Postcards from London – New Media/ Digital Marketing, RDR, and Sales Reward Reflections – May 2012

Just arrived back into a cold and wet Melbourne off the back of two and a half weeks in London.  This is the first ‘postcard’ in a series of reflections from our latest UK visit.

The most common topics arising from our calling program with existing clients, prospects, and wider industry networks were;

  • RDR (again) and associated digital marketing/ new media strategies,
  • Linking new marketing metrics back to actual sales output results (similar to the work we already do integrating sales process (CRM) metrics back to the commercial DNA measures tracked by Fishtank), and,
  • Renewed appetite for Sales Reward scenario modelling, and using our Sales Reward solutions as a performance management tool (more about this, and why, in another post to follow)

Given the substantial industry focus on the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), and the corresponding activity that has occurred so far, our overriding conclusion from the visit was that the ‘UK may actually becoming the current epicentre of digital marketing innovation for Wealth Managers’

RDR 101 Requirements

The following list of  non-negotiable compliance work requirements appear largely on track across Investment Managers, and is now almost complete:

  1. Share/ fund class preparation
  2. Share/ fund pricing
  3. Tick RDR compliance (but continue to fret on some remaing grey areas)
Our blog contains a steady stream of related share class and pricing news, and we will continue to post further key announcements.

Industry Disruption Opportunities:

Having rapidly digested the 101 requirements, industry thought leaders have been more focused considering the strategic implications of RDR.  In particular the disruptive impact(s) on the wider industry and business models, and the opportunities that result.

Public announcements have included enhanced on-line experiences, adviser education and assistance, direct and execution only propositions – the most recent notable announcement being the enhanced D2C propositions from Schroders, Threadneedle, Jupiter and Henderson.

New Media and Digital Marketing:

Just about everyone has recognised the importance of New Media and Digital Marketing – as a strategic lever for responding to RDR.

Most players we speak with believe they have industry leading capability(?).  In most cases this has included substantial efforts into expanding proprietary on-line ‘real estate’.

Content Placement:

Content engagement statistics appear to have substantially increased  across the industry this year (particularly among the adviser community).

Dedicated industry new media channels (eg. Citywire TV, AssetTV, etc.) are all actively promoting the power of their respective offerings, with some interesting ‘benchmarking’ across UK retail managers.

Further investigation beyond the headline numbers is probably required to understand the ‘influence’ of these channels and the ‘quality’ of participants.

For those parties who have invested wisely in intelligent Content Management Solution (CMS), and have appropriately configured tracking and downstream activity, valuable measures exist to evaluate the actual ROI from these ‘selective’ options.

Content Strategy/ Engagement, Scotoma ?

Whilst so much progress has been made with digital capabilities and usage of New Media – the truth is the industry is coming from a pretty low base.

Outside our immediate industry, our discussions with  Digital Experts revealed a reoccurring theme that Investment Managers are yet to ‘figure out’ social media and social space.

This ‘blind spot’ in social media engagement and understanding may also represent a great opportunity to cut through what is becoming a very cluttered, and congested digital world.

Beyond expanding on-line proprietary ‘real estate’, engagement approaches need to evolve toward having a conversation with relevant customer segments – the power and success of social media is about having a human dialogue.

This is largely new ground for the Investment Managers – being more open and willing to engage in different ways that build trust.

The Fishtank Twitter Investment Managers  list continues to expand,  but the majority of content is self promotional, with very limited evidence active listening (or conversations) taking place.

It’s a longer post than usual, so perhaps best to conclude with wise words from a source that knows this topic better than most.  It is a good advice and worth  ‘book-marking’ for regular review:

That ‘zero moment of truth’ – Ian Morgan Industry Director, Financial Services, Google UK Ltd

“The financial advice industry is changing at a time when consumer behaviour is evolving. We’re observing a trend towards self-direction – people are pursuing information and ‘advice’ through a range of sources, increasingly online. We believe RDR will accelerate this trend. Online searches for financial advice related queries have increased 42% since Jan 2009, 450,000 searches a month in the UK.

Through online research, consumers are considering a range of information and options before they even encounter an IFA or provider – going through what we call the ‘zero moment of truth’.

A challenge for the industry is to understand not only consumer demand (eg. regulated advice versus simply product education?) but how to position their brand to be visible, recognisable and engaging at critical stages of the purchase journey.

There is huge opportunity for investment houses, IFAs and banks alike to consider their customer segmentation, acquisition and servicing models, and drive innovative digital marketing strategies to succeed in the post RDR market.”  Source: 60 Seconds on RDR – The Fiancial Service Forum.


To obtain a complementary sample of the Social Media Intelligence – Retail Distribution Review (RDR) UK Report please contact our New Media Marketing Manager, Eben Hocking []