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[AI Series] AI for Wealth Management Marketing With Jonathan Michael

Jonathan Michael

Jonathan Michael is the Founder and CEO of Wealth I/O, a firm helping independent RIAs capture new clients with AI-powered marketing technology. With over 10 years as a MarTech executive, he has a proven track record of building and growing successful AI and digital marketing companies. 

Jonathan is a keynote speaker and a contributing writer for Entrepreneur Media and StartUs. He also holds the Transformation Entrepreneurship Award for his achievements and impact as a founder.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Jonathan Michael introduces Wealth I/O and how it helps people

  • How Wealth I/O uses AI to help generate leads

  • Jonathan’s journey into the AI space 

  • Wealth I/O’s business model 

  • Who are the ideal clients for Wealth I/O?

  • Jonathan talks about the power of personal development

In this episode…

As the financial industry evolves, clients are becoming more sophisticated and demanding when managing their wealth. Acquiring these clients as an advisor is becoming a challenge. Leveraging AI in your marketing as an RIA can be the missing piece.. 

Jonathan Michael, a tech guru in the financial services world, says that keeping up with the latest technologies positions you to attract and retain clients. One of the fastest-growing tech tools is AI. RIAs that embrace AI are well-positioned to differentiate themselves in a crowded market, attract more leads, and convert them into loyal clients.

In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker sits down with Jonathan Michael, Founder and CEO of Wealth I/O, to discuss AI for wealth management marketing. Jonathan talks about Wealth I/O and how it helps people, how it uses AI to help generate leads, its business model, and ideal clients.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.

Richard Walker 0:16 

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win, and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Today is a special episode in my series on artificial intelligence and today's guest is Jonathan Michael, CEO of Wealth I/O. Some past guests in this AI series have included, Arvo, GovernGPT, YourStake and many more. Today's episode is brought to you by Quik the leader in enterprise forums processing. When your business relies upon processing forms, don't waste your team's valuable time reviewing the forms. Instead, get Quik using our Form Xtract API, simply submit your completed forms and get back clean, context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate. Visit to get started. Now before I introduce today's guest, I want to give a big thank you to Joe Moss of Pro Advisor Suite who introduced us go check out their website at to find great solutions for RIAs. Now Jonathan Michael is the founder and CEO of Wealth I/O, a company with a mission to empower independent RIAs with a full-stack marketing platform powered by generative AI. Jonathan believes that the future belongs to entrepreneurial advisors who use AI to scale faster and serve more households. Jonathan, welcome to The Customer Wins.

Jonathan Michael 1:40 

Thanks for having me, Rich. Appreciate that.

Richard Walker 1:42 

I'm looking forward to talking to you about this whole thing about generative AI. But before I do that, if you haven't heard this podcast before, I talk with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they build and deliver a great customer experience and the challenges to growing their own company. Jonathan, let's understand your business a little better. How does your company help people?

Jonathan Michael 2:02 

Yeah, so we serve independent RIAs, and we are focused on helping them succeed with their marketing efforts. And I think all of us in the wealth management industry, we know the value that a wealth advisor an RIA can bring into a client's life. We know that clients deeply benefit from that, right. Like you look at the advisor investor segment, it's grown from 35 to 47%, in the last 10 years alone. And so there is a real need for solid investment advice. But there's also a tons of offerings out there, like so many different options for clients to choose from. So what our tech does for independent RIAS is that we make it simple and easy enough. And also engaging enough for a prospective client to want to work with an advisor. So we kind of do the messy top-of-the-funnel, prospecting work. And we kind of brand the advisor in a way through simple digital experiences that make it easy for a client or a prospect to want to book an appointment with the adviser and actually show up on an appointment. So that's the tough bit right getting the actual client to show up on the appointment. So that's what our tech does, for the most part on the top of the funnel.

Richard Walker 3:11 

So when you say that, I mean I get it from a funnel standpoint, you're trying to bring in prospects who whittle down and you qualify them and get them to a point of action, like booking a meeting, etc. But when you talk about that top of funnel, are you building websites for your customers? Are you building email campaigns? What is it you're doing?

Jonathan Michael 3:27 

Yeah, great question. We are building these lead magnets, right? So there are engaging digital experiences that help people understand the retirement shortfall through simple quiz like formats. We like to call it a little bit of lead generation. But really, it's lead identification, helping a advisor identify who is a potential client. And it also helps identify lead intent, right? So what is their intent? And how can advice identify them? So what are their needs, wants and desires? And what are their long-term goals. And so when you're able to identify those data points at the top of the funnel, the advisor so much context beyond just a plain name and an email address. And yeah, I want to work with an advisor right. So we try to make the data collection process at the top of the funnel more richer and more context-driven. So the adviser has better information when the prospect shows up on the Zoom appointment. And then when the prospect shows up on the Zoom appointment, we have advisors engagement software, that enables the adviser to get directly into advice. So it becomes conversational and educational. And by the end of that 30-minute zoom call, the client is ready to work with the advisor. So that's kind of what we try to do so really a top-of-the-funnel marketing engine and then we'd like to pass the baton on from there on to the financial planning softwares and the CRMs of the world and whatnot. But the hard part is getting attention providing the at initial, bit so.

Richard Walker 3:52 

And so how are people finding these lead magnets? Are you helping with the advertising? Or is the advisor already doing the advertising?

Jonathan Michael 5:08 

Fantastic question. For the longest time, we were trying to solve for that problem, because as you know, like lead generation is a tough problem to solve in our industry. And you see a lot of matching websites and people launching leads, and then serving them back to advisors and for the longest time, but we were also kind of not the exact same thing, but it was really a DIY kind of software suite malarkey here, all the tools, here's the advice, engagement software, here's a lead magnet here is a digital business card and whatnot. But what people have come to realize is that we've got to get more messy at that adds layer as well and actually helping generate a pipeline of leads and prospects. So what we are doing now is we are actually offering a service and product offering. So we are a SaaS offering Software as a Service, with our product with our marketing product. But we are also offering a service where we will help an advisor connect their Facebook page to Wealth I/O. And we'll help them create these lead magnets using our tech. So we slice up the tech a little bit, and then we help launch ads for them and help generate new leads. So it's still a very new fresh idea. We've just started doing it for a few customers. But we think that by getting our hands a bit more messy, and like in that lead gen pipeline, I think we'll potentially see some success there.

Richard Walker 6:35 

Oh, that's really fantastic. I mean, because I think most advisors, I don't mean this in a negative way. I think they're practitioners of their practice, right? They're specialists, they understand the finance, they understand how to work with their clients, but running the business, that's so many different skill sets. And when you start out as an advisor, like I did, it was like, well, how do we meet people? It's I go to a lot of networking events, I have to shake a lot of hands. And with the digital world, how do we get more people just to take interest in us? So I think that's really fantastic. No, where does the AI play in all of this?

Jonathan Michael 7:09 

Yeah, great question. So when you again, I think for most AI practitioners, and for people who use AI to build AI, the common denominator at the end of those discussions is okay what is your AI being trained on? What is the quality of the data set it's been trained on? Right? What makes our AI a little unique is that as opposed to a generic chat GBT, where you can just generate content in a simple chat box, what we do is we use those data-rich lead magnets at the top of the funnel layer, right? It collects at least 20, 25 different data points for us, right? What we then do is we layer on top of our AI engine, and then we help the advisors generate highly, super personalized emails that would otherwise take them 30, 45 minutes to generate. So those 20, 30 different data points can be sliced up into email campaigns for a year or six months. Right. Now, we don't send out those email campaigns yet, but we do have just helped generate a copy for it. So the next bit for us is to actually also help generate those email campaigns using AI. So we're going to help them create images, and copy at scale. So imagine like an AI newsletter, that's kind of what we want to build, right? But right now what we do is we have with our copilot feature, we have a feature called copilot that lets an advisor engage and essentially help generate a lot of hyper-personalized content. So the copilot feature specifically, is all centered around that prospect. So you can write a follow-up email for that prospect, you can write a debt stacking plan for that prospect, you can write an account opening sales script for that prospect. Anything centered around that prospect, you can generate new content to engage with them. Apart from copilot, we have a feature called Advisor X AI, and Advisor X AI is a hyper-personalized content creator, right so it knows your firm's ideal clientele. It knows what your licenses are, what your core offerings are, what you specialize in. And so it takes all those different parameters and kind of like sends it off to our model and helps generate more personalized content that's in the style of your brand and style of your firm. And it just feels more like your content, as opposed to generic content.

Richard Walker 9:41 

So I mean, I'm working with my wife on her business, which is a weight loss clinic called Dr. Weigh Less. And one of the things we're finding as we're starting to get traction as people enter the funnel and some convert, what about the ones that don't? What if they don't convert right away, but they could. And so how do you keep an email stream going with them and how do you keep it personal If you're solving that, right, you're helping the adviser. I mean, it's expensive to attract people into the funnel. And if you can actually get more out of the funnel, because you have better personalized emails going to them, I think that's just amazing that you're doing that. Let me ask you a different question, then. How hard is this to set up? And is it accessible to a solo advisor? Or do you have to be a firm with 200 reps?

Jonathan Michael 10:21 

No. If you're a sole advisor, you can sign up if you are a larger RIA firm and you want an enterprise deal, we can work that out for you. But it's very easy to onboard on Wealth I/O. It's like really a few onboarding screens, you upload a profile picture, you add your Calendly link, or your appointment scheduling link. And bam, like all the products get automatically set up for you. And it's a very simple, easy setup process. We worked a lot on the user experience and making sure it's a very frictionless onboarding experience. So yeah.

Richard Walker 10:56 

Nice. So Jonathan, what got you into AI? And when did you start really learning about AI?

Jonathan Michael 11:02 

Almost three years ago, I think, if I'm not mistaken, a little under three years ago, but a year and a half before this chatGPT craze came around, maybe some might say right on time, I guess. Because I had the chance to really understand the basics of AI and what makes it special. So it just started out of curiosity. As I told you before, I'm a non-technical SAS founder, I'm not the typical technical SAS founder. And so I had a lot of learning curves. And I had to really learn a lot really fast. And so I picked up on AI because it would break my brain learning about it, and trying to understand what the heck it meant, or machine learning or regression models and classification models and all these different words, right, and terminologies. So I started learning about a way before we even had an AI vision, simply because I knew that if I stretch my mind on this frontier technology is probably going to help me understand more things I need to understand in the tech space. And it actually did. So yeah, it's been it's been absolutely awesome, though, going on this learning journey. deeply rewarding for sure.

Richard Walker 12:17 

Being a technologist really has two sides, in my opinion, yeah, there's the side where you understand it so well, that you build it, and you code it. But there's another side, which is a thirst for knowledge, a curiosity that's insatiable, that you have to understand how things work. I noticed that you got certifications, did they help you?

Jonathan Michael 12:36 

It helped me I think Andrew Ng is Coarse AI for everyone was the first AI Coarse I did. It kind of laid out the basics between, you know, AI, what makes AI different from machine learning is a subset of AI. So people, a lot of people don't know that actually. So generative AI and the even the, the entire field of AI was actually first started in 1956. So when you think of that, like the school of thought, began way, way, way, back in 1956. And it's just now that we're seeing an inflection in AI because of compute. And so those are things that I learned about, because when you think of the word artificial intelligence today, you ask the average person that everyone assumes that it's a super new age concept. It's something that we just thought off like five years ago or two years ago, but that's not the case. And so going through courses like that gave me a history of AI and data sets. What's the meaning of supervised learning, unsupervised learning, deep learning, it helped me understand all these terminologies so I can sound like I'm smart.

Richard Walker 13:39 

I think if you ask us in the Gen X generation, when we think AI, our immediate thought is Terminator and the world's gonna end.

Jonathan Michael 13:46 

Right, exactly. Yeah. What about yourself? Have you dabbled around in the world of AI? And when did you start thinking about like...

Richard Walker 13:57 

Yeah, to be honest, I started looking at machine learning stuff back in like 2015 or 16. Okay. When Bitcoin became a really, really big thing, I was very interested in the blockchain model. So I was doing all sorts of different research. And I mean, I remember when the term Big Data came out in the early mid-2000s. And everybody was focused on that. What did it mean? So I've always had this idea of data, and what can we do with it and how do we process it? But I never actually got into the tech writing or building these things. I would say, in April of last year, when Dali came out with image generation, I started playing with open AI and I was just blown away with what it could do at that point. And then last summer, no, I shouldn't say last summer, but summer of 22. I started exploring all sorts of different AI tools, and playing with them and trying to figure out how they could work for us. But man when ChatGPT came out, I was on it on December 1, it came out on November 30. I was on it on December 1 playing with it going This changes everything. And so I know you said some earlier, that I think is really, really important to kind of contemplate, in a couple of years, everybody's going to have a chatGPT something and their product, right? In other words, it's a commodity, what makes it different is the data set, and that you're applying your own proprietary data to it to give value to it, right.

Jonathan Michael 15:18 

All right. So that's the only way you're gonna differentiate yourself.

Richard Walker 15:21 

Yeah, for sure. As you look forward into the future, how do you see your clients adding their own personal data to make their flavor of your product even better and more powerful for them?

Jonathan Michael 15:34 

Hmm, interesting. Yeah, I think as our advisors securely engaged with our AI model, like we prioritize data privacy, we prioritize those different components. And I think as we generate more and more customers and engaging with our AI, and we're able to generate a large enough data set, I think that presents us with a lot of use cases, lots of different things that we can do with that, right. So content generation is one. But image generation is another thing and just creating a multimodal AI engine that enables advisors to do many things that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do. So think about a multimodal large language model for wealth management, right? That's kind of where we are, what we're dreaming off. But if you ask me, what is my really dystopian unrealistic dream? I don't know if it's really unrealistic, but maybe it's not. I think it might have it like a lot of experts think it's going to happen sooner than we think, is AGI. And so building an AGI for financial services.

Richard Walker 16:41 

What is AGI make sure everybody understands that?

Jonathan Michael 16:43 

Artificial General Intelligence. So you have a an AI Artificial Narrow Intelligence is what we are using today with Chad GPT. It has narrow tasks like text generation, and image generation and data analysis, which it also has duties to like narrow tasks, right. But AGI is an all-knowing system that can basically do anything you want it to do. Right? So the dystopian-like world at sci-fi, you know, movies, often displayed and, or which people like Geoff Hinton, for example, the chief AI, the Google scientists who left and made a big deal out of it, the godfather of AI, quote, unquote.

Richard Walker 17:19 

He's like, it's the world is going to come to an end, right?

Jonathan Michael 17:22 

World is gonna come to an end, and things like that. So I mean, I'm not going to disregard Geoff Hinton. But, it's that futuristic world of creating an all-intelligent marketing engine for RIAs that gets me fired up. So I think that in the next few years, if you ask me, like, what's the ideal product, ideal vision for this company, is providing advisors with a compressed of virtual CMO inside a conversational chat interface, where advisors can engage with the CMO and have the CMO, talk to different AI agents and email marketing agent, a compliance agent, a social media agent, and just like that, you can create your own end to end marketing efforts for your firm. So if you're a solo RIA, that would be like a perfect option for you. But if you're a larger RIA, imagine feeding your proprietary data set into that system. Because the more data that that model gets, it's going to get better over time. Right? And so yeah, that's kind of the world we want to build for.

Richard Walker 18:25 

Nice. So one of the challenges I've I remember being a financial adviser was, how do you help your customer understand your ideal client? You would say something like, I only work with people who have a net worth over a million dollars and 200,000, liquid assets, minimum to invest? And you would talk to clients who do or don't have that, right? And then then you would say, well, no, I'll only want to work with people who have a 5 million net worth and a million dollars invest. I'm wondering, do you think your software and your product can help attract a better or different ideal client that the advisor would actually like to work with? And they actually build it up to frame that type of person coming into their funnel versus what they've been bringing in?

Jonathan Michael 19:08 

I think so. Yeah. I want to narrow down on one specific audience, right, the Henry market, the high-income earners, not rich yet. Right. And you may have heard of that specific terminology, but it refers to a group of people between the age of 25 to 40, I think, who are high-income earners, they're working in tech companies probably making between 350 400k a year and have significant disposable assets, investable assets and so for that specific audience, our tech works really, really well. Right. Because the digital first they're more likely to talk with a financial adviser first through a text exchange, as opposed to a referral. They like using digital experiences to get insights about their financial life. And so for that specific audience, yes, I think it definitely opens up a whole new market of potential clients. And so, you know, advisors, client bases are also aging. And so it's important to look at that factor and try to find what that new fresh face of clients is going to look like for them. So I think our tech helps them do that for the Henry market specifically, but sorry, sorry for interrupting you, but also for other client types. If you know how to click buttons and select options, like using our software, like for potential clients, it can totally open all kinds of new avenues for advisors. Yeah, because our software's easy to use makes it easy for clients to engage with. So you could be Gen X Gen Z, you can be a baby boomer but, you know, whatever. If you're not a select options of the screen, it can provide interesting new avenues for advisors. Yeah,

Richard Walker 20:50 

Yeah, for sure. I haven't been an advisor for two decades. But I do know that one of the hardest challenges is attracting younger clients who are going to grow with you. And part of it is because they don't have that much investable assets. And part of it today is because of all the social media channels they want to work through and the different tech channels they want to work through. So I think your approach is a very novel, innovative approach to actually bridge that gap.

Jonathan Michael 21:17 

Yeah, I mean, I think it's a complex problem with a simple solution is what I like to tell people. People want clarity, they want a clear financial vision at the end of the day, okay. They want clarity, they want simplicity, the average client today, do you want to have 50k, investable assets 500k investable assets, they want clarity, okay, don't complicate things for them. And our tech help simplify the client onboarding process, it helps simplify and clarify everything that a new client needs to know before they sign up with an advisor. So it automates the trust-building process, to some extent, to some extent, right. And it presents the client as the hero and the advisor as the guide.

Richard Walker 22:03 

Nice. It's just how it should be.

Jonathan Michael 22:05 

Which is how it should be. Yeah, you shouldn't be a salesperson, you shouldn't be begging people for appointments on LinkedIn, like sending people Calendly links and saying, hey, book an appointment with me for a free financial analysis, right? You get a bunch of messages from wirehouses, and I'm like, you guys need to use our you need to offer some value to clients first before they show up on a zoom appointment.

Richard Walker 22:29 

Yeah, yeah. Well, let's talk about your ideal client. Because how did you choose RIAs and not doctors or real estate agents or any number of people who are trying to attract clientele similar style?

Jonathan Michael 22:41 

Yeah, really good question. So my father-in-law was an advisor with an IBD. And I started off this company as a project to help him out, figure out some new innovative marketing technologies to scale his firm. So he managed about a $400 million book of business. And he was doing pretty well. But then he since then he sold his business, and he's moved into other businesses. But he was trying to scale his firm, he was trying to attract younger advisors, he was trying to find a new group of clientele. And he just found that the same things that he was doing in the 2000s, in 2010, is just weren't working anymore, right. And so we began brainstorming on what it would look like to kind of build a simple, engaging digital experience that would help clients understand their retirement shortfall really quickly, a good brand and advisor really, really well. And AI would help expedite the follow-up process, because follow-up is where the rubber meets the road. Correct.

Richard Walker 23:42 

So fortune in the follow up this thing.

Jonathan Michael 23:44 

There you go. That's it. And so that's how it all started out. And he kind of lived a spark and I became a student of that spark and started like, working really hard on building a product that would fit the market. And so we build a lot for the IBD world initially, but then why pivoted into the RIA wall because I love working with entrepreneurial advisors. I like the type of questions they ask. I like the fact that they have more control over their technology stack. And compliance is a low barrier to but also the fact that they're fiduciaries, right. And it just gives us more purpose to bow for a group and advise a segment that takes a job super seriously, and to help them really scale. So that's kind of how it all started out. But we chose IRAs specifically because we think it's a growing advisor segment. And it's probably going to be the future off. Yeah, I think we're gonna see it compound like crazy over the next five, 10 years. And it's just an exciting segment to be building for.

Richard Walker 24:48 

Yeah, for sure. I'm Jonathan I'll have to wrap this up pretty soon here. And I want to ask you another question. But before I do that, what's the best way for people to find and connect with you?

Jonathan Michael 24:59 

On LinkedIn, Jonathan Michael. Yeah, find me there on LinkedIn. That's the best way to connect with me.

Richard Walker 25:04 

Awesome. Okay. And of course your website All right. So here's my tough question who or what inspires your leadership style and why?

Jonathan Michael 25:15 

Patrick Lencioni. He's a famous leadership expert, he wrote a book called The Ideal Team Player, he takes this complex concept of leadership and writes it into stories, right. And so he makes it really simple and easy for people to understand. And his won his book called The Ideal Team Player, he has a formula called the humble, hungry smart formula. It's like a framework, really, a framework for team building. In Place, a really simple leadership concept is like always admit, when you screw up staying humble, always staying hungry. Always Learning and outlining your competition and always staying hungry to build something really great. And then being really smart and true on your feet. Right. So getting stuff done. So he not only expands into that book. But that simple framework gave me a formula for team building, which I tried to apply. I'm not perfect by any means. But I tried to apply it into Patrick Lencioni has played a huge role in helping me understand what effective team building looks like for sure. Yeah.

Richard Walker 26:19 

That's great. It sounds like you read a lot of books.

Jonathan Michael 26:22 

I actually don't, I don't, I don't read a lot of books. I watch a ton of YouTube videos, and audible and podcasts and I read a lot of articles instead, specifically, because the pace of technology is changing so fast. I prefer just reading articles and staying abreast with that. Yeah.

Richard Walker 26:42 

Well, then really, what I mean to say is, it sounds like you're very interested in your personal development. And I know from my own self as I started to, I hate to read, if people give me a book, I would read one book a year, right? I love listening to books, so I'll devour them with Audible, and listen to books. And that has changed me so many ways, and helped me become a better leader over time as well. So I'm gonna have to check out Patrick's book. That sounds really nice.

Jonathan Michael 27:07 

Yeah, I think Patrick's book. And also James Clear, I think wrote a book called the power of Habit. And I can't remember the actual title right now. But it's based on the premise of compounding your personal development. And actually, I was already practicing that before someone told me about that book. And that's when I started looking at it more, but I haven't read it yet. But if you ask me, like what is the one thing that I tried to implement in my personal life it is the 1% leadership framework is based on the premise of growing 1% every day, we live in a world that is so milestones driven, we are so driven by accomplishments that if we don't reach x, y, and z milestone at x y&z date, we feel like we failed. And as people who are building businesses, I think it's important to look at the progress you're making every day, and focus on executing everyday really well. Because if you focus on Daily Execution, you'll get to the end outcomes, right? Yeah, it's such an outcome-driven culture today. Everybody looks at the exterior, right. But I think the 1% framework, like focusing on my spiritual life, my intellectual life and my physical life, and making sure I'm working out every day learning something new, and staying in a calm state of mind, just that one thing has really helped me through so much of difficulty running a startup. So I live by that. Yeah, for sure.

Richard Walker 28:29 

Since you brought up James Clear, I have to mention a previous guest on my podcast, Mike Jalonen. He has an app that's been released calls Habit Driven, very much aligned with James Clear in his book, I think you'd find it a fascinating episode, as well as looking at his app and how AI can help drive better habits in your life. Yeah, I think it's really, really fascinating. Man, we just had a topic I could talk all day about, but I know we gotta go. So yeah, I want to give a huge thank you to Jonathan Michael, CEO of Wealth I/O for being on this episode of The Customer Wins. Go check out Jonathan's website at And don't forget to check out Quik at where we make processing forms easy. I hope you enjoyed this discussion, will click the like button, share with someone and subscribe to our channels for future episodes of The Customer Wins. Jonathan, thank you so much for joining me today.

Jonathan Michael 29:20 

Thanks for having me. Rich. That was a lot of fun.

Outro 29:23 

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time. And be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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