WORDS BY HARDEEP TAWAKLEY, CONTENT STRATEGIST; WRITER; EDITOR; MARKETS & FINANCE
Content’ is the buzzword driving many marketing strategies today and yet the asset management sector remains behind the curve when it comes to creating the ‘right’ types of content, and distributing it in a way that allows them to generate true brand engagement, or real and actionable sales intelligence.
Finding solutions to these challenges was the driving theme at the Investment Content Marketing conference this year, held at the America Square Conference Centre in London. Below we round up some of the core topics which were discussed by marketing experts from Barclays and Schroders, among others, at the conference.
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1) Content decision makers: Adapt or die
Many asset management firms face a similar challenge when it comes to using content as a marketing tool. From internal team structures that are not agile enough to produce editorial that is interesting – or relevant – by the time it reaches the reader, to the struggle in getting content past the ‘iron gates’ that are the compliance team.
The same issues were prevalent at Barclays, a firm that had the additional challenge of needing to use content as marketing tool to help it rebuild trust following the financial crisis.
The bank’s head of content strategy, Charlotte Povey, told delegates the group realised it had to adapt its content strategy or risk appearing “irrelevant” in the new world of multi-channel, on-the-go and time poor consumers.
Barclays answer was to place customers at the heart of its content strategy with the creation of an Editorial Board. The value of this Board has been seen in the creation of a framework that works with a range of departments to continuously provide commentary in different forms all year round. It has also managed to whittle down its production process from six weeks to just 72 hours.
2) The importance of analytics, analytics, analytics
Asset managers are collectively overloading their audience with information which in over 90% of cases is never opened or read.
Schroders’ Peter Beckett found that in a typical week around 300-500 emails are sent to advisers by asset management groups. A further 100 emails are received from the trade press. In addition to this, each adviser receives six print B2B publications in the post.
How should an asset manager approach this information overload?
Part of the solution is going back to old fashioned basics according to Beckett, who noted a personal relationship or connection with the reader helps ensure the content is both relevant and better read when it reaches an advisor’s inbox.
More importantly, the significance of analytics must not be overlooked – how else can you truly understand your audience, respond to them and engage better with them next time?
3) Not everyone needs to be a publisher to be good at content marketing
It is no secret large asset management firms have been on a hiring spree and boosted their content departments either by establishing editorial boards or using in-house publications to reach clients.
Yet at the other end of the scale, one asset manager revealed how its simple, regular, and timely blogs have grown alongside the firm’s assets under management over the past six years.
TwentyFour Asset Management published its first blog in 2011, using the format as a core marketing tool for the firm which had launched just three years prior.
The group’s head of distribution John Magrath noted the first blog was delivered to the group’s 20 clients by hand, before later being automated on a subscriber basis. Since then over 667 blogs have been published, averaging eleven blog posts each month and reaching a subscriber base of today of 4,151 each time.
The blogs have been instrumental in helping TwentyFour achieve both brand engagement, by delivering core thought leadership articles, and as a sales tool that assists in promoting the groups fund range – proving that smaller amounts of the right content, rather than lots of bad content, is the key to a successful marketing strategy.
4) Watch your language
‘Fair, clear and not misleading’ are the cornerstone of the rules put in place by the Financial Conduct Authority when it comes to promoting financial products. But within these and other FCA rules, there are an abundance of grey areas that remain, well, grey.
From using too small text for risk warnings, to the use of emotive language that suggests a product will benefit from specific policies or is inducing readers to engage in financial activity, the number of common mistakes made in campaigns is liable to catch many firms out according to Eversheds Sutherland regulatory director Michael Booth.
There is no clear solution as to how to deal with these grey areas, but caution is warranted by marketers when promoting products.