How Financial Advisor Marketing Will Be Different in a Post-DOL World

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There are three types of people in this world – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what the heck just happened. You don’t want to be in the latter category. Unfortunately, many financial professionals will find themselves firmly rooted in that category as they take a “wait and see” approach to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule.

As the industry collectively holds its breath on whether court challenges or the Trump administration can alter or repeal the rule, the well-prepared advisors are already bracing for the changes that will need to take place within their practices.

The smart play is to operate under the assumption that the ruling will hold its course and take effect as planned. As part of that preparation, many advisory firms need to re-evaluate how they do business.

While it’s well-known that the DOL’s fiduciary ruling requires all financial advisors to put their clients’ interests first, financial services professionals are still unable to know how broad of an impact the ruling will have on other aspects of their practice, including marketing. The rule itself doesn’t specifically change the regulation surrounding marketing activities, but as much is implied.

What changes in a post-DOL world?

From a marketing perspective, we will see four changes take place in a post-DOL world. As a result, financial advisors will need to revamp their marketing approaches to survive and capitalize on the opportunity.

Change #1: A shift away from product-focused marketing

A simple example is advertisements that are specific to a particular product or product category, like mutual funds, separately managed accounts or annuities. While this isn’t necessarily a requirement of the rule, advisors would be well-served to avoid marketing the product of the day. A better alternative is for advertisements to be focused on a planning strategy, rather than a specific one-size-fits-all solution.