Wealth management marketing: From ‘Secondhand Rose’ to ‘It Girl’

Becki Drahota

Who knew that a line of business which doesn’t have mass market appeal and has a sales cycle that’s measured in years, would be on a lot of bank marketing plans for 2021?!

It’s true. After decades of writing yawn-inducing brochures with exhaustive definitions of services like testamentary trusts, wealth management is being recognized as a low-capital-requirement, higher-than-average ROE banking division worth actively pursuing. 

So how do you market wealth management today?


In general, there’s a foreshortening of strategy for most wealth management initiatives. For example:

  1. Gone are the days of benchmark goals. Watching breathlessly to see if investment portfolios outperform their quarterly benchmarks is being replaced with answering: “Do I have enough to buy the second house I want in five years?”
  2. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has historically been wealth accumulation. Today, as Boomers continue to replace worn body parts and live longer than projected, the goal is retirement income. 
  3. Predictive analytics (if this, then that) are being replaced with customized value propositions (CVP) that specifically address competitive advantages. If you haven’t done value props, saddle up. They require painstaking three-part effort: 

First, you must separate yourself from other wealth management competitors who are likely after your clients. Example: Unlike (the competition) … you need to find out who they are!

Second, identify each client’s wealth management goal, specifically. Example: For busy professionals with a vision of creating a legacy foundation to support clean energy initiatives.

Third, you need to answer why you’re better than the specific competitors you’ve identified. SAMPLE: Unlike Schwab and Fidelity, busy professionals who want to build a legacy clean energy foundation, should choose ABC Wealth Management because we provide specialists in eco-focused initiatives.  

Bottom line, each of your top tier clients needs — and deserves — a CVP. 

What do these things mean for your marketing team?

Content Priorities

First, talk about your wealth management team, not products. Clients want diverse people with complementary and specific skills.

Second, get comfortable with ESG drivers. In case you don’t know, that stands for environmental, social and governance. It means that as you create content, be sure to link services not only to client goals, but client values and beliefs. It also means creating communication on the non-financial impact of the client’s portfolio in addition to its financial impact. 

Third, the market is hot. Get out there with your new business development initiatives. Social selling is proving to be a viable channel and don’t forget referral incentives. Case in point: Merrill Lynch onboarded 17,000 new clients between January and September 2020. Yup.

Fourth, today’s younger investors don’t fear market volatility because they have the power of time to recover, so talking instead about downside is more contemporary. Watch your vocabulary. Portfolio rebalancing is not nearly as engaging as hedging, etc. 

Bonus nugget 

Want to answer the ubiquitous question: “How do we attract millennials?” Talk to them about opportunities for fractional investing in the brands they revere and use every day. Think Amazon and Apple. 

So simple. So right. I love this.  

This nugget is from one of the Raddon Research analysts. We’ve used them as a trusted source for, well, at least 20 years.

Let’s recap, marketers: 

  1. Wealth management is worth your time, and some decent budget numbers. 
  2. Throw away tired platitudes and over-worn words that motivate no one. 
  3. Get aggressive. Go big or go home. Train your team to refer. Act like wealth management is important because it is. 

Don’t sell the book. Sell the next chapter and prospects will relate to you. And remember, a lot of enterprises are trying to get a date with your clients, so (metaphorically speaking) wash your hair. Be attractive. Be attentive. Be the It Girl.