A firm-centric strategy and strong brand identity used to be sufficient for financial services firms trying to build a loyal customer base. If you could create a tailored product to meet consumer needs and buy into your brand with enough conviction, your clients usually did too.

But companies like Amazon have ushered in the era of client experience. Suddenly, defining your brand and appealing to your consumers based on reputation is no longer enough to keep your company afloat among the pool of competitors.

As market saturation increases and financial firms compete for a shrinking slice of the pie, customers have greater power than ever before to demand more from the companies competing for their valuable business. In a recent survey of over 5,000 global consumers, 71% of respondents said they believe personalisation is very important, and over 50 percent surveyed report a willingness to share their data for a more personalised customer experience.

It’s no surprise, then, that a focus on personalisation is at an all-time high with the rise of the customer-centricity. In fact, the Association for National Advertisers deemed “Personalisation” the 2019 Marketing Word of the Year. Interestingly, 2018’s Word of the Year was “Brand Purpose,” demonstrating the clear shift from a firm focus to a tailored client strategy. A highly personalised, tailored experience is in high demand, and for good reason.

So what does this mean for marketers at asset management firms? Despite often being a degree removed from the end-investor, the same lessons in personalisation apply for maintaining strong relationships with their distribution partners.

Learn from your data

In the digital age, we have more data at our fingertips than ever. It can seem overwhelming trying to make sense of all the information, which is why we’ve done some of our own digging to help you sort it out.

Based on research we recently conducted, we analysed the relationship between asset managers and their advisers to figure out how to optimise communication between firms and clients. We learned that 90% of advisers wanted less updates from asset managers, the reason being that they had an abundance of fluff to sift through before getting to the stuff that actually had meaning to them.

As financial marketers, it’s important to get to know your clients, their dislikes, and their preferences. This helps you tailor their experience so they will be more receptive, and your data is usually a great place to start.

Hone in on what’s relevant

These days, personalisation goes further than addressing your recipient by name and signing off your emails from a familiar relationship manager. though this type of personalistation is still necessary, today you can do more by effectively targeting content. Through tools such as preference centres and visitor tracking you can dive deeper into the interests of your users in order to give them content that better resonates.

We’ve all been there: You get a multi-paragraph email and scan the first few lines only to find out that its content doesn’t pertain to you. With mass emailing tools allowing firms to cast a wider net than ever, the unfortunate downside is that the many of the receipts fall outside the intended audience. The result? People are blasted with emails they weren’t interested in receiving in the first place (we wrote an interesting piece on combatting information overload in the attention economy here if you’d like more information). If you aren’t using a preference centre, this can lead recipients to unsubscribe from your emails entirely, even if it’s just one type of content they’d prefer not to receive. That’s a subscriber that you won’t get back and won’t be able to target later.

Instead of blasting out updates and announcements to an unfiltered master list, let your clients decide which information they would like to receive. At StoneShot, we help our asset management clients personalise their content through preference centers. These allow advisers they work with to specify their interests based on a topic or theme. You can then use the information gathered in this way to build targeted recipient lists based on user preferences. Please get in contact with us if you’d like more information about using preference centres in your emails.

To personalise even further, each piece of content can then be tagged, and the adviser receives an email with content that is tailored around their specific interests, saving them from a flooded inbox, and our clients from a content guessing-game.

While it’s beneficial to provide advisers an option to select what they want, sometimes it isn’t that easy. We understand that acknowledging what the adviser prefers, even if they don’t specifically tell you, is important. Things like this can be done through engagement scoring, which involves setting specific scores and goals for actions taken on certain pieces of content, Visitor tracking is another great tool that can help you build interest profiles for your recipients based on their behaviour Visitor tracking involves tracking a user’s journey from email, through to your website, you can track which content and pages the user is visiting while on your site, and this feeds back to StoneShot. Keeping tabs on metrics like these allows you to get to know your clients in a way that will ultimately help them receive the information they want to interact with, without them having to do anything. This is the type of personalisation that clients will appreciate. Targeting the right audience for your emails is a win win for you and your recipients, you’ll start to see less unsubscribes coming in and the recipient will be getting emails that pertain to them that they’ll want to read and engage with.

Personalisation is more than a buzzword. It’s a means to tailor successful interactions between your clients, and your firm to create an overall more enjoyable experience for both sides. With the start of a new year comes the opportunity to reevaluate your marketing and communication strategy with a fresh set of eyes. Don’t hesitate to dig into your data, ask for your client’s feedback, and go the extra mile to create a more thoughtful client experience (it pays off, we promise!)

Curious where to start or need help identifying your firm’s biggest opportunities for improvement? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!