Wealth Management’s Connection between Marketing and Technology is Broken

Wealth management firms have two main ways of achieving growth: organic (adding clients) and inorganic (mergers and acquisitions). M&A has been strong for the past five years, but this type of growth as the only form of growth is unsustainable for firms over the long term, particularly as they compete to win clients in the generational wealth transfer, and more firms are turning to organic growth strategies.  

In fact, firms need to balance both types of growth to maintain an overall stable growth rate year after year. Currently, only about two thirds (67%) of wealth management firms have an organic growth goal for 2024. The rest, it stands to reason, plan to depend solely on inorganic growth strategies.

When wealth management firms understand how to execute marketing tactics to achieve their organic growth goals, they can identify new efficiencies and modernize their strategies through marketing technology. F2 Strategy set out to uncover current practices in the industry. It conducted research to benchmark how wealth management firms are achieving organic growth goals.

The biggest takeaway from this research is that firms are not connecting their marketing with their technology to run streamlined, personalized campaigns that improve engagement and relationships with prospects and clients. Reversing this course could help them increase their organic growth rate and streamline the tools and processes they use to achieve their goals.

Here are four trends from F2’s research uncovered:

Trend 1: The Organic Growth Rate Has Fallen Year Over Year Since 2021

Insights and Actionable Intel

As firms depend more heavily on organic growth, a steadily decreasing average organic growth rates raises red flags

  • As firms depend more heavily on organic growth, a steadily decreasing average organic growth rates raises red flags
  • The research found no correlation between marketing spend and organic growth rates
  • Marketing strategy, not just spend, is the key to reversing this downward trend. A recent McKinsey1 report states, “CEOs who place marketing at the core of their growth strategy are twice as likely to have greater than 5% annual growth compared with their peers.”
  • Take Action: Firm leadership should develop organic growth objectives and align resources appropriately to achieve those objectives. Consider forming an internal Marketing Committee, comprised of marketing AND technology professionals to help build an organic growth workflow. Bringing everyone to the table increases the likelihood of success.

Trend 2: Wealth Management Firms Still Rely Heavily on Word-of-Mouth to Support Organic Growth

Insights and Actionable Intel

  • On average, firms rated the maturity of their referral network cultivation a 3.75 out of 4 and events strategies a 3.6 out of 4; while they rated their marketing automation, social media, video and podcast strategies 2.8 and below.
  • It’s unclear why firms focus their efforts on word-of-mouth, but two potential rationales include they are most comfortable with those tactics and they do not have metrics to support digital tactics
  • Take Action: Firms must invest in technology and training to better utilize marketing automation and digital marketing tools such as social media and podcasting to provide balance to their word-of-mouth campaigns. These tools provide advisors with the ability to streamline communications, provide personalized experiences and spend more time with clients.

Trend 3: Firms Are Still Developing Cohesive Marketing Automation Strategies

Insights and Actionable Intel

  • Firms use different tools for client management, content management, marketing optimization and prospecting
  • The wide array of tools makes it harder for firms to build a harmonious marketing-technology automation strategy that drives engagement and firm growth
  • These tools are treated just as any other technology tool in the firm, which has created a problematic disconnect where marketing often operates independently from the technology designed to support it, preventing it from reaching its full potential to accelerate a firm’s growth.
  • Take Action: Firms need to evaluate their marketing technology tools to decide which work and which just take up space and identify places where they can combine functions into a single tool. Additionally, firms must establish true integration where all stakeholders—from tech to marketing—collaborate under a unified strategy to truly advance a firm’s goals.

Trend 4: Firms Slowly Begin to Hire Positions Dedicated to Marketing

Insights and Actionable Intel

  • The research found that the hiring currently taking place is not defined by firm sizes or type
  • Putting talent in place that can develop and manage marketing programs is an important investment in achieving a strong connection between marketing and technology
  • Hiring marketing leaders at the highest levels of the firm is important. According to McKinsey1, “marketing or marketing-adjacent leaders can struggle to deliver when they are not part of the strategic conversation and may not have the opportunity to influence important decisions.”  
  • Take Action: Consider hiring marketing professionals internally to align the firm’s overall business plan with a relevant marketing plan. Also, consider how third-party resources could help you align marketing tactics to your firm’s business plan. Last, consider including marketing tips and advice to existing sales meetings to ignite interest in organic growth.
F2 Strategy Survey Information: The data in this report is pulled from a survey conducted by F2 Strategy in April 2024. The survey includes responses from 37 leading RIA, Wealth Management and Broker/Dealer firms representing ​$2 trillion in assets.

1 The power of partnership: How the CEO–CMO relationship can drive outsize growth

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