Notes from the T3 Conference
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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