February 12th, 2020 · 12 min read
When it comes to marketing strategy, many financial-service firms are years, if not decades, behind the curve.
It doesn’t help that marketing is constantly changing as it adapts to new behavioral insights and new technologies. As technology continues down its destiny to consolidate, this has given rise to fully automated marketing systems, run entirely online. Automated marketing systems improve lead generation, lead nurturing campaigns, drip email campaigns, and other core marketing tactics. This is done by automating repetitive actions along the campaign building process, through to delivery.
Choosing the right automated marketing platform comes down to the content form, and delivery method best suited to your ideal buyer personas, as well as third party integrations with complimentary marketing software you may already be using.
When it comes to marketing automation systems, new tech updates, new angles on consumer data and other inputs lead the cutting edge of product development, with a view to enhancing their marketing systems and tactics.
Using a marketing automation system will assist advisors in keeping up with the times — after all, these providers update their strategies to keep up with the latest tactical thinking. Some further augment their value proposition with valuable user educational content.
Imagine, instead of hiring a marketing specialist, writers, content creators, a graphic designer, a funnel strategist, etc., you instead just sign-up for one online system based around proven and effective campaign structures that can be operated by one person? This would minimize overhead costs by turning the job of five into the job of one.
Marketing automation systems provide a series of preset options based on your common goals, backed up by industry-specific content libraries and content delivery systems set to automated campaign calendars.
Of course, you will want some customization. Most marketing automation systems have modification options for campaigns and content input fields for light to full content customization.
It’s kind of a no brainer for smaller firms. By aligning your marketing and sales goals into an integrated marketing system that carries out the drudge work, you can re-invest that time you save into your clients and your business. You may even find you have more time to step back and evaluate your overall strategy.
Some even formulate content and deployment methods based on massive amounts of data and research on your target market. Genius, right?
Today, there are a variety of marketing automation systems on offer, but the product options can be overwhelming. This begs the question, which product is right for my business?
To help answer that question, we will evaluate the main optimized marketing automation systems used by financial-advice firms, zeroing in on their main features, biggest differences, and the pros and cons of each.
What makes them stand out?
The emphasis of this automation system is on strategy, planning, and the upfront process. The platform features full automation of all systems and focuses on consistency, and helping you find the right channels for your communication efforts.
“I don’t think you need to be on all channels,” says Amanda Todorovich, head of content and creative services for DivvyHq. “It’s really about being where your audience is and understanding the channels that matter to you.”
Todorovich adds: “You can't be afraid to try new things. You absolutely need to experiment and learn quickly, but at the same time, it's not like we launched our Snapchat (channel) the day Snapchat came out. We took time to kind of learn and feel our way through it and to understand who's actually using that particular channel and does it make sense for our brand to be there?”
Focuses on the financial-service industry. Proven results across multiple industries. Commonly considered a leader in marketing-automation services.
Users report the platform is a bit clunky and more difficult to use than other automation software. Users report that the campaign interface is somewhat out of date. Unless you’re using the software under the unlimited-user plan, your team must pay DivvyHq for every new user. Although the platform is optimized for financial service, DivvyHq puts a lot of its energy into other business types and with more emphasis on larger firms and companies, rather than smaller shops.
DivvyHQ prices start at $30.00 per user per month and can reach $215 per user per month — plus a one-time set-up fee of $1,500. The company offers a 14-day free trial.
Monthly subscription rates, billed annually:
Divvy Lite - $30/ user/ month
Divvy Pro - $105/ user/ month
Divvy Enterprise - $215/ user/ month
Divvy Enterprise Unlimited - Call for Pricing
Unlimited content calendars
Unlimited content types
Custom workflow builder (Pro & Enterprise)
Social publishing (Pro & Enterprise)
Wordpress integration (Pro & Enterprise)
Global/parent calendar layers (Enterprise)
Dedicated support specialist (Enterprise)
Custom API access (Enterprise)
Single sign-on (Enterprise)
Content analytics (Pro & Enterprise)
Free reviewers (10 for Pro, 20 for Enterprise)
What makes them stand out?
Well known for their approachable and engagingly modern layouts, Snappy has a uniquely exclusive geographical reservation feature, where advisors can reserve their services by zip code. This means Snappy Kraken is optimized to be extremely effective for smaller independent firms because prospective clients in that area are less likely to be targeted by rival firms. Instead, prospects receive informative content via Snappy’s content library and campaign layouts.
Snappy Kraken focuses on human interaction and promotes the mindset of intentional and meaningful interaction with prospects. Snappy Kraken views every touch with prospects as personable human interaction in terms of getting to know someone. As with new features like Redtail integration for optimized CRM, Snappy Kraken continues to adapt and enhance its platform for wealth managers.
Every marketing campaign “is a series of coordinated steps that takes someone from one stage to the next,” says Angel Gonzalez, Snappy Kraken’s founder and chief marketing officer.
Robert Sofia, Snappy Kraken’s CEO, adds: “If I was going to give advisors one tip to put them on the right path, I would encourage them to stop thinking about marketing and business growth and client nurturing like an exercise that depends on volume. So often they think more is the answer. I just need to do more marketing, I just need to send out more communications, but we live in a world where people are tired of getting so much communication. Their emails are blown up. Because people are tired of that, the key to success is to have the right communications for the right people at the right time and delivered in the right way.”
Redtail CRM integration. Focused on the financial-service industry. Users can request customized content, event videography, and personalized video creation.
Exclusive territory rights mean that if another advisor in your area already uses them, you may have to wait to receive Snappy’s specialized services.
It starts at $227 a month, plus a $489 one-time setup fee. The base fee increases depending on the service level.
Exclusive territory rights
Client service campaigns
FINRA reviewed campaigns
True end-to-end campaigns
Landing pages, tripwire pages, and pop-ups
Real-time results tracking
Auto-posting to web and social
Automatic email, auto-respond, and nurturing sequences
Custom content and analytics for Enterprise
Ongoing personal support
What makes them stand out?
Strong customer support. Has an “open marketing” eco-system that integrates with solutions your company already uses and works your current system into the Act-On system. Good for small and large teams. Pricing tiers not based on the size of the database but by the number of people you market to monthly. Focused on identifying buyer personas and engaging on the right channels.
Established in 2008, Act-On is a fully-fledged marketing-automation tool designed to be a complete solution for marketers. Act-On includes email marketing, website visitor tracking, lead management, social media management, reporting, and analytics — plus integrations with webinars and events.
Act-On helps businesses segment their customers into various categories, assisting marketers in identifying client personas and target audiences. The software offers a website tracking feature, which gives firms visibility into the types of customers that are visiting their sites — and it tracks behavior while they are on the website.
Act-On offers tools to build and optimize campaigns, generate leads, rank their prospects, and more. The solution is capable of integrating with almost any leading CRM available in the market and is ideal for small marketing teams needing a marketing automation tool with minimal involvement from IT or a developer.
“Our key goal is to enable marketers of all skills and experience levels to drive more personalized buyer engagement and easily execute effective campaigns,” says Act-On’s CEO Kate Johnson.
It has a financial-service component but is not solely focused on the wealth management industry.
Starting at $900 a month for the “Professional” tier, and $2000 a month for the “Enterprise” tier.
Integration into web conferencing and CRM solutions
Tools for website visitor tracking
Lead scoring and lead nurturing
Automated programs; trigger and drip campaigns
Social media listening, prospecting & publishing
Design tools for web forms, landing pages, and emails
Inbound tools for advanced SEO, Google AdWord tracking, and blog integration
Act-On Anywhere - a business productivity tool
Account- and contact-based marketing capabilities
What Makes Them Stand Out?
Most companies simply automate the system for you. Automated Advisor stands out by empowering users and prospects with educational material to help them understand what is happening behind the whole process such as running social media ad campaigns. They are always adding new content to keep their audience educated. We’re not talking about annoying little emails or short videos just meant to get sign-ups. We’re talking about full-length seminars on cutting-edge strategy, proven funnel blueprint models with implementation instructions, in-depth consumer marketing tactics, and building personas. Automated Advisor specializes in lead generation for independent advisors who look to handle marketing in-house, with limited experience, and a short budget.
“The marketing advice I always got was, ‘Just send more mail or just buy more dinners,’” says Brandon Stuerke, founder of Automated Advisor. “It wasn’t long before I was $91,000 in debt. It literally almost put me out of business. I realized that I can’t just do more of the same thing.”
The aim of Automated Advisor, adds Briggs, “is not just to educate people, but to motivate them to take action, which is in their best interests.”
Exclusive advisor focus, with a modern buyer’s journey approach.
Does not provide a website. No external content-delivery automation.
Information not publicly available. Interested prospects are prompted to schedule a complimentary strategy session with an Automated Advisor specialist.
Tailored marketing blueprints
Traffic and lead generation
Lead to appointment conversion
Profit maximization analysis
What makes them stand out?
Vestorly focuses on a content strategy engine powered by artificial intelligence that helps users identify their audience. The AI engine connects subscribers with curated content it thinks will perform best with the target audience. Stylistically, Vestorly is modern and sleek. The online system also integrates well with other popular marketing tools such as Salesforce and Mailchimp.
“Despite the challenge to engage, customers want to hear from businesses, and those that communicate in a consistent, authentic way are winning,” says Ralph Pahlmeyer, CEO of Vestorly.
Data-driven approach and unique content-curation engine. Integrates well with other content management systems.
Campaigns are not customizable and there’s no A/B testing functionality. Does not provide custom content creation and there’s no website creation service. Past users complain about unsatisfactory service and difficulty getting refunds.
There are two main service platforms and four main pricing tiers per-platform ranging from free to “Enterprise.”
Marketing Automation Platform
Enterprise: Must Inquire
Virtual assistant and a 24/7 support (live rep)
Customizable calls to action
Landing pages/web forms
Lead database integration
What makes them stand out?
Broadridge actually has four legacy technology platforms hosted under Broadridge Advisor Solutions: Emerald Connect, Forefield, Investigo, and Direxxis. The platform itself comes in several packages — for attracting new leads, establishing brand presence, and using all of Broadridge’s marketing tools. There’s also a bespoke package called “My Marketing Partner.”
“Digital marketing is truly on the move,” says Dave Briggs, Broadridge’s head of corporate training. “The foundation has been built simply using websites and some email-marketing campaigns along the way, but now digital marketing is so much more than that.” To illustrate the need for AI-powered marketing, Briggs points to “a 43% gap in annual revenue growth between top quartile advisors and bottom quartile advisors.”
Join Broadridge Advisor Solutions and Impact Advisor Solutions as they take a look at some of the key segments of digital marketing including: Impact Advisor Solutions Founders Patrick Eckstrom and John D.
Exclusive advisor focus with plenty of downloadable educational resources. Broadridge membership also includes access to their Partner Program, which hosts solutions such as Finastra, Workiva, Charles River, Q4, and SmartRoom.
Does not include event promotion. Is not customizable. Does not create landing pages. Does not create custom content. Advisors must have a Broadridge site in order to use the marketing solutions.
Main Features & Pricing by Plan:
Grow - $129 a month
Email & Social Media Marketing
Search Engine Marketing
Plan: manage - $179 a month
Everything in “Grow”
$214 a month
Everything in “Manage”
Plan: My Marketing Partner
$3,500 a month
Personal Marketing Advisor
Marketing audit and analysis
12-month marketing plan creation
12-month marketing plan implementation
Optimization of Broadridge platform (via Personal Marketing Advisor)
What makes them stand out?
FMG suite comprises a number of automated marketing systems under one roof to form an automated marketing solution specifically for financial advisors, backed by a vast library of success stories and user testimonials. FMG has a great selection of educational videos and articles that we would say is some of the most interactive, realistic, and down-to-earth educational resources amongst any of their competitors. Their approach to content strategy is up-to-date. Their content is stunning (specifically their B to C video content.)
Kirk Faulkner – Director of Marketing at FMG Suite “A ‘marketing persona’ is kind of an imaginary person that you make up, and that you then run all of your marketing decisions through. Consider, when she goes to work, what are the things that really give her trouble every day? What are the things that she's reporting on? What are the things that she gets praise for and what are those pain points and those opportunities for gain that you can really speak to now? What you can do then is think about her as she goes through that through her day and what are the channels through which she really appreciates communication? What is the best way to get ahold of her? What is the best way to get information to her? Once you have all that information down, you put together something I would call an engagement scenario or a series of questions that a person might have. The answer you would reply with can be made into a piece of content. What would their next question be? That becomes the next piece of content and that is a great way to not just craft your persona but also use it to help you plan out an entire content stream.”
One of the largest educational libraries on the market. High quality content. Easy to use, and well designed interface. Up-to-date.
Although the content is informative and well designed, it does not offer exclusivity, and FMG is also a widely used solution. This means your competitors are sending prospects and clients the same content you are.
Starts at $69 a month Plans are flexible and customizable to fit your needs Custom Plans for Broker-Dealers
Unlimited phone and email support
Automated marketing is clearly the way of the future for independent firms in need of a comprehensive marketing solution.
All the solutions here are proven effective and appreciated by their users. However, one solution stands out.
Snappy Kraken isn’t a stand-out just because of their one-of-a-kind content or their exclusive geographic marketing. Rather, it’s their strategy.
Snappy Kraken has its finger on the pulse, so to speak. Their campaign strategy is hands down the most comprehensive and well thought-out solution on the market. They understand the buyer journey through an in-depth perspective on end-to-end campaigns.
A lot of the time we see marketing services offer solutions based on strategy that may work, but are out-dated or limited (only offering one aspect of an entire solution.) We see Snappy Kraken as the only company that provides an entirely complete solution through high-level marketing tactics (ones you can’t look up online) gleaned from years of marketing-industry experience.
Snappy is actually setting trends and creating the next-gen marketing tactics. They have the best thought out nurturing campaigns available. And, but though they offer enterprise solutions, for the most part they are specifically focused on smaller firms and solo practices.