Advisors in their 20s, 30s and 40s have an opportunity that does not come along even once in a generation. You are competing against advisors in their 50s, 60s, and 70s with little understanding of social media and technology but large AUM.
Today’s 45-year old graduated from college around 1990, when the computer revolution was well under way. He’s computer savvy. In contrast, today’s 55-year-old graduated from college around 1980, before PCs became a household appliance.
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While generalizing means you can, at best, be generally correct, it is fair to say that advisors in their 50s and older generally have weaker technology skills than the next generation. These older advisors have been practicing for 20 or 30 years and have amassed AUM.
However, they often have paid little attention to social media marketing or how to use technology run their practice more efficiently. And, even when they try to change their ways and adopt new technology systems, they often fail because they are unable to change old habits. I see that all the time.
Young advisors in their 30s and 40s have a natural advantage because we live in a time that history is likely to record as a turning point in technological advancement, the period just after the internet was born. In this time of convulsive change, older advisors don’t know how you can appeal to a large part of their customer base by using social media and just being honest.
Also, younger advisors have an easier time adopting new systems because they are unburdened by legacy databases. An advisor who started his or her business in the 1980s or 1990s may still be using Advent Axys for portfolio management or Act! as a CRM, or other desktop programs, for example, and may have a lot of custom fields in his or her database. Converting that data can be a nightmare. So older, successful advisors leave old systems in place.
While older advisors in the past have always been able to direct their staff on key practice management issues, many of the older advisors have neither the time or interest in learning about social media marketing. They may assign social marketing to a young person on staff but it’s unlikely any serious effort will be made to utilize content marketing or spending time learning about newer technology.
In contrast, a younger advisor is more likely to be using modern systems built for the Web, with a standardized SQL database, and platforms with an application program interface for integration. It’s easier for that younger advisor to connect his or her IT stack to other systems and understand how to use social networking.
Point is, the accelerating pace of innovation has placed younger advisors at an advantage. If this applies to you -- whether you are a younger or older advisors -- do something about it.