WORDS BY TOM WRIGHT, DIRECTOR OF CONTENT & PERFORMANCE MARKETING SERVICES, INCISIVE MEDIA
Coming as I do from the tech sector, I’ve had to get used to a new set of financial acronyms, some of them confusing: IT has changed from Information Technology to Investment Trust, CIO has ceased to mean Chief Information Officer – the overall Head of IT – and is now Chief Investment Officer, an altogether different kettle of fish.
One particular acronym originating from the financial sector has come to dominate tech marketing: ROI – Return on Investment. This is the idea that marketing isn’t a cost centre the board thinks of as a kind of tax on the business, but is instead a team making investments that generate demonstrable revenue growth.
Behind this trend is the decisive impact of new technology on marketing practice – the widespread adoption of ‘MarcomTech’ to drive digital interaction between brands and their customers, ‘marketing automation’ platforms like Oracle Eloqua, Marketo and HubSpot, and the connection of data between them and sales CRM via API.
In fact, according to analyst group Gartner, marketing’s spending on technology is now so large that it rivals that of the IT team, while rival tech analyst Forrester sees so much convergence between the disciplines of marketing and IT, that ultimately we will see the rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist – a merging of the roles of CMO and CIO.
Many believe that as this convergence takes off, sales will naturally come to be regarded not as a dominant revenue channel, but as one of several marketing channels – and just another way by which we communicate with customers.
In this brave new world, sales and marketing will need close alignment: singing in harmony from the same hymn sheet, with the aim of producing a consistent, on-message customer experience where the sales message is a counterpoint to the marketing melody.
Achieving this goal arguably requires a board-room shakeup where a place is made at the table for the orchestra’s chief message composer and conductor, as the asset management CMO demands that sales and marketing messages are in tune. Unsurprisingly, an Economist Intelligence Unit report, finds we are a way off yet – some 90% of marketing professionals worldwide believe a shake-up of how they work will be required.
In recent months, I’ve spoken to a few asset managers who are well and truly on the journey to the digital transformation of marketing. In these organisations you can see documented content marketing strategies, technology empowering the identification of repeat website visitors, API links between web and email analytics, content experience personalisation, and most importantly of all, content consumption data reaching distribution sales CRM, triggering phone calls to interested customers, and generating sales.
At the other end of the scale, I’ve found static websites with poor SEO that are invisible to Google, and the best thought leadership content the organisation possesses kept locked in the minds of their fund managers, aired only at F2F events and PR.
Five steps to proving content marketing ROI in asset management
If you’re somewhere behind on the road to the digital transformation of marketing, you should be thinking in terms of improving your metrics so you can make the business case for marketing investment.
Here’s five things every marketer should measure to drive content marketing success and prove ROI:
1. REACH: Set KPI benchmarks on the total number of web visits and the number of pages individuals access. Track how ‘sticky’ your content is – the greater the number of users and the more content they engage with the better.
2. ENGAGEMENT: Track the actions potential buyers take on reading your content – do they continue on the site? Subscribe to a newsletter? Are they a returning visitor or new? Check dwell time; how long are customers spending with your content – and why?
3. SHARING: If someone thinks highly enough of your content to share it via social media, they are doing so because they agree with you, and sharing your viewpoint will reflect well on them. This has a value greater than clicks.
4. SCORE CONTENT BY INTENT: Grade your content i.e., can you imagine a sales person starting a conversation with a potential customer based on that content? Content extolling the track record of a fund and its managers, and how they go about delivering Alpha is Actionable Sales Intelligence (we call this Decision Content because sales can start a conversation about a specific fund immediately)
5. CONVERSION: This is the Holy Grail of content marketing: did a customer think well enough of you to engage? This starts with simple actions like newsletter sign ups, but ultimately you need to measure and start tracking whether those who engage with your content are engaging with your products.
Marketers who can demonstrate their activity is generating revenue with data don’t have to ask for ‘budget’ and, just like fund managers that demonstrate their return on investment through performance, they speak the language of the board.
Want to know more about sales and marketing alignment in asset management? We’re producing a report, register here to express interest. (see what I did there? It’s a content marketing call to action).