Asset managers can connect and build valued relationships with direct retail fund clients when they use content to support their business goals. These five steps can help design an investment funds content strategy that delivers engaged investors.
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein
Fund managers who successfully engage directly with investors enjoy the opportunity to capture a more lucrative share of the investment value chain.
1) Align content strategy with business strategy
An investment funds content strategy should closely support the goals of the investment management business.
There is little merit in publishing and distributing content, even of high quality, if it does not support a business goal. This might be generating brand awareness, positioning the brand as a niche expert, attracting inbound leads, etc.
The following blog post published by the boutique manager Bennelong is an effective piece of content as it positions the house as an authority in an overlooked part of the investment spectrum.
In 1000 words it concisely outlines the attractiveness of the niche, the drivers of performance and why an information gap exists that investors have the opportunity to exploit.
The boutique obviously manages funds in this market. However the writer and/or editor has the emotional intelligence to refrain from promoting their product.
Indeed its professionalism is enhanced by the mention of risk factors and acknowledging that other managers offer funds in the space.
This is a good example of a fund manager using content that aligns well with the business objective, in this case of marketing funds in the relatively low-profile ASX ex-20 sector.
2) Create content as a business asset
In order that an investment funds content strategy contributes to a manager’s business strategy, content should be designed to become a business asset.
Each piece of content should ideally resonate with investors over an extended period of time. In aggregate this will comprise a resource that demonstrates the manager’s superior insight in a particular area of investment expertise.
Valuable and relevant content that address investors’ pain points and meet their knowledge needs become a strategic asset to the business.
This short 500-word blog by AMP shares concise but helpful information to a specific audience niche, i.e. retail investors investigating the infrastructure market but with limited detailed knowledge of the sector.
Large banking groups’ content tactics usually tend to be part of a marketing campaign rather than long-term engagement building. Thus the content invariably focuses on promoting products.
However this is an effective example of sharing evergreen insight that will continue to deliver value as a business asset over the longer term.
3) Engage investors by delivering value from the first contact
According to Marketo1, consumers have: “never been easier to reach, never been harder to engage”. This is certainly true of direct funds investors.
Branded media such as promotional investment videos can contribute to certain limited business goals, e.g. raising brand awareness. However investors are instinctively tuning out from the mass of on-line product and brand promotion with which they are bombarded.
However managers that are able to deliver value from the first contact can position themselves as the leading informational provider in their chosen niche.
An asset manager delivering investor education and managing the client relationship secures a significantly greater share of total management fee income, compared to traditional business models.
The following video by Fidelity International shares some bite-size knowledge chunks that are likely to be helpful to the target niche. It concludes with the call to action of visiting the Fidelity website that delivers further insight to the target investor.
4) Deliver a superb customer experience
Our recent blog posts have highlighted the apparent sameness of investment management product offerings. The success of an investment funds content strategy depends on a manager’s ability to differentiate a product offering from, what appears to the retail investor to be, a ubiquitous choice of funds.
According to online content guru Jay Baer2: “Customer experience is the fundamental differentiator in business.”
Managers should aspire to deliver a customer experience that is so highly valued that it is recognised as a differentiating factor. Prospective investors are then more willing to enter into an on-going relationship.
This requires the manager to create content and provide on-line tools that make direct investors feel smarter and more confident around areas that they feel are critical to their specific investment outcomes.
Schroders UK have created an excellent e-book that walks through the issues that trouble the first-time investor. Written by a Sunday Times journalist it provides comfort around matters such as financial goals, savings, advisers, direct investing, asset allocation, fund types and major asset classes.
Refraining from any sales pitch the guide contributes to a customer journey that aims to position the fund manager as the candid friend that the prospective investor will in time come to know, like and trust.
5) Personalise content as part of an investment funds content strategy
In order for a fund manager to establish itself as an investor’s go-to resource in a particular niche it must be able to deliver value that is specific to a prospect’s unique circumstances.
Ideally this requires the manager to establish on-line data systems that yield intelligence about a prospective investor’s situation.
This comprises not just demographic details but ideally also on-line habits, attitudinal data, investment sophistication level and position on the buyer journey.
This enables prospects to be segmented and presented with content that is appropriate to their stage of the customer journey, such as:
- Little or no awareness of the brand– e.g. Fidelity pensions video
- Lacking basic investment knowledge – e.g. Schroders e-book
- Researching asset classes – e.g. Bennelong blog
- Investigating sector-specific risks – e.g. AMP blog
- Seeking re-assurance prior to investing – e.g. Virgin Money video
The following video produced by Virgin Money Australia is different from the previous examples in that it is much more product focussed.
The Direct Funds Marketing blog is highly critical of excessive and/or premature use of product promotional content. However this short video is targeted at a specific segment (over 60s) that has (hopefully) reached an advanced stage of its buyer journey.
It offers reassurance prior to an investment decision, and in this context is entirely appropriate if targeted correctly. The video is professionally made but the unpolished dialogue is intended to re-assure at a key buying stage.
An investment funds content strategy can help an asset manager establish itself as the leading informational provider in its chosen niche.
The content should endure as a business asset and in order to be shared and re-visited must be valuable, relevant and consistent.
Investment managers’ content is competing not just with other managers and financial news providers. It must fight for attention with social media, news and special interest websites, social media, You Tube, e-mail and even television.
This means that the investment manager aspiring to engage direct investors must become a publisher in a world where every brand is a media brand on a tablet.
However when executed skilfully, an investment funds content strategy can enable the asset manager to capture the client relationship.
This represents the elusive but most valuable link in the value chain.
How do you think managers can successfully implement an investment funds content strategy?
Our next blog post examines which content topics can be effective in building an engaged audience of targeted direct investors .
We have created a concise twenty-step guide to how an investment manager can establish a profitable and sustainable direct retail funds business through an engaged customer strategy; please click here to download.
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1 Marketo, “2016 Predictions: What Tomorrow’s Marketer Needs to Know Today”, 2015, Slide 7, http://www.slideshare.net/marketo/2016-predictions-what-tomorrows-marketer-needs-to-know-today/7-Page_8Marketo_Proprietary_and_Confidential
2 Baer, J, “A Customer Experience Book That is Much More than a Book”, 2016, http://www.convinceandconvert.com/customer-experience/a-customer-experience-book-that-is-much-more-than-a-book/