Overcoming “Value Prop Inflation” as a Financial Advisor
“What is your value proposition as a financial advisor?” If we were to ask you this question today, how would you answer? Most advisors wouldn’t have to strain too hard to produce an answer, but there’s a second question. “Is your answer enough to set you apart?”
Today, we’re tackling the tough question of differentiation – you’re not a commodity. You’re a subject-matter expert with a unique connection to offer. And in a world of increasingly commoditized financial advice, presenting differentiation can make all the difference.
Building a Differentiated Advisor Brand
Marketing your practices is uniquely challenging as an advisor because of all the things you can’t say. You can’t promise outcomes, so most advisors default to focusing on the values and client experience they provide. The challenge? For many advisors, this starts to sound the same. In many cases, those values sound like financial independence, peace of mind, and growing your clients’ wealth. As far as experience, words like “personalized” are a dime a dozen.
It’s kind of like inflation, but it’s plaguing advisor value props. When everyone is claiming the same thing (even if they can’t deliver it equally well), you need to go back to the drawing board. It’s time to craft a new differentiation for today’s clients.
A Case Study: The Power of a Niche Brand
Since we’ve established what the problem is – “value prop inflation” – let’s turn our attention to possible solutions. We’re going to take a look at a great accidental case study, but before you click, take note of something: Doesn’t every website advisor website start to sound exactly the same?
With that question in mind, take a quick scan of FMG’s 15 Best Advisor Websites of 2022.
They may have different designs, colors, and images, but almost all of them effectively say the same thing. They’re focused on either retirement and/or legacy. All, except for one.
Website #4 from Shifting the Culture immediately differentiates itself from the rest of the list. Their tagline is, “Bridging the gap between ambitious professionals and their first million.” This immediately identifies a more specific persona in a more specific stage of life. This targets households on the early end of their accumulation windows, connecting with client relationships that have a strong growth trajectory.
In a sense, their niche strategy allows them to hold up a marketing mirror where their ideal client immediately sees themselves reflected in what they do. In a sea of advisors painting a near-identical picture, this has the power to resonate in a unique way.
You Can Niche a Strategy Without Changing Your Brand
Now, to be practical, a niched brand is not for everyone. When advisors talk about differentiation, their first question is usually along the lines of, “But I don’t want to niche down and put my brand in a corner?” It’s a good question, especially when plenty of advisors have built successful practices without narrowing their appeal. The simple answer? No, you don’t have to about-face and niche down your brand to be differentiated!
You can run more targeted campaigns that have the benefits of a niche audience without narrowing your overall brand. Let’s use another example from a current advisor under the WealthPlan Group umbrella (written Sept. 2022).
Vizionary Wealth Management headed by Wayne Wagner Jr. works with all sorts of households, but they have found a unique opportunity in the pharmaceutical industry. (To see what attracted them, you can see their pharma specialization overview here.) While their marketing does not exclusively focus on pharmaceutical prospects, they keep a close eye on events in the pharmaceutical industry and capitalize on those moments of money in motion.
For example, when a company like AstraZeneca decides to offload their pension plan to an insurance company, they created a campaign to help people understand what was happening and what opportunities they had in their unique circumstances. In the process, they’re able to showcase their expertise and familiarity in the pharma industry.
Differentiate Your Advisor Brand
Many advisors struggle with this tension: they have a well-run, high-quality practice but they’re not growing at the rate they feel they should. If that’s you, differentiating your brand and your capabilities is the next critical step to accelerating your growth. At WealthPlan Group, we surround advisors with the tools and community they need to unlock their potential.
If independence in your practice has also meant isolation and lack of support, we invite you to experience the difference of an RIA that’s dedicated to equipping you to grow.
WealthPlan Group LLC is a holding company for two registered investment advisors: WealthPlan Partners LLC and WealthPlan Investment Management LLC (“WPIM”).
WealthPlan Group LLC is not itself a registered investment advisor and does not provide investment advice. Astra Zeneca is not affiliated with WealthPlan Group LLC, or any of its affiliates.
Wayne Wagner is registered with and provides investment advice through WPIM.