Wealth Management Marketing's Blog: Presented by Kristen Luke

Notes from the T3 Conference

Posted in General, Networking, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Tools by Kristen Luke on February 21, 2010

This past week I attended the 2010 “T3″ Technology Tools for Today Conference in San Diego.  Since it was my first time in attendance, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had decided to attend the conference since it was being held 20 minutes from my home and I wanted to meet many of the advisors and service providers that I had been conversing with on Twitter over the past few months.

The conference provided wonderful educational sessions, great opportunities for networking and plenty of time to speak with vendors in the exhibit hall.  Though my expertise is not necessarily technology, I thought I’d share with you a few common themes I saw throughout the conference from my own marketing perspective.

A CRM is a Must!

A number of presentations focused on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.  The consensus is that a CRM is not a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have for any business, yet many advisors still don’t have a CRM in place (and by the way Microsoft Outlook is not a CRM).  From my personal marketing perspective, I agree that having a CRM is critical.  It can help you streamline your client communication, segment contacts for specific campaigns and track results from your marketing efforts.  The main CRM vendors that I heard mentioned throughout the conference were Redtail, Junxure, Smarsh, ProTracker and AppCrown (SalesForce).

You Can’t Ignore Social Media

There were two presentations about social media during the conference.  The first was presented by Hadley Stern from Fidelity where he discussed how they are using social media to communicate with their customers.  My favorite point from him was that Fidelity doesn’t ignore customer emails, so they had no reason to ignore customer comments on Twitter and Facebook.

The second presentation was a panel discussion which included Marie Swift, Rick Kahler, CFP® and Deborah Fox.   The panelists all agreed that an effective social media strategy starts with a good website at the core.  In contrast, the panelist each had different thoughts about blogging.  Some felt that blogging required a minimum commitment of two posts per week, while others felt once a week was sufficient.  There were also split feelings about whether using a copy writer to ghost write a blog is acceptable.  My favorite point from this presentation was that there is NO right or wrong strategy for social media, it is just important that there is a clear strategy.  I couldn’t agree more with this final point.

Technology Fails Because it is Under Utilized

Throughout the presentations, there were comments about why technology systems generally fail.  Several reasons were mentioned over the course of the conference.  One reason is that there is no buy-in from both the owners of the firm and the operation staff.  Both groups of people need to be on board and utilize the technology in order for the staff to fully adopt the systems as well.  Another reason is that there is a lack of dedication.  If the staff is not sufficiently trained and fully utilizing the systems, the systems are destined to fail.  Finally, it was stated that technology fails because firms are not clear about what they want to get out of the systems and probably, put nice-to-have above need-to-have features.

Find Out More

The conference covered much more than what I have discussed here including the future of cloud computing and smart phones.  If you want to see more highlights from the conference, visit the Technology Tools for Today™ Annual Conference blog at http://t3conference.blogspot.com/ or read what people are tweeting using the hashtag #t3show.

Kristen Luke is the Principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for financial advisors. Kristen works with independent advisors to develop effective marketing plans and provides the back office support required to implement the strategies. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net.

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8 Responses

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  1. Curtis said, on February 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Great post Kristen. One of the key take aways: Better jump on the “cloud”, or your firm will be left behind in a mere five years. This was a huge revelation.

  2. kristenluke said, on February 21, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks Curtis for your addition. I missed some of the cloud computing sessions so thank you for bringing that to our attention as well.

  3. Adam said, on February 22, 2010 at 6:23 am

    On the topic of using a copy writer or ghost writer for your blog posts, how can you really convey your authentic tone and passion. This is one of the points that Gary Vanderchuck makes in his book. People will know inherently what is authentic and what is not.

    On the point of CRM, I can share a lesson learned. Be careful going with a custom built in-house system or a vendor that does not have scale. My Institutional Sales dept went custom built over Salesforce.com. Why? Because they felt their requirements were so unique. Now, they are left with a platform with a very slow strategy roadmap in comparison to a product like Salesforce.com that is constantly improving. Take for example the automated integration Salesforce.com has with a metrics package like Omniture.

    Thanks for sharing Kristen!

  4. Russ Thornton said, on February 22, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for the summary and all of your twitter updates during the conference. This is great for those of us that couldn’t be there.

    Hope you had a nice Birthday weekend, too!

  5. Don Davidson said, on February 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Hi Kristen,
    As far as CRM, I’m a big fan of Highrise from 37 Signals.

    I agree 1000% with you that firms cannot ignore social media but my big concern that firms will latch onto specific social media brands (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) without fully understanding how to utilize the tools to listen to their community/clients/prospects.

    I think Ustream is a social media platform you will see more firms starting to use for those with the chops for video. I’m working with an independent RIA who will begin using it in the next couple of weeks after I get everything worked out with FINRA.

  6. Matt Peterson said, on February 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Well stated Kristen. It was nice to meet you. Hope you had a great Birthday!

  7. Rich and Co said, on February 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you for you summary and tweeting from the conference.

    Our experience with mid-to-large RIA and TPA clients:
    – They are NOT marketers or tech oriented. Nor will they ever be to the same level they are excellent with clients and investments. They are good when they have to convince a pre-qualified prospect or referral source. As the complexity and demands of the business increase, this will accelerate. The best businesses always outsource high-level marketing and tech skills.
    – They do not have the people, money or interest in marketing tech to do a good job. Handling it badly can hurt a firm and individual’s reputation severely. Especially now with social media. It’s way too fast moving and complex for them to really do effectively in-house. Not sure what the answer is here because it’s expensive to out-source. Caution: the best marketing strategy and execution can all be for nought, if their CRM/social media and tech follow-up tools are poorly configured or maintained. It’s a 24/7 job. We focus on it for a living, we’re trained in marketing and sales knowledge, have braod and deep experience from many years and are very good at it – it’s still a 24/7 challenge for us. Fortunately, we love what we do – like our clients!

    We have seen advisors, and firms, take a DIY yourself approach to client/marketing tech, social media and marketing and cripple their reputations. Maybe we just see the mistakes more than most.

    The question about “authentic” could be a whole post and is an emotional issue for some. However, is a portfolio using outside managers inauthentic? Same thing.

  8. Marie Swift said, on February 25, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the conference recap, Kristen. It was nice meeting you in person. And thanks for attending the Webinars and Blogging session – it’s always fun for me to co-present with Rick Kahler and Deborah Fox.


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