Even when wealth management could rely on in-person events, we still had analytics: marketing departments could count event attendees or business cards dropped into a bowl. This was the golden age of the brochure: it seemed as if some heads of marketing didn’t mind if the copy was dry, vague or rife with clichés. It just needed to look good!
But once everything moved online, suddenly there was more to measure. Prospective clients first impressions are through your website, so web traffic matters. Clients also read and engage on social media, so social metrics matter. It’s not nearly enough for content to be interesting to the analyst writing it. Marketers now need to do more than just measuring their content’s performance; they must figure out how to leverage such information into improving business outcomes.
Easier said than done!
First of all, the C-suite doesn’t care about Likes and Shares. For wealth management CMOs, tracking the impact of social metrics against their business objectives remains elusive. It doesn’t help that mounting evidence suggests that over 60 percent of clicks and views data are inflated or fake.
Second, there’s the explosion of marketing-tech solutions competing to provide useful analytics. Wealth management firms are right to ask – how many of these providers can genuinely help win more business?
The democratization in financial technology is wildly uneven. Financial consumer apps are roaring, while client-relationship technology has lagged behind. For ten years I’ve been saying it: when it comes to social media, More Is NOT Always Better!
How should a wealth manager measure the success of their social media efforts? Or a lawyer? Or this author for that matter? Past experience as a wealth management influencer has led to the conclusion that less is more when the quality is apparent.
That’s why it’s encouraging to see that in 2021, marketers are finally embracing new ideas about measuring the relevance of their communications.
What do others say? “Online buzz doesn’t show up on your balance sheet. Clients and relationships do,” says Vered Zimmerman, founder of FinText, a firm which benchmarks financial content. “The real test of quality content is whether it speaks to clients in a style they like and about topics they care about.”
For example, to help marketers sharpen their content, FinText offers Gist! – a free webapp that automatically summarizes any article. It joins other free online tools increasingly used by financial content teams to improve content, like Grammarly, which helps spot drab writing, or the Hemingway app, which offers tweaks for a more human tone-of-voice.
Beyond technology, thirteen years of conversations with clients as a wealth management influencer have made apparent three main strategies for better understanding of analytics:
1. Test and learn
There’s a price for standing still. New technology can be hard to learn, tough to implement, and expensive to purchase. The return on inertia — the price of doing nothing — is what ends up costing you the most.
Instead of going big on digital transformation, start small! Test ideas on small-scale experiments: try a webinar platform for a limited series of events to test the waters; try out new digital formats and gauge the response; agree on a social advocacy campaign and bring in compliance early on to plan the experiment.
When something works well and generates quality positive feedback from clients – you know it’s time to think about scaling up. But it’s important to start somewhere!
2. Hunt for data
Financial advisors love talking about themselves, so it’s hardly surprising that they mostly care about their own metrics. By focusing so hard on how their content is performing, they neglect to see the bigger picture.
Analytics on widespread digital trends are useful, even when they don’t strictly apply to financial services. After all, people are people. Emotions and habits cut across domains. The Pew Center is an excellent source on US Internet usage, and their regular surveys on Internet habits are particularly insightful.
3. Don’t forget brand
Investment industry CEOs tend to rise up from sales or product, not necessarily from marketing. After years of looking at charts and figures, it’s what they expect to see from their C-Suite. This is easy enough when talking about AUM or leads. For marketing however, there’s the eternal tension between short-term, data-rich campaigns and long-term brand-building activities.
Wealth management is finding out just how costly it is to neglect brand. While most traditional wealth managers remain practically indistinguishable, it’s taken robo-adviser Nutmeg less than a decade to attract over 140,000 customers. Little wonder JP Morgan Chase just forked over £700,000,000!
Now those are the kind of analytics you want!