For a number of years now, investment managers around the world have been looking at how they complement their in-person/relationship-based models to bring in more digital ways of interacting. This move has built momentum over the course of the past year due to the COVID crisis and as such firms are re-evaluating how an all-encompassing “Digital First” culture can benefit clients and the investment manager themselves.
Historically, firms treated Digital as a part of the proposition: the end rather than the means to an end. This is now changing as firms put digitisation at the core of the customer journey and broader service model, where digital engagement with clients occurs every step of the way.
A major benefit of this move is the ability to gather data from all of these digital touchpoints and use this to help with a mix of business purposes.
In this series of articles, we will discuss how firms can take this engagement and transform it into usable intelligence to change how investment managers engage with their clients.
As a client moves through the journey with an investment manager, they now leave a digital trail indicating where they have been, where their interests lie, and where they are in the buying cycle. If firms can harvest and harness this data, it represents an invaluable resource to transform the way firms engage with and service clients.
As firms have developed their digital capabilities, they have often been built without a full eco-system in mind. Instead, point solutions have been developed and the business case for integrating them has tended not to be there. As such, websites, marketing emails, client reporting, query management, product subscriptions and more are all treated very separately.
Digital marketing teams often look to track analytics in a way that demonstrates ROI from a marketing perspective in a traditional way; number of website hits, number of marketing emails opened, number of attendees to events (digital or in person).
This means that:
- Distribution teams have to put in significant effort to build a fuller picture of individual clients – if the information is available at all
- Marketing teams may only be gaining a superficial view of their impact across the business and under-playing the impact they can have in the buying cycle
The (Very Near) Future
We are already seeing leading digital investment managers make moves to build digital insights across their client base. In the future, the firms who make use of these insights to understand their clients, anticipate their needs, and develop their offerings will have the competitive edge. They will achieve this through:
- Lead Management and Demand Generation capabilities, where client engagement data will flag individuals who are demonstrating enough engagement to warrant direct action from the manager
- Personalisation of Journeys and Experiences, where firms nurture clients through the digital journey by automatically presenting the right content, through the right channels at the right time
- Measuring Digital Effectiveness, where marketing and client service teams will gain a deeper and more meaningful understanding of how they are impacting clients, improving ROI and client retention
- Predictive Analytics, where product and distribution teams can have a better “finger on the pulse” of their clients, predicting future macro trends as well as trends at the client level e.g., at risk clients.
What do you need to make this happen?
A number of elements need to come together to deliver on the benefits above. To do this, investment managers need to be set up to track individuals on their journeys across the client lifecycle.
We will cover these in subsequent articles, but in summary:
- People: Skills within marketing, technology and distribution teams, and how roles and responsibilities change in terms of managing clients
- Technology: Tools to capture, store, derive and distribute insight across the organisation
- Data: The infrastructure to drive insight from these expansive datasets and the tooling to run the analysis and make this available to internal teams
- Process & Governance: Defining repeatable processes which seek to automate a lot of this activity but also to ensure that rules around client contact and any regulatory rules are followed
Like other industries, Investment Management is now seeing the potential that Digital can provide to the way a firm operates and how it engages with its clients. A lot can be learned from how banks, insurers, and other types of firms have developed their approaches and can leap frog some of the early teething pains.
Over the course of this series of articles, we will explore these future trends and how firms will need to change in order to keep pace.