Content can be king for asset managers

Asset managers increasingly believe that focusing on the customer experience is a crucial challenge as they explore digital transformation and how it might enable them to compete in the evolving marketplace. But what does that mean in practice? According to one recent report from Econsultancy, delivering personalised and relevant content is a crucial part of the mix.

The report points to a string of asset managers already pursuing successful content marketing strategies, with strands that attract, engage and convert clients – both investors and the intermediary audience. Nine in ten marketers in asset management believe content marketing will be a crucial part of their strategy in the future, Econsultancy says.

For example, Goldman Sachs has created an ongoing video series that provides insight on capital and money markets, but also on less obvious subjects such as ‘citizenship’ and ‘progress’. Schroders’ monthly infographics summarising market activity from the preceding month are also singled out for praise, along with Putnam Investments’ “Advisor Tech Tips”. This is a microsite offering advice and support that the asset manager hopes will engage advisers and other intermediaries.

There are many more examples of successful content out there. The M&G ‘Bond Vigilantes” site, for example, provides a sideways look at the world of fixed income, as well as detailed analysis, encouraging intermediaries to engage through a mix of fun and functional advice. Franklin Templeton has published a string of quirky videos on behavioural finance encouraging investors to think about how they make investment decisions. Artemis’s ‘Profit Hunters’ content works in a similar vein.

Other asset managers, however, are further behind. They haven’t developed their own content strategy yet, or they’ve begun publishing material in a piecemeal fashion without much thought about what they’re trying to achieve. They therefore need to hone their efforts.

There’s no such thing as the perfect content marketing strategy – the right campaign for you will depend on your objectives and the nature of your business. Are you appealing to advisers or to direct investors, for example? How will the content you generate fit the brand image your business seeks to project? What sort of budget is available?

Equally, however, there are certain common mistakes that all asset managers should work hard to avoid.

Start by taking look at your current digital offerings. It may well be that you’re already generating all sorts of content, from online seminars and videos to blogs and magazines and beyond. If so, there’s a good chance that you’re blunting the message – that you have so much content available in so many different forms that clients are confused. They don’t know where to look or what you’re trying to tell them.

Instead, asset managers need a differentiated proposition that aims to deliver against a well-defined objective. And in developing that proposition, think about the competition – not so much other asset managers, important though these are, but any other producer of content in your space. That is likely to include professional media channels competing for audience, so you need to know why investors will want to look at your content, and be able to articulate this.

Think, too, about the customer journey. One piece of content may have interest value but it is unlikely to move the consumer much closer to becoming a client. Rather, aim to create content that moves the audience down a funnel, engaging with further content, getting to know your brand better and eventually doing business with you. Even the most basic analytics functions make it simple to monitor how successful such strategies are, through data on what your audience is looking at, for how long, and what it does next.

Part of the trick is thinking about what sort of content is right for each stage of the journey and over which channel it should be delivered. Social media, video and mobile may all have a role to play, along with more sophisticated tools and functionality, but in the beginning, consumers are more likely to engage with something quick and simple. Once they get to know you, they’ll spend more time with you.

Finally, consider tone of voice very carefully. The feel of your content will make a statement about the type of products and services your business offers, even if these aren’t explicitly mentioned. Get it wrong and you risk pulling in the wrong audience while alienating the consumers you do want to engage with.