The latest Kurtosys digital marketing survey reveals some encouraging trends as asset management firms continue their slow crawl into the digital age. The good news is an increasing number of asset managers are embracing digital technologies, including enhanced web designs, content marketing, and CRM systems. However, fewer firms are connecting the dots between technologies, which often results in a disjointed approach to marketing, sales and client servicing.
A Digital Awakening
With the continuing pressure on fees and the rise of low-cost alternatives, asset managers are waking up to the need to become more client-focused and find innovative ways to engage with clients and their target market. Nearly two-thirds expect to increase investment in their web technology with the primary objective of improving the user experience. And, the same percentage of firms plan on increasing their investment in content marketing, seeing it as the most important channel for generating more traffic and leads.
An increasing number of asset managers are realizing that the blast mode of marketing is no longer viable in the digital environment. Ninety-three percent of asset managers now acknowledge that effective content marketing must emphasize quality over quantity and be more targeted to fit the audience. It’s beginning to dawn on them that the quality and accessibility of relevant information is the key to driving traffic and that, rather than having their content dictated by what internal stakeholders want to talk about, they need to create content that actually answers their clients’ most commonly asked questions.
Marketing Automation: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle
The challenge for most of these asset management firms is they have yet to close the loop on a complete digital marketing strategy that would enable them to personalize their content and target their audience. That would require marketing automation technology which utilizes data analytics to learn more about their clients’ behavior and interests. With that kind of insight, it’s possible to create a more personal experience with tailored content.
Yet, while more than 90 percent of asset management firms acknowledge the need for quality and targeted content, more than half do not use marketing automation technology and less than half have any plans of implementing it this year. There are three reasons why most firms have yet to adopt marketing automation technology.
Cost: With marketing budgets under scrutiny, cost could be an issue. The initial cost of marketing automation can be much higher than installing an email marketing system. However, for small asset managers that expect to compete in the digital age, it’s time to start thinking about results and ROI, which are what marketing automation is designed to produce.
Complexity: Marketing automation technology can be overwhelming. Many asset managers who use it are unable to utilize 90 percent of its capabilities. While the big firms have the resources to implement it in-house with a full-time marketing person to run it, smaller firms might need to build it in layers, starting with the basic and learning from the analytics. Smaller firms can achieve instant scale by partnering with a marketing firm or digital marketing pro that understands their business and can help them strategically.
Comprehension: Many asset managers simply don’t understand what marketing automation is and what it can do for them in increasing their ROI. Essentially, the data collected through marketing automaton enables the firm to make educated decisions about what content to create and for whom, and then track who is engaging with it so content can be tailored even further. It is this process of cultivation that converts leads into prospects, so salespeople can call the right people at the right time with the right message.
According to the survey, more than half of asset management firms view themselves as being in the “developmental stage” of digital technology, which means they have a digital strategy in place for the long-term with additional resources planned for training and implementation. That is an encouraging trend. However, that level of investment needs a clear set of measurable and reportable outcomes, and that is the critical role of marketing automation.
Dan Sondhelm is CEO of Sondhelm Partners, a firm that helps asset managers, mutual funds, ETFs, wealth managers and fintech companies grow through marketing, public relations and sales programs. Click to read Dan’s latest Insight articles and to schedule a complimentary consultation.