Since the NY Times now knows…

When we first started talking about the idea that would grow into Boulevard R in June of 2005, we saw ourselves as a consumer facing site.  We recognized that the majority of Americans didn’t have access to affordable, independent advice and set out to fix that.

We’ve now come to the realization that we can’t do this alone.  We need to partner with others to help us realize our mission of delivering unbiased, actionable advice.  The answer was right under our noses: independent financial planners who act as fiduciaries and in the best interests of their clients.  Many independent planners and advisors recognize that their industry has a moral imperative to serve all Americans, but their business models typically either force them to serve only the wealthy or work on an hourly basis at $100-$250/hour, which still leaves a lot of folks without access to advice.

What I told the reporter from the NY Times who called this afternoon and what will be announced in a Morningstar article that comes out next Thursday is that Boulevard R is shifting business models.  We’re moving from B2C to B2B by providing independent planners and advisors with an Advisor Branded Marketing Platform that will be white-labeled for them.

Our goal is to help advisors bring in more prospects, especially since Americans are demanding more independent advice in the wake of the financial crisis, as well as be able to engage all those who are not yet qualified to become prospects and be able to serve them once they do reach the advisor’s minimum limit.

In essence, we want to help independents automate a lot of their marketing efforts through leveraging existing clients and prospects with online tools, as well as providing them ways to target prospects through online search, online advertising and collateral designed to attract consumers to their profile page.  What Boulevard R gets in return is to realize our mission of serving all Americans by having advisors and planners distribute what we’ve created.  Win-win.

Of course, all existing users will still be able to log into their Dashboard and get value from it as we continue to add content and evolve the platform.

So check back here next Thursday and you’ll see a new homepage and a much more detailed explanation of Boulevard R’s new direction.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2008 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    It’s not clear to me how the B2B model and the Advisor Branded Marketing Platform will help more consumers obtain affordable, independent advice. It’s one thing to provide a referral network to direct prospects to advisers, but it’s a completely different task for an adviser to deliver financial planning services to clients profitably.

    I’ll stay tuned as perhaps my questions will be answered in the upcoming Morningstar article.

  2. admin
    Posted December 12, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Bill, the B2B model, white labeled for advisors, will allow planners to more effectively help every prospect by either providing them with an evaluation of whether they’re on track, a Starter Roadmap and a Dashboard if they’re not qualified or if the prospect is qualfieid, they’ll get a Starter Roadmap and hopefully a new independent financial advisor.

    Don’t think of this as a referral network, because it’s not.

    Since everything in the workflow is automated (Goals Module, Starter Roadmap and Dashboard) there is no need for the planner to actually deliver any financial planning services. They basically flip the switch and use the platform as a way to qualify prospects. Even if the prospect decides not to work with the advisor, at least they’ll have gotten an introduction to the value of planning and can opt for the Dashboard where they’ll get step-by-step expert guidance on achieving their goals.

    In addition, one of the key value propositions that Michael Kitces pointed out is that besides the advisor getting a new source of highly qualified leads (via prospect referrals, Google searches, AdWords, follow up emails from seminars, traffic from their firm’s site from prospects interested in a complimentary Starter Roadmap, etc.) that they can keep the non-qualified prospects engaged with drip emails and useful content on the Dashboard, while tracking them over time until they become qualified. This way the consumer gets something of significant value for free and the advisor never alienates the consumer by having to say, “Sorry, you don’t have enough money for me to be able to help you.”

    Essentially, it’s the ability for the advisor to put their marketing efforts on autopilot and have their prospects do their marketing for them. I’d be happy to give you a demo. We’re also relaunching our site next week and it should provide a lot more detail on how we plan to help independent advisors help all Americans.

  3. Posted January 1, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    I just read David Drucker’s coverage of Boulevard R in Morningstar Advisor.

    It’s great to see such positive coverage and I hope 2009 brings lots of success to the business.

    All the best,
    Bill

  4. Posted January 21, 2009 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I have just taken a quick look at what you offer and think it is right on for the consumer and the advisor. Financial advisor marketing is in its infancy compared to the evolution in other fields BoulevardR pushes the evolution positively forward.

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