Banks de­liver in ad­ver­tis­ing, but more can be done in mar­ket­ing sup­port for ad­vi­sors.

Investment Executive - - FRONT PAGE - BY R AMONA LEITAO

al­though the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors sur­veyed for this year’s Re­port Card on Banks praised their re­spec­tive bank’s brand­build­ing ef­forts, the as­sess­ments of the banks’ mar­ket­ing sup­port ini­tia­tives were mixed.

Ad­vi­sors gave the banks an over­all av­er­age per­for­mance rat­ing of 8.5 in the “firm’s con­sumer ad­ver­tis­ing” cat­e­gory, up from 8.1 in 2017. Mean­while, the over­all av­er­age per­for­mance rat­ing that ad­vi­sors gave the banks in the “firm’s mar­ket­ing sup­port for ad­vi­sor’s prac­tice” cat­e­gory was only 7.7, up slightly from 7.5 last year.

Ad­vi­sors with Bank of Nova Sco­tia and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), both based in Toronto, as well as Mon­treal-based Na­tional Bank of Canada, were par­tic­u­larly pleased. In fact, they gave these three banks higher rat­ings in both cat­e­gories.

In the cases of Sco­tia­bank and RBC, their ad­vi­sors were sat­is­fied with those banks’ ad­ver­tis­ing ef­forts. In fact, the ad­vi­sors pointed to their bank’s pro­mo­tion cam­paigns sur­round­ing high­pro­file sport­ing events.

“We’re the na­tional bank of hockey i n Canada,” says a Sco­tia­bank ad­vi­sor in On­tario. “We’re in­volved in nu­mer­ous char­i­ta­ble events [re­lated to] hockey, which I think is re­ally good.

“I like the fact that [RBC] is a high-pro­file spon­sor for a lot of com­mu­nity and na­tional events, such as the Olympics,” says an RBC ad­vi­sor in Al­berta. “This is im­por­tant ex­po­sure for my busi­ness.”

Mean­while, Na­tional Bank’s ad­vi­sors in the bank’s home prov­ince of Que­bec were es­pe­cially pleased with their bank’s over­all ef­forts to en­hance the bank’s brand in that mar­ket.

“I find that [the bank is] very present in the me­dia, tele­vi­sion and news­pa­pers,” says a Na­tional Bank ad­vi­sor in Que­bec, “[and] the cam­paigns are ex­cel­lent.”

But Na­tional Bank’s ad­vi­sors out­side Que­bec would like to see the bank take a sim­i­lar ap­proach to ad­ver­tis­ing in their re­gions.

“In On­tario, be­cause we’re the small guy, there’s not enough [ad­ver­tis­ing to con­sumers],” says a Na­tional Bank ad­vi­sor in that prov­ince. “The other banks are in a lot more stuff than we are.”

As for these three banks’ mar­ket­ing sup­port ef­forts, ad­vi­sors praised the va­ri­ety of avail­able mar­ket­ing tools — par­tic­u­larly be­cause of the cus­tomiza­tion op­tions avail­able in the mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial ad­vi­sors can use.

“When I’m meet­ing new clients, it’s im­por­tant that they have a take­away,” says an RBC ad­vi­sor in Al­berta. “We get won­der­fully printed brochures, on which we can put our pic­tures, to re­mind clients who we are.”

“We have an in­ter­nal web­site that we get all our mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial from,” says a Sco­tia­bank ad­vi­sor in On­tario. “[This por­tal] gives us a stan­dard in­tro­duc­tory mailout that in­cludes space for a bi­og­ra­phy and a pic­ture.”

The web-based por­tal is part of bank’s Lo­cal Area Mar­ket­ing Pro­gram (LAMP), which pro­vides a ded­i­cated team of mar­ket­ing ex­perts whom ad­vi­sors can ac­cess, says Lau­rie Stang, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, Cana­dian branch bank­ing, with Sco­tia­bank: “[The por­tal] of­fers ma­te­rial that [ad­vi­sors] can cus­tom­ize to en­gage their cus­tomers, with a fo­cus on driv­ing fi­nan­cial ad­vice con­ver­sa­tions. Over the past year, [the con­tent] was en­hanced to pro­mote more fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy — and a lot of dig­i­tal re­sources were added to help ad­vi­sors com­mu­ni­cate with their cus­tomers.”

Na­tional Bank’s ad­vi­sors were sim­i­larly pleased with their bank’s dig­i­tal ef­forts. New pro­file pages for ad­vi­sors were added re­cently to the bank’s re­vamped web­site.

Hav­ing this ma­te­rial in place al­lows the bank’s ad­vi­sors to send in­for­ma­tion to a client prior to a meet­ing, says Nancy Pa­quet, vice pres­i­dent, in­vest­ment, with Na­tional Bank, who noted that the new ma­te­rial gives ad­vi­sors “more vis­i­bil­ity and more cred­i­bil­ity be­cause the client knows [who the ad­vi­sor is] be­fore [the client] ac­tu­ally meets with [the ad­vi­sor].”

“The mar­ket­ing sup­port got bet­ter,” says a Na­tional Bank ad­vi­sor in Que­bec. “The pro­file pages are at­trac­tive for clients. They can even book an ap­point­ment on­line.”

Al­though many ad­vi­sors were hap­pier with their banks’ ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing sup­port ef­forts year-over-year, that wasn’t the case at all banks. No­tably, ad­vi­sors with Toron­to­based TD Wealth Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning, a di­vi­sion of Toron­toDo­min­ion Bank (TD), were hap­pier with the bank’s con­sumer ad­ver­tis­ing ini­tia­tives, but more dis­sat­is­fied with the avail­able mar­ket­ing sup­port.

TD’s ad­vi­sors said they were pleased that their bank’s brand is be­ing ad­ver­tised vir­tu­ally “ev­ery­where,” but also sug­gested that more op­tions should be avail­able in the mar­ket­ing tools the bank pro­vides — and ad­vi­sors shouldn’t have to pay for that out of their own pock­ets.

“We’re lim­ited in our abil­ity to ad­ver­tise [our busi­nesses],” says a TD ad­vi­sor in On­tario. “I did some lo­cal ad­ver­tis­ing, but that was all my ini­tia­tive.”

The bank, for its part, aims to pro­vide more cus­tom­iz­a­ble tools for ad­vi­sors to pro­mote them­selves, says Rowena Chan, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of TD Wealth Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning.

“We have a dig­i­tal wel­come kit [that ad­vi­sors can send to clients] that’s to­tally cus­tom­iz­a­ble,” Chan says. “There [are web] pages [on which ad­vi­sors] can put their own bio; they can add or delete in­for­ma­tion, de­pend­ing on the clients they’re talk­ing to or the com­mu­ni­ties they’re in. This [ex­pan­sion] launched in Oc­to­ber, so it’s rel­a­tively new.”

Ad­vi­sors with Toronto-based Bank of Mon­treal also were dis­sat­is­fied with their bank’s mar­ket­ing sup­port be­cause of the lack of help in cov­er­ing the costs in­volved and in us­ing the tools avail­able.

“I’m ex­pected to put my hand in my own pocket to do my mar­ket­ing,” says a BMO ad­vi­sor in On­tario. “I wouldn’t mind do­ing that if I had some way to write that off against my salary.”

Adds a col­league in Al­berta: “[BMO has tools avail­able] on­line through which you can print off ban­ners, posters and brochures, but there’s not a lot of di­rec­tion on how and when to use them.”

“A lot of dig­i­tal re­sources were added to help ad­vi­sors”

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