe that in most cases the financial advisor brand is more important than the organization behind it. Obviously we’re investing in the Raymond James brand — that’s important — but at the end of the day, the client has an advisor relationship. Content is so important that advisors can take it and make it their own, and the digital environment with content management allows them to do that in a really thoughtful and sophisticated way.
How do advisors find this content?
Like many other companies, we have a content hub, Raymond James Point of View . It serves our different stakeholders in different ways. Its primary motivation is intended to be a feed for our financial advisor websites and their social platforms. So we post here and they can choose what to use and what not to use.
Since the entire system only works if the right content is subsequently delivered, how do you get these advisors to use the material you generate?
We treat our financial advisors as clients. They can choose to use our content or not, so it has to be engaging. We are also a very independent culture, which means that advisors have different business models. We respect that. Some of them consider themselves portfolio managers and really value content that talks about investment ideas or the economy. Then we have other advisors who orient their practice more towards financial planning and wealth management. The content they use is more focused on life events and financial planning topics.
And do they value that content? Are they using and sharing it?
Ninety-five percent of them have used marketing material or content that we’ve created in the last three months. Depending on how you measure it, it can be difficult to set ROI for marketing in the property management business. However, from an engagement perspective, we see a high percentage of advisors using it and continuing to use the content. It is validating.
We also had some other signs of tactical success. We’ve seen an explosive growth in usage of our social media platform, where much of our content comes to life, reaching over a million customers and potential customers. Be part of our advisor network. We’ve seen that number grow from zero a few years ago to nearly 4,000 today. We have many ways to go, because we have 6,000 advisors, but that is good evidence of progress.
How do you listen to all those advisors?
We have real-time feedback when the advisor interacts with our service. We have surveys where we ask them how their experience was and what else they would like to see. We have an editorial calendar that, for the most part, drives ideas and direction for both clients and their advisors. It shows what they want to see more of.
Obviously, in the digital world, it is easy to see where the advisor is using the content, where there is interaction. We also want to use indices for that.
So advisors are ready, but what is your relationship with compliance? Do you have to work to get them on board or stay on board?
Especially in our industry, it’s really important to be compliant. We have a small team that is physically compliant in marketing, so it’s an integrated part of the process. There are different steps when we go through the planning or manufacturing process, where they can flag things to say: “It’s a topic that may need further consideration.” I know in some places you create a great piece of content and you pray that it will be followed. We don’t approach it that way. It’s built in from the start.
How did you get so lucky?
We have very advanced compliance functionality. But there are also real efficiency benefits to it.
Is that where you see content marketing and financial marketing in the next ten years, better teamwork?
I think so. We must go with the flow, with trends unfolding with media, media and consumer preferences. Financial advisors, especially in wealth management, will not be at the forefront of this, in large part due to compliance. I think, in many cases, if our customers are in one place and want to consume information, we have to be there too. That’s why we’ve made a huge investment in our social media and content management systems.
[This interview has been edited and condensed.]