Reimaging client and advisor communications.
Oppenheimer serves up personalized financial information to clients at scale with Adobe Marketo Engage.
Leverage data to deliver personalized communications at scale
Maintain compliance with industry and government regulations
Promote digital communications with clients to reduce printing, shipping, and labor costs
Send personalized communications to clients faster with self-service portal
Saves millions of dollars annually in printing, postage, and labor costs while supporting environmental initiatives
Reduces compliance risk with standard, pre-approved email library
Gains insight into effective communications with fast reporting for advisors and bankers
Financial relationships are built on trust. This is particularly true for the relationships advisors develop as they help clients plan for some of life’s biggest milestones from starting a family, becoming an entrepreneur, to funding retirement. Multinational full-service brokerage and investment bank Oppenheimer goes a step further. It believes that nothing should get between advisors and clients — even the firm itself.
“Every client is unique, so they all need individual solutions,” explains Paulo Belli, Director of Corporate Marketing at Oppenheimer. “We believe in empowering advisors to be in charge of their client communications. Rather than pushing to recommend certain products or services, we trust advisors to do what’s best for their clients.”
The firm’s commitment to offering more personalized, high-touch services sets Oppenheimer apart from competitors, but it also requires a lot of tailored communications. This is complicated by government and industry regulations, such as FINRA and the SEC, that demand visibility and auditability for any financial communications.
Oppenheimer determined that it needed to embrace digital transformation and automation to deliver personalized communications to clients at scale. Optimizing digital communications could also have a strong impact on keeping advisors engaged with important financial trends and recruiting top advisors to the Oppenheimer team.
“Marketo Engage improves productivity and efficiency for everyone — advisors, designers, and compliance.”
Director, Corporate Marketing, Oppenheimer
“Attracting and keeping the best advisors is equally important to our business,” explains Belli. “The ability to create personalized experiences for our prospects, measure the success of advisor recruiting campaigns, and delivering accurate reports to branch managers is crucial to helping Oppenheimer develop successful recruiting campaigns and establish new hire goals.”
The firm explored several marketing automation tools. In the end, Adobe was the only vendor willing and able to partner with the Oppenheimer team to meet the company’s unique technology and compliance needs that require all communications to be stored on-premise on the company’s proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) system. The flexibility of Adobe Marketo Engage enabled the team to integrate the marketing automation platform with its proprietary CRM, maintain compliant messaging, and ensure communications and campaigns engage audiences effectively.
“We have specific compliance requirements and messaging goals. Adobe clearly understood what we needed and worked with us to provide a solution that addresses our goals,” says Belli.
Self-service personalized communications
Advisors have always aimed to send the most relevant and tailored information to clients, but the previous process for delivering communications was very manual. Advisors were required to submit draft emails or letters through a rigorous internal compliance process.
Now, they have access to a dashboard of pre-approved, compliant emails, ready for delivery. Advisors simply select recipients and an email template, and with a few clicks, emails are sent — no need to wait for compliance approvals. Tokens pull client information from the integrated CRM for even more personalized messaging. Not only is the process much easier and efficient for advisors, it also reduces compliance risk as advisors can no longer make unauthorized changes to approved emails before sending them.
“We have a small in-house marketing team of just 12 people,” says Belli. “Marketo Engage improves productivity and efficiency for everyone — advisors, designers, and compliance.”
“With the collaboration of Adobe and our team, we delivered a personalized, scalable capability that empowers our front-line producers...Since we sit at the intersection of data, content, and digital delivery, we are able to learn and continuously improve while saving our front-line time to focus on their in-person experiences.”
With 41.5% of customers currently signed up for digital communications, Oppenheimer also relies on the more automated environment to deliver important regulatory documentation. This proved to be crucial in helping the company deliver required SEC Regulatory Best Interest disclosures just as COVID-19 triggered lockdowns across the U.S. The firm originally planned to mail large books of printed material to each client — a process that would have been very costly while also requiring hours of manual labor. The pandemic threatened to cause delays that would raise costs even further. Embracing digital allowed Oppenheimer to send the regulatory documents to more than 33,000 clients through email. The switch to digital saves approximately $50,000 per communication in printing, postage, and labor costs — adding up to millions in savings per year while supporting the company’s important environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.
“With the collaboration of Adobe and our team, we delivered a personalized, scalable capability that empowers our front-line producers to communicate relevant content effectively during a critical time. Since we sit at the intersection of data, content, and digital delivery, we are able to learn and continuously improve while saving our front-line time to focus on their in-person experiences,” explains Oppenheimer CMO Joan Khoury.
Creating more effective messaging
Building on its early success, Oppenheimer has expanded marketing automation beyond customer communications. Internal newsletters keep advisors abreast of news and changes in the market. The recruiting team is also using marketing automation to more easily connect with new, prospective advisors, whether through regular industry newsletters or events. Between targeting and automation, the team has reduced advisor recruitment campaign costs by 400% per prospect.
Reporting has also been a game changer for recruiters, advisors, and marketing managers. Branch managers can track campaigns to check for engagement from local recruits. Advisors and marketing managers use reporting to check whether their communications are effective and help determine how to refine messages to improve engagement.
“The success of Marketo Engage at Oppenheimer shows the company how digital transformation can champion better customer relationships while improving internal efficiencies.”
Director, Corporate Marketing, Oppenheimer
A catalyst for digital transformation
Marketing automation has encouraged a culture change at Oppenheimer. Having realized cost and time savings and gained the ability to communicate with customers faster and more effectively, teams around the world have opened up to the possibilities of digitization and innovation.
“The success of Marketo Engage at Oppenheimer shows the company how digital transformation can champion better customer relationships while improving internal efficiencies,” says Belli. “We’re discovering how a 140-year-old institution can bring a long history of customer-centric financial advice into the digital age.”