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Max Heppleston

Wealth & Investment Management Marketing - Why you should hire from outside your sector

Max Heppleston discusses the benefits of thinking outside of the box when hiring in Wealth & Investment Management marketing.

Wealth & Investment Management is a notoriously incestuous sector.  You usually need to have prior experience working at a Wealth Manager or Investment Manager to get hired at one!

Now if this seems like a catch 22, that’s because it often is.  But what many firms fail to realize is that by following this tradition you are massively limiting your potential talent pool. 

Digital marketing in this sector is without a doubt, behind the rest of the world, with some funds only having a 1-page website and no social media presence.  It may have come leaps and bounds from where we started, but we still have a long way to go.

This is where hiring across sectors can help.  Client expectations are not only set by their experiences with financial sites.  The bar is being set by the Amazons and Googles of the world.  With the shortage of digital skills in the Wealth & Investment Management sector, bringing in external talent is a great way for firms to catch up.

Marketing is a skill that can transcend sectors.  You can learn a new product and target audience, but at the end of the day you are marketing to people. A good marketer can do this and is worth more than their weight in gold.  While operating in different industries, a skilled marketer uses the same toolbox and focus: acquisition, retention, planning and analysis.

The benefits of hiring outside the sector far outweigh the con of having to learn a new demographic or product set.  These marketers have a wealth of transferable skills and bring a fresh perspective. One of the best examples I can think of for this is Fisher Investments.  They have built a high-performing digital team by hiring outside of the Wealth Management sector and focusing purely on the marketer’s skills. This strategy has worked very well for them.

I also spoke with Ryan Bolton, who built the US Digital Marketing team at Allianz Global Investors by hiring outside of the industry.  “The digital talent pool is more limited within our industry.  If you are not able to hire away from a competitor, I would rather hire someone with a cutting edge skillset, that gets ‘digital’ who has to learn our business than someone who knows our market but needs to be taught the digital techniques they need for success.”

Marketers from another sector will think outside of the financial services box and bring fresh ideas to the table.  If you are looking to hire someone to bring in new skills and ideas to your team, why keep hiring a carbon copy of your last marketer, which was a copy of the one you had before, and so on…

External talent can also have a multiplier effect by teaching your current team some new best practices.   This is a benefit you can tap without having to make a permanent hire, if that isn’t an option.  You can bring in a contractor/consultant to share the latest digital strategies or add a new, specialized skillset, without fully committing. 

Beyond looking only within the industry, another way managers can miss out on strong digital candidates is by being too stringent regarding years of work experience.  Given the velocity of change in digital marketing, you cannot use length of experience as a benchmark for skills.  Some of the better marketers will be younger, digital natives who have only worked at small, young companies that were born in the digital era.

The Wealth & Investment Management industry is changing quickly.  Your customers are expecting the same level of service and access from you as they get from the best companies in other sectors.  This is why investors are moving away from the traditional giants and towards the so called “challengers” or “disruptors”.  With this pressing need to play catch up with digital capabilities, it would be a mistake to not consider people from outside the industry when hiring.

Max Heppleston leads our Investment Management & Wealth Marketing, Sales & Distribution recruitment practice and can be reached at mheppleston@lawsonchase.com 

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