SIFMA Social Media Seminar: Marketing for an Industry That Could One Day Go Digital

I’m back!  This is my longest hiatus yet.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending a social media seminar hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), an industry trade group representing the interests of the financial services industry.  It was held in New York at the SIFMA headquarters, just a block up from Wall Street on Broadway.  If you follow me on Twitter, I posted this photo from the event:

It was just a very informative day, filled with seminars about social media marketing within the financial services realm, and how compliance professionals within firms have established their relationships with marketing professionals.  I actually gained quite a bit of information that I would like to integrate into my marketing strategy in 2015.  After all, social media is a relatively inexpensive method to market a business, and it’s much more widespread and targeted than traditional forms of advertising such as print.  Also, I’m sure there are tons of potential clients we don’t even know about that are on social media.  It certainly worked for many of the financial professionals on the panel at the seminar – I listened to testimonials from some of the highest-regarded advisors in the industry.

After the seminar, however, it led me to thinking how digital the financial services industry could become.  After all, people have banked online for the past decade, and banks are investing more and more in mobile banking options.  Combined with the increasing prevalence of mobile technology in all areas of commerce, it appears that mobile banking might become the new norm.

They say the same thing, too, for financial advisory and investment management.  My firm’s CEO shared an article on LinkedIn the other day about how robo-advisory websites are becoming more popular, particularly among younger, Generation Y investors.  This may be the case, but I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would want to look to a robo-advisor.  There are too many benefits of a real-life advisor.

For one, an advisor is a person who should know you very well and work with you to achieve your financial goals.  Financial planning is not a one-size-fits-all type deal.  They should meet with you in person, sitting across from you at a table, and get a sense of what your hopes, dreams, fears, and passions are, and integrate them into a solid financial plan.  With the robo-advisor, you might be able to produce a plan that will work for you and make you secure, but would it be the best option for you?  You’d never know.

Secondly, firms pride themselves not only on outstanding customer service, but the relationships they’ve built with their clients over time.  A financial advisor is like a confidant, if not a member of the client’s extended family.  When we speak of clients around our office, we talk about them like they’re old friends.  And they are.  When you’re doing business through a screen, however, the screen doesn’t regard you as family.

I can’t say I see the wealth management industry becoming more digital, but the thought of it is still troubling to me.  We speak so much about social media marketing, and I believe in it, but I still believe that financial services should be about interpersonal interaction.  Call me old-fashioned, but I think the best business happens over meetings, lunches, and games of golf.  It’s worked for our firm for over forty years into today, and I think it’ll take us into the future.

In the meantime, though, I gotta say good night.  I gotta get my rest before a party tomorrow night.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

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