June 2018 – The Perils of Homogeneity: Advisor Site Affinity Marketing Materials

Advisors know the importance of building strong client relationships and offering personalized advice. In addition to considering individual clients’ needs, some advisors may wish to contextualize their approach by considering demographics. Marketing materials that address African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, women, members of the LGBTQ community, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, Millennials, small business owners and high net worth clients can provide specific details and recommendations, supporting advisors in thoughtfully managing these audiences’ wealth. These materials must include reminders to approach each customer as an individual, as they otherwise risk encouraging lazy stereotypes in place of genuine relationship building. In this report, we review the affinity marketing materials provided on firms’ advisors sites, noting the audiences they address and highlighting examples.

Firms offer brochures, flyers and guides with research about groups’ average financial needs and priorities. Most firms address women and many address small business owners, with fewer targeting groups such as African Americans and high net worth clients. The bulk of resources refrain from recommending specific products and instead stress the importance of financial planning and meeting with an advisor. When grounded in research and accompanied by thoughtful context, these resources can equip advisors to consider customers’ needs respectfully. In contrast, firms that publish unsubstantiated claims and distasteful stereotypes risk their reputations and disrespect their customers. To lead the industry, firms must take care to publish only well-crafted resources and build a staff of advisors who can connect with clients on a genuine individual level.

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