Strategy

GUEST ARTICLE: Why Investment Managers Need To Act Like Content Publishers

Mark Trousdale, 8 August 2017

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Wealth managers must consider new ways to win clients, retain those already with the business and improve the bottom line. One way is to start thinking like content publishers.

The following article is by Mark Trousdale, who is executive vice president and chief marketing officer at InvestCloud, a digital platform for wealth managers, family offices, private banks and financial institutions. Trousdale has been with that company since 2012. In this item, he discusses the need for investment managers to become content publishers in their own right, and considers the effect this will have on the bottom line. As with other contributed articles, the editors at this news service are pleased to share insights with readers; they don't endorse all views of outside contributors and invite readers to respond. Email tom.burroughes@wealthbriefing.com

In the US alone, there is $100 trillion at stake for investment managers.

With the oldest of the boomer generation now in their 70s, wealth is undergoing a transfer between generations, falling to their generation X and millennial descendants. How wealth managers will deal with this long-term trend will determine which succeed and which are left behind. 

The danger for managers is in treating these clients who are inheriting assets in the same way they are used to working. Emails, quarterly reports and meetings over lunch simply will not cut it with the next tech-savvy generation used to on-demand services. Nearly 85 per cent of ultra-high net worth individuals are already using three or more digital channels.

Digital has changed the game. Your customers will expect instant updates and communications. Every other aspect of their lives is now run in real-time, from their food delivery and shopping orders to how they communicate with peers. It is not just the “how” - their interests and lifestyle are also radically different from their parents. 

Investment managers need to play by these emergent asset owners’ rules. They need to engage in different ways to ensure they can win new clients, retain those already with the business and improve the bottom line by selling new plans. One way is to start thinking like content publishers.

Not just nice to have
Everyone knows content is king. It is what gets attention, and makes people engage. Many consumer brands have already adopted this thinking through content marketing - creating videos, articles or other pieces of content to draw audiences in. But content serves a dual purpose. Besides bringing in audiences, it allows you to align your brand to a specific demographic and its values. 

In an industry where many services are almost identical, content provides a key differentiator. Financial services providers, especially retail banks, have made progress in using content to boost engagement, hiring teams of journalists and filling pages full of stories. 

This is also applicable for investment managers. By appealing to the unique needs of the client, it demonstrates that the manager understands the client and his or her lifestyle - helping to differentiate their firm from the competition.

With only a third of UHNIs saying that they would recommend their investment manager, it is crucial to put these tools in place to ensure greater customer loyalty. It is no longer just a “nice to have” function.

Unique tailoring
Many investment managers don’t have the spare capital to invest in pulling together a large team of journalists or writers to generate unique content. The good news is that they don’t have to. 

Technology can provide the functionality that enables investment managers to generate tailored content without requiring much input from managers. For this to happen, there are two things investment managers need to put in place - an online platform and true, accurate, centralized data.

The platform will be a hub for the client - where they go to view their wealth and interact with the business. Therefore, the online platform needs to be an extension of the firm’s brand, creating a seamless experience from the website and where applicable from the brick-and-mortar experience. 

This platform needs to be applicable to clients’ lifestyles. It should be available any time, from any place and on any device. It also needs to be tailored with functions directly applicable to the client. News and content is one such function, but this needs to be combined with other capabilities such as real-time investment data, report generation, insight and recommendations.

To provide all this, investment managers need to be able to plug all their data through to the platform. Investment managers already have access to a vast amount of data, but it is often locked away in various spreadsheets and cannot communicate with other pieces of information. Instead, data needs to be centralized in one place to enable a single version of the integrated truth (SVOTIT). 

This means that portfolio information can interact with market data and other assets such as property, giving clients and managers a complete picture of wealth.

Establishing a digital warehouse also allows investment managers to automate content. For example, a client may have investments in automotive companies. The digital warehouse can then pull through specific content from third-party news websites that relates directly to this – such as stock results for Ford or the latest development news from Tesla. This lets clients get the latest news they want without ever having to leave the online platform. 

This type of tailored content means that the investment manager’s website can become the first port-of-call when a client is after information. But what does this mean for the bottom line?
 

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