5 Reasons Why Your Enterprise Needs an Archiving Tool

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As a business grows it will create more data – data that needs to be meticulously managed and monitored in order for it be utilized properly. Keeping tabs on this data can prove problematic for businesses that never put an archiving system in place. Effective record management becomes a vital process to ensure the protection of the organization and the advisors. Archiving is the process by which inactive information, in any format, is securely stored for long periods of time.

In addition to archiving traditional documents, it is important to archive all content, this includes website pages, blog posts, email newsletters. While you can attempt to archive data manually, this would take up a lot of resources opens up to a risk of error, cannot accurately track changes, and will create confusion in the case of a change in staff.

Here are 5 reasons why your financial enterprise needs an automated archiving tool:

1.Prevent Data Loss

Information that hasn’t been archived in a central and secure location could be lost forever. There is a chance that an employee accidentally deletes or misplaces a file. While in some cases data recovery experts might be able to retrieve this information, this takes time, cost a lot and is rarely 100% accurate. Using an archiving tool allows employees to retrieve the backed-up information independently without having to rely on third parties.

2. Legal Requirements

Archiving is important for legal reasons too. Many enterprises accidentally delete data that they legally should be keeping. An effective archiving system will ensure company- and industry-specific retention schedules are adhered to, regardless of each employee’s knowledge of the retention schedules. Data protection authorities enforce more severe penalties on businesses so employees should be made aware that ignoring these policies could lead to hefty fines or even prison sentences in some cases.

3. Increase Security

In a time when archiving cyber-attacks and data breaches are becoming more frequent, archiving is important for security reasons. By securely archiving documents, businesses can keep track of information and increase protection from unauthorized third parties. Even the most cautious of businesses are now targeted by very adept hackers. Paper records in open circulation can easily be taken from crowded offices or stolen by bitter employees. A reliable offsite archiving system will reduce this risk.

4. Reduce Risks of Errors

Conducting an audit requires a thorough examination of the inner workings and fine details of your business. With the right archiving tool, you can improve the accessibility of data and mitigate the risk of human error.

5. Saves Time

Traditional auditing is very time-consuming, requiring greater resources from larger organizations. With the right archiving tool, the auditor can access the historical content more effectively. The right tool will also include features like the visual editor and powerful filters to allow auditors to work much faster.

Archiving is vital for business continuity and ensuring the highest level of performance in a competitive marketplace, attempting to establish a manual audit process would be too resource intensive and risks exposure. In the instance of financial advisor marketing, this would be impossible to archive the content of every page, of every advisor. Digital Agent offers an archiving tool, Digital Archiving, that allows the enterprise to automatically archive advisors website content. There are a host of features such as high-powered search, visual website review, and external content archiving that increase audit efficiency. Digital Archiving gives enterprises greater peace of mind by auditing your advisors’ online presence.

 

The 4 Forces Driving Advisor Marketing Transformation

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Seldomly are decisions made on a whim. Factors both internal and external guide these choices. Businesses are no different. Leaders are focused on constantly moving forward and embracing new strategies and technologies. Business leaders who do not adopt this approach, their business will stop moving forward, stay stagnant and the competitors will surpass them through their continual improvement and embracing constant change. One of the areas of transformation that leaders should be looking at is advisor marketing. Let’s explore the driving forces that are transforming advisor marketing.

To better examine the driving forces of transformation, we are looking at the “Jobs to Be Done” framework that we use internally to help with strategic planning. The 4 aspects of the framework are:

  • Push: The problems that exist in the current state that drive the desire for charge.
  • Pull: The benefits that a company would get from making the change and transforming to the new state
  • Inertia: These are the costs and habits that are holding back from making the change
  • Anxiety: There are the concerns people and groups have about moving the known to the unknown transformational state.

Push:

As mentioned previously, companies are always trying to move forward because in many cases the stagnant organizations will be surpassed. This competition forces companies to adapt and continue to transform. The second factor that pushes organizations towards transformation is organizational anxiety. People are always changing, learning to do new things, and improving old things. This applies to advisor marketing transformation. There may have been a way to do things in the past, advisors are more knowledgeable and become less content with the current state for advisor marketing that they demand better. The final factor that pushes for transformation is technology impediments. Legacy systems may have been a solution when first implemented but as marketing best practices evolve, so should the advisor marketing platform. If the platform does not evolve, SEO rankings will drop, brand perception will decrease, user experience will be outdated, etc.  

 

Pull:

There are also factors that pull organizations toward the transformational state. These are not obligations (at the moment) but instead factors that would provide value and meaning to users. The first is Client Experience. There has been a lot of disruptions we see across many industries. These disruptions change the way organizations and clients interact, resulting in clients wanting exceptional experiences regardless of industry or organization. The second factor is competitive advantage. The transformation would be perceived as an extra to differentiate from other organizations; allowing for more sales or different pricing/positioning models. The last factor is long-term vision. The leadership of the organizations may see external factors and predict future changes and are deciding to be proactive instead of reactive by implementing a transformational program.

Inertia:

Simply these are the factors that hold organizations back from making change to “what has always been done.” First is the existing habits of users. Transformation may be too much of a radical change for people and can result in poor user adoption/user frustration in the beginning. Secondly, whether it is human or monetary resources, there is a cost to the transformation that is weighed against the benefits. Often times, the cost is seen as too high without being able to truly see the value.

Anxiety:

There are human factors that question the value of the transformation. Are the users aware of the need/desire for change, and do they have to the knowledge to adapt to the transformation? Are the decision makers willing to take the risk involved with transformation? Additionally, does the organization have the capabilities to support the transformational platform and its users before, during, and after its implementation?

When wondering if your organization should move from its current advisor marketing program to a transformational state, it is important to properly evaluate the driving forces behind the transformation. Using the “Jobs to Be Done” framework, organization can see all the factors that are driving them towards the transformational program and all the factors that would restrict them from moving forward.

4 Reasons Why Advisors Need Their Own Online Presence

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Do the financial advisors of your organization have their own website? When a prospect or client comes to your organization’s website and wants to find an advisor, is it an easy painless process to search for an advisor and then view their website? If you answered no to these questions, it might be worth thinking about how this is holding back the success of your advisors and ultimately your enterprise brand. These four reasons go through why advisors need their own online presence and how stopping them from having one is hurting their business.

1.  Traditional Marketing Just Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

Years ago before we had as many digital marketing channels as we do now, financial advisors would use the traditional methods of marketing such as networking, advertising in magazines, newspapers or on bus shelters and on the radio. In today’s digital world those methods are alone are not going to allow advisors to be competitive among the thousands of other advisors out there competing for new business. It’s very easy to have a website today so when a business owner doesn’t have one it can hurt them.

2.  A Strong Way to Build Trust and Credibility

Having an online presence through social media, a website, email, etc. or proven ways that help advisors show empathy and expertise. An empathetic financial advisor is one who truly listens to clients, ensuring they feel understood and who demonstrate that they care. By having an online presence on social media and a website, prospects and clients gain insight into your expertise, which helps build credibility.

3.  Limiting in Their Ability to Reach More People

By building that trust and credibility online, financial advisors can reach more people and build a bigger audience. They can more easily develop relationships with existing clients and create new ones with prospects. Only by using traditional methods,  the number of people you can reach is far less. Also, leveraging online methods, advisors can track and monitor their efforts so they know exactly which tasks are worth spending time.

4.  It Gives Them the Ability to Deliver a Personalized Experience

It’s no secret that people like receiving communication from people rather than brands. When you think of your inbox, do you pay more attention to the emails that come from people or the emails that come from brands? It’s likely that you pay closer attention and read the emails from people, and even more from people that you trust and like. By having a website, advisors can deliver a personalized experience to the community they serve. If there is a specific audience that the advisor is targeting, creating content that will resonate with that audience will be beneficial and helpful. Additionally, through email marketing, advisors can segment lists and sent different content to different lists. For example, the new parents are probably more interested about RESPs and leveraging RRSPs than say an older couple who is thinking about retiring soon and making sure their kids are taken care of. The ability to personalize online has drastically improved the ability to generate leads and ultimately new business.

In conclusion, if the advisors of your organization do not have their own website, think about why. Is it because as an organization you want to maintain a certain level of control? If yes, there are tools and platforms available today that make that possible, while still allowing advisors to have an online presence. Ultimately, as enterprise marketers we want to support advisors so they can grow their business. By having an online presence such as a website, financial advisors are able to turn prospects into clients.

What Happens in the Field, Stays in the Field: Why head office marketing campaigns have limits

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Enterprises are spending large budgets in attempts to build trust with consumers, but consumers interact with the field agents in which they have not built a relationship with. This model of trust building is wasted effort as customers care more about trusting the advisors with whom they interact with.  There are many benefits for financial enterprise marketers to include field teams in their marketing distribution.

  • Messaging amplification
  • Additional content creators
  • Increased advisor visibility

The one key benefit of advisor marketing programs is the unique positive impact on customer relationships. Just as we all do not answer phone calls from unknown callers, customers do not respond to brands outside of their trusted networks. Companies outside of that trust network, have to work much harder to gain the attention of the customer. If you can tap into the trust network of your customers using your employees as conduits, you are going to build stronger long-term connections.

As an enterprise marketer, you oversee a department and have a budget that is dedicated to programs to create customer engagement – how can you make valuable connections? The traditional approach would be to deliver messaging at the brand level; this method, however, creates a disconnect. All engagement will happen between you the brand and the customer, but the revenue comes from the field level, not the brand level. So only focusing on the brand-customer relationship will mean the customer may trust the brand but does not have a relationship with the field agent with whom they are supposed to trust their money with.

To build this trust, customers look for the personal connections and credibility in their advisor. As they are publishing their own connect, there is a stronger chance of customers connecting with the content because it will be written by a person that a customer can speak with in person. Also,  the advisor will write about subjects that are relevant to their client base. They will have a better understanding of their micro-segment and what financial information will be beneficial to them. Another benefit to advisors producing their own content is to build credibility. Credibility is no longer measured simply by just education and title. Credibility is built when the advisor clearly understands the needs of the client, the difficulties they may face, and having a plan to meet client objectives.

The final element to establish credibility is a proven track record. This will validate expertise and the plan set forth by the advisor. Several elements that establish credibility can be done through marketing content. If website, email, or blog content, speaks to the needs and problems of the potential client, they will self-identify and begin to trust the expertise of the advisor. Additionally, if the marketing content provides a few actionable tips for free, this helps to build trust as it is not hidden behind a wall.

While a head office marketing department may have the resources to create engagement with the customers, it has its limitations. The programs would not be able to provide the same level of personalization for customers. Tailoring messaging that mean the needs of specific micro-segments. Furthermore, enterprise marketers need to leave room to allow for the field teams to engage with the customers and build relationships at that level. In this way, the engagement and relationships build between customer and enterprise will result in the customer being loyal to the brand. And the engagement and relationships built at the same time between the customer and advisor will establish trust and confidence in the management of the customer’s finances.

Everything you need to know about GDPR – Explained

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With all the latest news about data breaches and how companies are using people’s personal data for advertising, this has a lot of consumers worried and demanding change. One of those changes is the European Union General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This new law is replacing the 1995 European Data Protection Directive. GDPR aims to bring all the EU member states under one umbrella by enforcing a single data protection law. It’s not just European marketers that must be compliant but any company that deals with data of European residents. GDPR is intended to put guidelines and regulations on how data is processed, used, stored or exchanged.

Under GDPR, companies that collect third-party data are required to revamp their processes for collecting personal information, and consumers are allowed to opt out. Marketers are increasingly focusing on first-party data practices that ask consumers to explicitly fork over their own information—think email signups, mobile app downloads, and comments. The new GDPR legislation can be broken down into 3 stages of compliance: Data Collection, Data Storage, and Ending the Relationship.

Data Collection

One of the important purposes of the GDPR was to create more transparency between the organizations that collect and control data, and the people whose data is collected. This means that organizations that attract people and want to collect data needed to clearly communicate what the data is used for in plain English. The individual must first give their clear consent to collect data and also be told about their rights to withdraw consent.

Additionally, organizations can only collect the minimum amount of data to meet the intended purpose. For example, if a website wants to collect data to turn visitors into leads, they can only collect the minimum information that is adequate and relevant to achieve this purpose of collection. Anything unnecessary or excessive will constitute a breach.

Data Storage

Organizations can only collect and store the data that was provided with explicit consent.  for the specified purposes. If they plan to transfer or share the data with another company, they need to ensure they have consent from the person before the information can be shared.

Furthermore, companies must ensure they have adequate security systems to store the data. Protecting it from loss, alteration, access; going as far as using pseudonymization or anonymization to protect the data. Users are now able to ask companies at any time to correct, update, or remove their data.

End of the Relationship

Finally, once a relationship has reached its end, organizations must have a clear data retention policy in place which outlines how long they will retain that individual’s information, keeping in mind there are laws or regulations that require the data to be held for specific periods. Users are able to request the deletion of their data at any time and the organization must comply with the request. Not only deleting the data from their own systems, but also any downward vendors’ systems who are processing the data.

Conclusion

As marketers, we should look at GDPR as an opportunity to rebuild consumer trust, these new industry regulations should not impede our progress. For advisors, this means ensuring that every member on the list has opted-in and is ready to engage. This will reset the balance between brand and audience by giving consumers more control, directing technology to be employed for more noble uses and compelling marketers to interact with consumers in more meaningful ways that create positive sentiment and ultimately restore trust. We strongly believe that enterprise marketers and advisors should be made aware of these changes, and to work together in to better communicate with their European contacts. After all, trust is what marketing should be about.

Four Advisor Personas Enterprise Marketers Need to Be Aware Of

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As an enterprise, when you think about all the advisors that have an online presence and using Digital Agent, their online efforts probably vary drastically.  Some sign in multiple times a week and some probably sign in a few times a year. Ultimately, enterprise teams want to see 100% of advisors leveraging Digital Agent and the marketing tools they provide to its full capabilities. In order to educate and truly understand the habits and characteristics of advisors, we wanted to define the four advisor personas. These personas take advisors through a process of full adoption starting with frequent users to fully active users. Let’s take a look at each of the personas:

1.Online Business Card Website (rarely make updates, no blog)

These advisors have a website but it is a fairly basic website.  These websites have only a few pages that outline the basics such as About, Contact, Product, Services, etc.

Habits and characteristics of an online business card website advisor:

  • Takes a long time to make changes. Wants everything to be perfect before it goes live
  • Does not make updates very often, a few times a year
  • Does not have a blog
  • When they do want to make a change or an update, they will often leverage the Digital Agent service team to help them
  • Does not take time to learn digital marketing or how to leverage Digital Agent better

2. Website Only (make updates but does not blog)

This group of advisors have a website and make frequent updates to it but do not have a blog. They like to update their website but feel they don’t have the time for maintaining and creating content for a blog.    

Habits and characteristics of a website only advisor:

  • Makes updates to their website
  • Leverages the service team to learn about digital marketing and Digital Agent
  • Does not see the value in having a blog
  • Curious about the basics of digital marketing and how they can get more traffic to their website

3.Passive advisor

A passive advisor is defined as an advisor who has a website that they update frequently and they also have a blog that they update 1-2 times a month. While they understand the value of having a blog, they have a hard time making it a priority in their day to day activities.

Habits and characteristics of a passive advisor:

  • Regularly makes updates to their websites
  • Adds content to their blog at least once a month
  • New blog content could be either original content written by the advisor or content created by the enterprise
  • Interested in learning digital marketing strategies and how they can apply to their website
  • Leverages the Digital Agent service team to learn and improve their website and blog

4.Active Advisor

Have 100% of advisors who are actively using Digital Agent is every enterprise’s goal. By leveraging the full capabilities of Digital Agent advisors will see results from their efforts. So what defines an active advisor? An active Digital Agent advisor is someone who regularly updates their websites and has a blog that new articles are posted to at least 5 times a month.

Habits and characteristics of an active advisor:

  • Regularly signs in makes updates and adds new blog content
  • Leverages the resources provided to them to increase their digital marketing knowledge and knowledge of Digital Agent
  • Treats their website as an important part of their overall personal branding and marketing strategy
  • Sets aside time on a consistent basis to improve and create content

By understanding these four personas and knowing which advisors fall into which categories, financial marketers can be better equipped to educate and train on the value of digital marketing and Digital Agent. When they have a better understanding of advisors can start to move towards the next personal level with more activity.

 

4 Keys to Building A Solid Advisor Transformation Program

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Customer expectations are evolving as rapidly as technology. Because of this constant evolution, brands need to adapt how they interact with their customers. Financial organizations are turning to their advisors as an additional marketing channel. However, to adopt this sort of marketing strategy requires implementation of new technologies and processes. This is why it is important for any organizations to be agile in order to get behind these evolving strategies and to implement transformational programs.

If you have decided to take the next step and implement an advisor marketing program, we want to provide you with 4 keys to building a solid advisor transformation program. The 4 keys are: connecting strategy to transformation, get adoption in check, positioning for growth, and check your vendor surroundings. Let’s dive in…

Connecting Strategy to Transformation

If you are looking to improve your advisor marketing because you want to use a platform with name recognition or to try a different platform, you may be setting yourself up for failure. To properly implement a transformational program, it needs to be closely linked to the organizational strategy. To ensure the transformation and strategy are connected, these are some questions you will want to ask:

  •      What does the end look like?

○    Can you visualize what your programs will look like after achieving full transformation? If you cannot visualize it, you probably haven’t connected the transformation to the strategy.

  •      Is there a clear link between the transformation and a tangible business objective?

○    Regardless of what the objective may be, if the transformation is not tied to that objective, it will be difficult to apply tactics to reach that goal.

  •      Do you have a decision-making framework?

○    Having a proper framework will help you stay agile and determine when to take on new initiatives.

For example, these are some of the key questions we use at Veriday when working with our clients to help establish a decision-making framework.

Get Adoption in Check

After you have implemented your transformational strategy that will accommodate new initiatives, it is important to understand adoption. Look to document the most important user actions that equate to a business value. Whether it’s a single action or a process, the purpose it to equate “Action A” to “Business Value Y”.

After creating this adoption checklist of the important user actions, ensuring that these actions can be measures is crucial as it enables the program success to be quantified and keep the checklist simple. Furthermore, the list of user actions should be kept small. Don’t go overboard – only keep a list of 3 to 5 actions. In keeping the list small, it will result in a greater ability to measure the actions. In keeping this checklist to monitor adoption overtime, it is important to measure at an established frequency and consistency. If the list becomes too large, the frequency will suffer.

In the simplest terms, here is how we may measure adoption and their impact on the business.

  •      Advisor wrote a blog post = 70% traffic increase in organic traffic
  •      Reviewed a piece of content = 10% increase in review times
  •      Create a new lead form = 60% forms are lead-based
  •      Size of their email list = 50-60% open rates

Positioning for Growth

The goal of implementing any new program regardless of industry or department is business growth. To ensure your organization is lined up to grow after the transformational program, these of some key question to ask.

  •      How many different departments or groups are aware of your advisor marketing program?
  •      How many different departments or groups participate in your advisor marketing program?
  •      Are the conversations meaningful?

Check Your Vendor Surroundings

The fourth and final key to building a solid advisor transformation program is examining your vendor options. Take the time to critically examine your vendor ecosystem and what their strategic fit is within various marketing areas. Some questions you will want to ask about your current, as well as future vendors are:

  •      Do your technology vendors have a roadmap?

○      Have they seen your organization’s roadmap?

  •      Have they shown you their roadmap?
  •      Have they aligned their roadmap to yours?
  •      Are your vendors adaptable to changes?

As you start to implement a transformational program, the adoption and success of the program remain unknown. Only until it’s in the wild, will you know how it will be received by customers. For this reason, it is important that your vendors are agile to these changes.