In today’s financial environment, wealth management firms must navigate volatile markets, persistent inflation, escalating interest rates and a potential recession.
But within this maelstrom of economic uncertainty, prime growth potential beckons as well. Two key developments—generative AI and the new SEC marketing rule—hold the promise of transforming the way RIAs approach marketing and client engagement.
Make no mistake, the arrival of social media, the emergence of influencers and the continued erosion of newsrooms have created an environment where financial industry firms across the board have to revisit how they’re telling their story and what tools they use to get the right information in front of the target markets they are after. Crisp, on-point content is a big part of meeting the need for an “always on” brand voice. Fortunately, the arrival of generative AI—hello, ChatGPT—has come at this time when brand marketers need more help delivering timely, fresh content.
Power of real-time, personalized communication
AI is poised to revolutionize the marketing landscape, thanks to its ability to generate high-quality, context-specific content in real-time. This feature empowers RIAs to operate at “newsroom speed,” delivering up-to-the-minute market insights and responses to their clients.
|This article is featured in O'Dwyer's August '23 Financial PR/IR and Professional Services PR Magazine
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Generative AI’s capabilities are both extensive and highly adaptable. This advanced technology can be used to generate personalized market updates for each client based on their unique portfolio, creating a more individualized and engaging client experience.
Additionally, RIA firm marketers looking to stretch the impact of their thought leadership, earned media or award recognition can lean on generative AI as a means to dispatch the information through different formats. This isn’t about replacing your top-shelf content writers or social media team, but rather making them more potent and efficient!
What makes generative AI such an invaluable tool for RIAs is its capacity to augment how firms manage client relationships with more active communications while supporting their ability to deliver fresh insights in a timely fashion, covering a range of financial planning and investment issues relevant to a variety of clients.
Communicators and marketers don’t need to think of generative AI for output alone. It can be a powerful tool for brainstorming, for idea organization and for finding different ways to package the message. Remember, you can ask ChatGPT to deliver content in conversational tones or in a more studied or academic style. This helps marketing content come alive with a different range of styles and relatability to the inevitably varied audiences you are working to reach.
Amplifying social proof and building credibility
Meanwhile, the redefinition of the SEC marketing rule also promises to be a boon for RIAs. This update—the first of its kind in more than half a century—enables financial advisors to share client testimonials and endorsements, a practice that was previously prohibited.
The implications are massive, offering advisors a new platform for social proof and injecting fresh life into referral networks. Positive testimonials and endorsements can bolster a firm’s reputation, enhance client trust and facilitate relationship-building. This update also serves as an acknowledgment of the profound changes in communication technology and investor expectations since the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
Under the revised regulations, advisors can tap into the power of their satisfied clients’ voices to vouch for their services, providing an influential new level of validation and credibility. In uncertain times, when potential clients may be hesitant or anxious, testimonials from satisfied clients can serve as powerful reassurance of an advisor’s expertise and trustworthiness.
The average RIA firm needs to recognize that the new marketing rule changes some of how they have met compliance requirements but the goal is to make the style of engaging would-be customers more relevant to an age when influencers impact just about every other buying decision we make, from clothing to sports teams to who we elect to political office.
It’s not simply taking advantage of new rules; it means that RIA firms can catch up to how other industries have marketed themselves.
Pathway to the future
In the face of 2023’s economic uncertainties, the combination of generative AI and the new SEC marketing rule provides RIAs with a comprehensive toolkit for driving growth. When effectively leveraged, these tools can supercharge an RIA’s efficiency, timeliness and credibility, enabling them to not just navigate but thrive in challenging conditions.
Rather than merely representing survival strategies, these twin engines offer new areas of experimentation and potential innovation in how firms create more efficient and potentially more productive marketing programs to fuel organic growth.
As we look ahead, it’s clear these developments are not just game-changers—but rather the new rules of the game.
Joe Anthony, President and Co-Owner of Gregory FCA, has led the firm’s financial services unit since 2003. He’s responsible for the agency’s specialized public relations, content marketing and social media services for asset management, mutual fund, ETF, RIA, insurance, broker-dealer and financial service firms.