Winning Digital Strategies For Asset Managers

Marketing and servicing clients in public funds is challenging for a number of reasons. Kurtosys has a few pointers on how to build a winning strategy – and team – for your digital experience platform.

Choosing the right CMS

The modern CMS is the digital marketer’s primary tool. The right one can enable enormous efficiencies in your organization, while the wrong one can stymy your firm’s ambitions.

When evaluating a new content management system, content should of course be king. A key priority should be an ability to develop new and engaging digital experiences without having to engage development resources. This means you can launch campaigns quickly and react to new investment ideas at the pace your business requires.

However, a modern financial CMS places equal importance on both compliance and content authoring requirements. In our experience, digital content moves at the pace of approvals in most organizations, and so its critical when you choose a content management system that it both has a  content approval process and that it can be tailored to match your organization’s needs. Finally, ensure that when publishing content to multiple regional sites (if you have them) that the compliance module can cope with and understand the differences. This will mean you dont have to duplicate work for your compliance team.

Don’t stop there though. Remember that for most US based managers, and for those in other parts of the world who want to give themselves some extra regulatory insulation, audit logging of all digital content is another critical need in your CMS (SEC 17a-4). Make sure that everything from your blogs to your KIIDS are tracked once published to the web and can be retrieved in a reasonable period of time.

Measure what you treasure

One of the things we encourage our customers to do is to think about how their digital experience platform will participate in decision making within their organizations as their digital presence grows. It is sometimes an omitted component of digital strategy, but the fact remains that your websites, portals, and associated digital points of presence are unmatched listening device for informing your product strategy and client interactions

The low hanging fruit is to choose and implement a marketing automation system such as Pardot, Eloqua or Marketo. These systems are well known for their ability to drip new content to your customers over time, but we think their scoring and tracking capabilities and their integration with your CRM are much more interesting. You should at a minimum be looking to tie back your investors web activity to your product ranges, and putting that intelligence in the hands of your sales team.

The next step is to start to create engaging gated content and tools to encourage your investors to register with you. This will help you to learn more about them. Something like our portfolio construction tool is great for this sort of thing.

Of course a good grasp of basic analytics is table stakes, and we always recommend that our customers implement Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager, which can help in applying intelligence tagging to your site statistics, which can be used to divine macro investor trends, such as product interests by segment.

Prioritize the investor experience

A term we use more and more is investor experience. There is a tendency when doing a digital build to engage an agency to rebrand, redesign, and rethink a manager’s digital presence, but we find too much emphasis is placed upon how things will look and not enough on how they will function for your investors.

For example, what do your advisers want when they come to your site? Your portal? In our experience the adviser needs a manager’s site to function much more like a sophisticated web application, enabling them to save preferences and automate the download of key product information.

Engaging end investors in UX exercises can be challenging – often because a marketing team can feel unempowered to reach out to their investors and ask them to engage in something as potentially long winded as a card sorting exercise, but there are tools available to do this digitally and get that level of insight. Working with your sales team can be a great proxy for these constituents too, and we find engaging them early pays dividends later on.

This also needs to be an ongoing process and needs to be informed by raw data. Consider more in depth analytics tools tied to key user actions on your fund explorers, product pages, and advanced data tools to find out whether investor’s actions back up their words.

Finally, don’t forget to prototype and ‘dogfood’ your site designs before you move forward with them. Ensure your agency takes the time to build your wireframes out to a deep enough level that you can talk stakeholders through the investor journey in detail. Failure to do this can cost time later on when gaps in the process are found. We think a good middle ground is to use tools such as inVision or even Balsamiq to map site journeys – and the great part is that once you have designs you can build these journeys out yourself.

Clean data is your bedrock

It is an unavoidable truth that most financial services sites are 90% data and 10% content. Indeed we observe an outsized amount of effort being expended on getting product pages and data displayes compliant when new sites and portals are launched. And of course when we say data we mean documents too.

We recommend that your UAT plan for data documents is signed off before you start your build. Data compliance breaches are the most common reason for sites not going live on time and are entirely preventable by documenting detailed data rules ahead of time, assigning correct disclaimer mappings, and having these pre-vetted by your complaince team – and of course they’ll love you because you involved them early in the process.

We find this is also another great area to employ wireframing tools – by mapping out the exact layouts for each product type or asset class variation you can give your compliance team much greater comfort earlier in and remove any ambiguity as to how disclaimers will be shown or attributed to data.

On an ongoing basis data quality is important too, as well as being able to evidence how breaches were managed. This can be achieved by implementing data healthchecks, something our FundPress platform offers.

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