There are still firms in the financial industry that are barely dipping their toe into the digital space. The notion that engaging in digital is an option and not a necessity today is dangerous. Whether we recognize it or not, we’re all in the digital business and we live in a digital world. In fact, even though the majority of our own staff has “digital roles” we don’t refer to ourselves as a “digital agency”. But it remains intimidating and even seems unattainable for many.
Fire was a new technology a few hundred thousand years ago, and I bet even then some feared it and avoided learning how to wield it. But as those who harnessed fire started to build communities and cities, those who couldn’t use fire were left as struggling nomads while the world progressed around them.
Flashback to 2023, and here’s what is standing in the way of financial advisories finding success in digital.
- Too ambitious. New digital platforms can be tricky which is why we’re big believers in starting with a small, manageable playbook.
- Unrealistic timelines. Data gathering can be quicker than you think but learning from it and getting usable data takes time. So, use benchmarks to measure real progress.
- More work than you anticipated. Anything new requires time and attention. Creating successful digital platforms is no exception.
- Haven’t found the right firm to help them. There are many firms that can offer “digital help” … but finding the right one for you could be tricky.
- Trying to do it yourself. Unless you have made a significant investment in hiring and training a digital team, DIY will likely not produce the results you expected.
Because of these challenges, organizations decide that it’s easier to participate only marginally, or just go through the motions. Jumping back a thousand years, I bet there were cavemen who thought building a fire was too difficult and just decided to wear thicker pelts, spend more time in their caves during the winter, and eat more raw meat. They might have even known fire existed but didn’t fully “embrace the technology”. These cavemen missed out on the benefits of society such as education, literacy, political and economic success, overall increased quality of life, and a spot in the history books that their fire-wielding counterparts claimed.
It’s not so different from the digital transformation we’re seeing today! Those who embrace the digital landscape now will have a greater claim to success as the financial industry slowly realizes the opportunities digital marketing provides.
The advisory firms and institutions that recognize and adapt to the world around them by learning how to adapt are winning. Those same firms aren’t necessarily looking at “transforming”, rather they simply see the playing field that we all share as something that requires constant resiliency for them to stay ahead. They know that resiliency is a requirement in everything they do. And while they win, many of their competitors just watch.
Think about the fate of the fire-makers versus those who watched. It may have taken a long time to get the hang of building a fire… but those who figured out how to spark that fire thrived, while those who didn’t struggled to survive.