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Orion Wants to Be a Marketing Star

In a nod to its star-like corporate logo, Orion Advisor Services has launched a marketing service called Market*r, based on its Advizr planning tool.

Following last summer’s tech buying spree, Orion Advisor Services is putting the pieces together in ways that may make them more than the sum of their parts. The firm has used its acquired Advizr financial planning tool to build and launch an automated marketing service for advisors called Market*r. It was unveiled last week.

The tool uses Advizr’s planning technology as a lead generator to bring new clients to advisors using the Orion platform or to boost client engagement for advisors who aren’t currently focused on prospecting.

When Orion bought financial planning developer Advizr, the acquisition fit a larger trend of tech platforms bolting on financial planning capabilities. Earlier in the year, Envestnet announced plans to buy MoneyGuidePro’s parent company, PIEtech, and the firm had revealed a joint venture called Apprise Labs that’s since produced a legacy and estate planning toolkit led by eMoney Advisor founder Edmond Walters. Since then, Morningstar also made a financial planning play, with its acquisition of planning and risk metrics firm PlanPlus Global.

Market*r works with either an advisor-uploaded list of clients and/or leads, as well as with third-party prospecting firms like marketing firm InfoUSA, said Kelly Waltrich, chief marketing officer at Orion. From there, advisors choose a financial planning module around which they can build a marketing campaign. Calls to action are specific for each campaign, she noted.

The lead enters the marketing funnel by completing a set of financial planning–related questions, undergirded by Advizr technology, and upon completion is passed off to the advisor who deployed the campaign. Once connected with an advisor, the information inputted by a client can be used by the advisor to build an investment proposal and full financial plan.

“Other platforms leave users with few options for actionable lead capture; limit their opportunities for personalization, and often, provide generic messaging that is commonly overused in the industry,” added Waltrich in a statement. “What’s more is that they fail to make the necessary connection from marketing engagement to planning action.”

For their part, advisors using the service should be ready to react quickly to incoming leads—ideally less than 60 minutes after they come in, said Waltrich, who runs a 40-person marketing team at Orion. “The opportunity cost to wait is just too high,” she added. Advisors who do wait risk losing the hard-earned opening they’ve spent money to generate.

Pricing depends on the depth of service required by an advisor. On the low end, $150 per month will buy marketing assets that can be deployed with the advisor’s own tools. For those wanting a broader package, including strategy and plan development assistance, deployment technology and assets, fees will run at $600 per month. A third option, priced at $350 per month, exists for advisors who want the campaign deployment technology and assets but who don’t need the consultative services. All Market*r packages come with a $300 one-time initiation fee.

The biggest component of running marketing campaigns, said Waltrich, is personalized messaging. “Advisors are going to realize more and more that it’s worth the investment” to tell a unique story, she explained. While acknowledging that the marketing process can’t be entirely automated, a task many advisors find notoriously difficult, Orion is hoping to make it at least easier.

Besides lending Orion a leg up with its financial planning, and the recently launched marketing capabilities, Advizr is continuing to contribute under new ownership. Advizr tech will eventually lead to a significant remodeling—if not outright replacement—of the Orion client portal, said Waltrich. “It’s a more modern experience,” she explained, but did not reveal a date for that new development.

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