How Platform Technology is Bridging the Digital Divide

    Investors migrating online, ongoing fee compression and increased competition are changing the blueprint for successful marketing and communications for wealth and asset management firms. The data enabled are seeing noteworthy results, including reduced marketing costs, improved operational efficiencies, and increasing investor retention rates, all while meeting the growing expectation of digitally savvy investors.

    How data-driven marketing and placement is leveling the fund distribution playing field for small to mid-sized asset managers

    Consumer behavior is changing

    Access to information and technology is transforming consumer behavior. An abundance of research and pricing has made consumers less reliant on traditional sales processes—frustrating sales intermediaries who have long-profited in the space between the buyer and the seller.

    This evolution has shifted the balance of power from the seller to the consumer, forcing industries to reimagine traditional business models in hopes of reaching an increasingly savvy digital consumer. Today, the consumer is king, and data is the currency and technology is the machine that makes it all happen. Welcome to the digital age.

    Competing in the digital age

    The adoption of digital technology moved consumers to an entirely new sales medium, which has been challenging to marketers trying to connect and influence early in the decision-making process. However, their digital footprints have provided key insights into how they think, conduct research, solve problems, and make final decisions.

    In the digital economy, this data holds the key to successful sales and marketing strategies, becoming a mission critical ingredient in building digitally enabled operations.

    The increasing pressure to innovate technology and client centricity will be intense. The shifting market and technology landscape, combined with increased competition will require asset managers to take action across all aspects of their business.

    – Accenture, The Future of Asset Management

    Introduction to data-driven financial services

    Investors migrating online, ongoing fee compression, and increased competition are changing the blueprint for successful marketing and communications for wealth and asset management firms. The data-enabled are seeing noteworthy results, including reduced marketing costs, improved operational efficiencies, and increasing investor retention rates, all while meeting the growing expectation of digitally savvy investors.

    However, while data-driven solutions are providing huge advantages to the digitally mature, many small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been left with more questions than answers. What is data-driven? What are the benefits of digital technology and how can small to mid-sized managers embrace its benefits… and why is it important now?

    Managers, especially in the wealth management sector, were forced into the digital age by the COVID-19 pandemic, as 2020 brought a sense of urgency to developing digital communication strategies. However, many have struggled to move beyond video conferencing and online communication to implementing data-driven strategies into their operations, fundraising initiatives, and marketing efforts.

    Data-driven marketing and communications have been a hot topic across the industry. Large incumbents, with the capital and resources to develop digital teams and technology, are embracing the evolution to data-driven technology. However, small to mid-sized managers have been unable to realize the benefits of systemwide technology adoption due to manpower constraints and budget limitations. To date, these firms have been forced to cobble together partial solutions, leaving them with fragmented technology that is difficult to integrate.

    Understanding Data-Driven: What it is and What it is NOT

    Data-driven technology is changing financial services marketing and communications, allowing firms to identify, convert, and retain targeted investors/clients with data analytics, technology innovation, and process automation.

    There is still some confusion in the financial services industry as to what exactly this means. To better understand what data-driven is, it can be helpful to know what it is NOT. Data-driven does not mean:

    • Having multiple investor and prospect lists siloed across departments and teams.
    • Still relying on traditional marketing and communications to engage and influence.
    • Still counting on face-to-face meetings and fund advisors/wholesalers to meet fundraising goals.
    • Blasting communications to the masses with the hopes of engaging a few.
    • Trading human interactions for social media, chat bots, and automated messaging.

    Relationships matter. They always have and always will.

    The growing expectations of consumers have put a premium on the client experience, requiring managers to deliver high-touch, on-demand interactions. Digital innovation doesn’t replace relationships, rather it enhances them.

    In financial services, the technologically savvy are:

    • Using data analytics to define, connect, and influence their best prospects.
    • Turning to SEM (search engine marketing) to identify solutions and research strategies that give them a competitive advantage.
    • Utilizing social media and online communities to connect and share insights with peers.
    • Recognizing the importance of personalization throughout the investor journey.

    Ever wonder what it costs to go digital? Calculate your annual cost with our digital adoption calculator.

    Investor prospecting has always been about data collection

    Financial advisors and fund intermediaries have long used informal fact finding, along with verbal and non-verbal cues, to identify shared values and beliefs with prospective investors. This is what allows them to establish and build deeper, more personalized relationships.

    investment conversationsThe most successful advisors developed mental profiles to organize, prioritize, engage, and convert prospects. Over time, they refined these processes, helping them create and grow perpetually improving practices. Now, the process is still the same, just technology enabled.

    Today, innovators and early adopters are using data-driven technology to increase effectiveness, doing what successful advisors have done for years… only more efficiently. This technology is helping replicate the skills of successful advisors through data insights, behavioral analytics, and marketing automation. It can provide many of these insights before the first meeting even takes place, shortening the sales cycle, and improving conversion rates.

    Data fuels the investor experience. Demographic, behavioral, and psychographic data serve as the foundation, while artificial intelligence (AI) fills in the gaps with behavioral and decision-making details. Data-driven technology provides insights into the values, styles, and motivations that influence and drive investor decision-making. This allows marketers to anticipate behavioral styles and navigate biases, bringing clarity to many of the “unknowns” that often impede conversion.

    Additionally, data insights empower the creation of “ideal” investor profiles. These detailed investor personas allow marketing and sales efforts to be focused on highly defined audiences, while eliminating time wasted on less profitable prospects. Data-driven technology delivers a perfectly curated message at the right time in the right place and to the right audience.

    Enter The Digital Bridge: Leveling the Playing Field for SMEs

    5150’s integrated platform approach simplifies the path to digital transformation incorporating all the elements previously explained. We fish the edges, providing data-driven technology to the overlooked and underserved. Digital Bridge allows managers to compete and prosper in the digital age through sophisticated marketing, communications, client retention, and lead generation solutions. An IPaaS approach mitigates the expense and integration challenges of digital adoption, providing a cost-effective solution to resource constrained wealth and asset managers.

    From beginning to end, our uniquely qualified and dedicated team will be there every step of the way to guide you through our process.

    Process 1: Data Consolidation

    The search for ideal clients begins by aggregating current and former client data into a single source. This process includes combining, cleansing, and restructuring client profiles into segmented audience groupings. This process profiles who a firm’s best customers are, who they are not, and where undiscovered opportunities exist.

    Process 2: Research & Discovery

    This is where we uncover the marketable details of the target audience. Customer groupings are enhanced using client conversations, interactions, and surveys taken from members selected from each group. These enhanced profiles provide granular and relevant insights into future investors.

    Process 3: Investor Persona Creation

    Investor personas, generated from market research and previous client segmenting, allow marketers to a) personalize engagements to the communication styles and channel preferences of targeted investors, b) develop personalized, stage-specific content, and c) identify new prospects and networks with look-alike data.

    Process 4: Persona Playbooks for Execution

    Persona-specific playbooks are created to establish marketing, communications, conversion, and service advocacy strategies. Playbooks include communication recommendations, channel preferences, unique needs, and individual service expectations.

    Process 5: Multi-Channel Content Marketing

    We develop and curate multi-channel, stage specific content. Intent specific content connects and influences prospects or clients through each stage of the investor journey (Awareness, Research, Consideration, Conversion, and Advocacy). A content management system provides quick access, compliance approval, and multi-channel repurposing.

    Process 6: Persona-Specific Campaigns

    Design and execution of persona-specific marketing campaigns. Multi-channel strategies and tactics, created using stage-specific content, are rolled out for each persona.

    Process 7: Execution

    We scale campaigns and communications through automation. Automation allows marketers to identify, connect, and influence prospects at scale providing 24/7 responsiveness. This “always-on” philosophy creates a personalized experience throughout the investor journey.

    Process 8: The Investor Journey

    We provide a 360° view of prospect and client engagements. Breaking down siloed data and sharing it across, sales, marketing, and service teams supports a customer-centric approach, critical to the investor journey. This 360° client view improves prospect conversion, creates clear and consistent communications, and increases customer engagement and retention.

    Process 9: Network Effect

    We use AI to analyze and modify campaigns and tactics in real time. As data is compiled and analyzed across managers and campaigns, strategies and tactics are refined and optimized to improve outcomes. Over time, this data allows the platform to better understand many of the behaviors and decision-making nuances of investors, creating significant value for users.

    Process 10: Support

    Digital Bridge clients work with dedicated teams to simplify the process. Dedicated support teams ease the process of data transformation, guiding clients every step of the way.

    While the platform lowers the cost of technology adoption, dedicated support removes the integration risks, while eliminating the need to recruit and hire technology talent.

    Conclusion

    The industry is going digital. Large asset management complexes are trading expensive and increasingly ineffective fund distribution strategies for data-driven sales, marketing, and communications. In addition, the digitally enabled are realizing operational efficiencies, deeper investor engagements, and increased investor retention rates.​

    Ongoing fee-compression and the evolving behavior of online investors/allocators have changed the blueprint for successful fund distribution. Investors, once reliant on industry providers for research and investment access, are migrating to online tools and resources, making traditional fund distribution tactics increasingly ineffective.​

    Most digital solutions are out of reach for SMEs. While large managers are committing capital and resources to data-driven distribution, small to mid-sized managers are faced with limited options to compete in an increasingly complex digital landscape.

    5150’s Digital Bridge IPaaS solves this problem, providing a simplified digital solution for SMEs. An integrated platform approach shifts the technology and integration risk from the end user to the provider, eliminates the need to hire talent, and reduces the overall cost by spreading the technology cost across multiple users.

    “There are very few things I’m more certain of, than the fact that there are limited opportunities for wholesalers to influence buying decisions, and it gets more and more limited every month.”

    “According to Google, mobile searches about financial planning and management are up 70% in the past two years.”

    T. Neil Bathon

    Managing Partner, FUSE Research Network

    Michael Jung

    Constant Contact

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