Here’s the problem. Your website is rapidly shifting from something the Chief Executive did not particularly care about to a high priority.
If we are to be really honest, our industry—the whole range of asset management from venture capital through to the global mutual fund brands—were late adopters to understanding what benefit the “website” would bring. After all, “sales” in our industry has historically been a people business, and distribution business even more so. We know that this is changing. Forever
Digital budgets are growing at financial services firms. And whilst being a long way off from where they need to be, the world’s top 250 asset managers are investing in their digital marketing strategies. But how does the rest of the industry keep up? There are thousands of boutique managers and distributors who need to keep pace too. In fact, how does the top 250 cope with the pressure of keeping up with their peers on the relative small resources they are given?
The larger asset managers have done what Large Corporates do. They have hired consultants and agencies and spent an inordinate amount of money on proprietary and specialist Content Management Systems (CMS) systems and heavily configured CRM systems. They are about to do the same with Marketing Automation systems, because—we’ve heard it before—“we are financial services, we’re different.” While simultaneously operating within regulated frameworks and requiring strong oversight by compliance, the claim that “we are different” in financial services is quite frankly pure nonsense. On inspection, you will all find that airlines, pharmaceuticals, health and energy all work within their own formidable regulatory environments.
Before you even begin to add up your “management” cost for your digital team and associated project management, here are seven cost factors that you need to add up to arrive at some semblance of a budget:
1. Your CMS
I have seen companies spend $0 on a CMS. There are incredible open-source based CMS systems in the market. WordPress (a Kurtosys favorite), Drupal, Joomla, to name a few. I have also seen an asset manager spend north of $2 million on a proprietary CMS (I know, it’s completely insane and that’s just for licensing) Never mind implementation and the dreaded total cost of ownership.
2. Configuring and Maintaining Your CMS
The smaller asset managers have outsourced this or got away with 1/2 Full time Equivalents. The larger asset managers have got teams of 50+ people working on their websites… and I don’t mean content writing here. I mean pure development and digital peeps. These are the people looking after templates, responsive design, new microsites, campaigns, URLs and translations.
3. Ancillary Integration
This is difficult to budget and remains largely the hidden cost of marketing technology. But hooking together your E-mail campaign systems, CRM and now Marketing Automation systems has become fraught with impediments and costs. It seems to consume an excessive amount of management time and ends up in no man’s land.
4. Digital Analytics
Most firms don’t even cost this yet. It’s the most important thing that a digital team does in any industry but yet only the top firms have even the basic idea of having a strategy. It goes well beyond sticking “Google Analytics” onto the site and throwing out a whole array of stats. There is real gold in these stats and management and executives are only now beginning to see the value. But the cost of understanding and assembling this in a timely and digestible manner can be considerable.
5. Digital Tools and Document Libraries
Data-driven product pages can be huge costs if project scope and development are not managed carefully. These fall into an area that sits between Operations and Marketing. These “gray” areas spell difficulty in enforcing accountability of both human resources and money.
6. Search Engine Optimization
Many smaller firms do nothing on SEO. The larger ones are (over-) spending a fortune. There are dark arts at work here and legitimate specialists are required.
7. Hosting & Infrastructure
If you work for a bank-owned asset manager you will fall off your seat when you see what is being spent on “IT” related to hosting an asset management website. I have seen spend upwards of $10 million a year. For the smaller firms the costs are a lot less but I’m afraid “GoDaddy” doesn’t work any more. These costs are significant and need to be managed. Risk management plays a huge part in the cost, and because we wake up paranoid and go to sleep paranoid, the costs of this can creep.
I have deliberately omitted the more obvious and “real” costs of digital marketing — the real places where money is needed: PPC, advertising, content, video creation, etc. The costs I focused on are all about your digital marketing technology spend. It’s a real cost and you can manage it much better than you do today.
Kurtosys provides turnkey, configured solutions that alleviate the perils of managing an end-to-end digital platform. Come talk to us.