Published: 22 August, 2022

How To Use Digital Marketing To Stand Out In Fund Marketing

Success, as any Manchester United fan can tell you, doesn’t always last.

Sometimes what you’ve been doing successfully for years stops working due to changes in the external environment. This doesn’t happen overnight, but bit by bit you start to fall away from the competition.

And this is as true in the asset management and fund sectors as any other.

The pandemic has led to changes, both in society and the business landscape, that are here to stay. And those that fail to adapt will start to fall away and suffer the strategic decay that occurs when a previously successful strategy starts to fail

So, how do you both avoid this and stand out in the asset management sector? Especially when you’re a smaller firm in this fiercely competitive market?
The very short answer to that is through digital marketing.

The longer answer is contained in this ProFundCom white paper, where I’m going to examine five different ways that you can use digital marketing to revitalise and strengthen your business and boost your assets under management.

It’s A Digital World Now – Accept It And Move On

If you’re going to not just survive, but thrive, the first step is to accept that the world as you know it has changed forever. Digital has taken over.

This may be a bitter pill to swallow for some, who are used to the old way of doing things. And obviously not everything is digital – deals are being done in restaurants and corporate boxes once again and face-to-face meetings can happen (at least until the next lockdown).

But from now on your bread and butter is digital marketing. Even before anyone had heard of Covid-19, the new breed of investors were largely operating online. But the enforced switch to digital that occurred from March 2020 onwards sent this process into overdrive.

And this means the old linear investor journey – from first contact, to initial meeting, to sale, to quarterly reviews – is no more. Now the journey is all over the place, with various digital touchpoints along the way.

These days, you connect with investors in multiple different ways – all digital – and across multiple different channels. A prospect may, for example, see a social media post that leads them to a thought leadership article, which inspires them to visit your website and sign up for your email list. Then you have the opportunity to deliver quality content to their inbox, which eventually persuades them to invest with you.

So, to connect with this new breed of investors you need to be pumping out quality content – via email, social, web etc – and analysing how people react with it to identify what works and what doesn’t.

You must also look at metrics from within your CRM, such as who has suddenly started engaging with your content (thus may be interested in investing), existing clients who are suddenly looking at new products (thus represent a cross-selling opportunity), and clients who have stopped engaging (so may be ready to redeem). This type of analysis gives you vital information to pass onto sales.

You can automate your processes to help you achieve this. For example, through email flows that are automatically sent out to different segments on your list – prospects, clients, former clients etc – and are then analysed using AI.

This type of approach is now a necessity. Nobody in your company is even going to meet the vast majority of investors face to face – it’s all digital. When you accept this fact, you can strategize accordingly. But firms that don’t accept it – and try and rely on the old ways of doing things – will get left behind.

 

Recruit Wisely

When you have a small firm, the quality of your recruitment is absolutely crucial to success.
And thanks to the move to digital, the range of people you recruit to your marketing team must be expanded – it’s not just pure marketers that you need any more. It’s people like data scientists – who explore data, make predictions and find structure – that will increasingly drive your marketing strategy and operations.
Recruits with this type of background are not there to take jobs away. They will complement and build on the skills of the rest of your marketing team, not replace them, so you must still recruit and nurture people with a more traditional marketing background.
But, whoever you’re employing, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all new recruits need an in-depth knowledge of the asset management sector. That may be useful, but it’s not always a pre-requisite and a reliance on sector experience severely limits your recruitment pool.
Take the data scientist, for example. That person’s knowledge of data, automations and analysis is way more important than how much they do or don’t know about asset management.
Also, having different people from different professional backgrounds in your team means you benefit from fresh perspectives and don’t become too inward looking.

Bring Your Sales And Marketing Teams Together

A lot of people – including me – talk about the importance of aligning your sales and marketing teams.

This is with good reason, as it’s a big problem when sales and marketing departments operate as separate silos within a business. Although they have so much in common and share the ultimate aim of raising assets, sales and marketing often work almost entirely independently. Marketing collects leads, gives them to sales – then forgets about them. Sales works on the leads, but never asks marketing for further support, or provides any feedback on lead quality and what could be improved.

If that sounds familiar to you, then you must do something to rectify the problem.

It’s not even that hard. Bringing two teams together can start with something as simple as a daily meeting to align aims and compare notes. Then encourage open dialogue and share new initiatives across both departments, so that you get away from the ‘us and them’ scenario.

Do this and you can quickly transform two bickering departments into a cross-functional team that acts as an asset-raising powerhouse.

Be More Netflix

Most people like things easy.

Not with everything. Running marathons isn’t easy, for example, yet is surprisingly popular. Ditto rock climbing, origami, and doing your own tiling.

But, in the main, we don’t like effort – we just want stuff to get done. And so it’s no surprise that some of the biggest companies in the world are those that make life easier.
Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Amazon et al – they all thrive by taking hassle away.

And therein lies an important lesson for the asset management industry. By making life easier for prospective and current clients, you encourage them invest with you. This ties into the theme of digital transformation. These days, you need an interactive website that is actively helping your prospects and investors – rather than staid ‘brochureware’ that tells people you were founded in 1986 and that your HR Director is a keen cricketer.

Instead, your web presence should be a resource where potential and existing investors can quickly find information about a certain fund or product through a user-friendly interface, as well as thought leadership content that shows your expertise. This must be backed by a quality search facility, particularly if your site is large and complex, so visitors don’t have to wade through loads of text to find what they need. The fact is that people are increasingly used to these fast, integrated and interactive sites. The Amazon site – to expand on an earlier example – is like this and is one reason why that company is so successful, as it makes life easier.

If you design an interactive site, packed with up to date, helpful content, where it’s quick and easy for people to find exactly what they need, then you will reap the rewards. Many investors no longer rely on professional advice to guide their decisions. Instead, it’s second nature to get all the information they need from digital channels – and most wouldn’t even zonsider talking to a relationship manager. So, you want them to be coming to your website to find the information they need – as this shows you have authority and experience and increases your chances of attracting AuM.

Take ESG Seriously

This is my last point, but it’s a vital one.

A firm’s commitment to ESG is more important than ever before. People expect a vision and commitment that goes beyond simply making money and also concentrates on driving positive social and environmental change.

This must be a real commitment, rather than simply bunging a few quid at a social initiative and then forgetting about it. That approach simply won’t work any more as potential investors are increasingly unwilling to take a firm’s ESG stance at face value. Instead, it’s dug into and analysed to ensure they aren’t being hoodwinked – and any whiff of greenwashing or social washing will leave you high and dry.

Treat ESG as something to be proud of – not merely a box-ticking exercise. This is particularly important for small firms, as this is one area where you can steal a march on the big boys. People don’t trust big corporations, so – rightly or wrongly – tend to be suspicious of their ESG efforts and view them as insincere.

And every single person in your company, from the CEO to the people serving drinks in the canteen – should be across what you’re doing with ESG and why. Or, even better, directly involved in your efforts, so they can speak with passion and enthusiasm about it. This will shine through to potential investors.

But the absolute worst thing you can do is to boast about things that you can’t back up. If your ESG isn’t as good as it could be, then either reduce your messaging – or bolster what you’re doing. If you don’t do this you leave yourself open to criticism and a loss of investor confidence and trust.

 

If you want to find out how ProFundCom can help you use digital marketing to raise assets schedule a demo here

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