Marketing Info

Do women invest more in development than men?

A recent study by Sky Marketing Consultants, conducted in partnership with Informa, shows that female consultants intend to spend more time and money on marketing in 2022 than their male counterparts.

When asked how much time and money the survey participants plan to spend on marketing, the overall results showed that women plan to outsell their male counterparts in both categories:

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The results beg the question: why?

One possible explanation is the fact that the industry is still heavily weighted toward men, giving them an awareness and share-of-voice advantage over their female peers. Depending on the source, estimates of how many women in the financial advisor population range from 31% (Bureau of Labor Statistics) to 23% (CFP Board).

I think the number is likely to be even lower. Most sources narrow the appraisal audience by license type, type of accreditation, or employment status — and if you include the entire population of investment professionals serving investors, as a percentage of the total population. The number of women in the U.S. is likely to be close to 10% to 15%.

Currently, women comprise only 12% baron’s The “Top 100 Advisors” in the United States, and most “best of” lists compiled by national, business and local publications, have a lower proportion of women than men – this is significant, given the many new investors (who are part of the liquidity phenomenon). Use those lists to help them track down experience (or inheritance) to a trusted advisor.

No matter what the source, it is clear that women are still dramatically under-represented in the industry. And it appears they are ready and willing to do something about it.

Non-gender contextual feedback on the same survey highlights another possible explanation for the disparity in investment in marketing between women and men: 61% of money managers believe that marketing is the key to growing their practice, compared to only 8% who believe that sales are more important. But when you remove all women’s responses to that question, it increases the percentage of respondents who believe sales are more important. This could mean that men favor sales tactics to enhance their practices, while women favor a more marketing-heavy approach.

Despite representing a small portion of the consultant population, women consistently represent approximately 50% of SKY Marketing Consultants’ client base. We also see a slight, general difference in the types of requests we receive from men versus women. Anecdotally, we see men ask for more sales pitchbooks, prospecting lists, and event support; While we see women ask for more brochures, website material, newsletters, social media support and the occasional collateral. Although the gender gap may be slight, it means that women in general view marketing as an ongoing activity as opposed to a one-time strategy.

Regardless of the reason for the disparity in marketing investment between men and women, it is clear that the industry needs to continue expanding efforts to hire and support women’s consultants. Fifteen years ago, I think the “we need more female advisors” mantra was referring to leaders in financial services. Now, I would say that we have almost every corporate customer putting money, time and energy into fixing this problem.

With the percentage of wealth controlled by women expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, it is likely that the traditional gender inequality on the investor side is beginning to be balanced. It is up to every successful leader in wealth management, regardless of gender, to have tangible support mechanisms — in the form of marketing, hiring, professional development, and more — to correct the disparity on the advisory side.

Michelle Borkowski is the Creative Director of SKY Marketing Consultants, a boutique marketing agency specializing in wealth management marketing.

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