We recently finished our third annual Digital Engagement Leaders evaluation—our largest ever—of 43 small, medium and large asset managers across their advisor websites, LinkedIn, Twitter and email, on desktops, smartphones and voice-activated devices.
As before, our latest research into advisors’ expectations and needs, as well as best practices for engaging prospects and customers online, informed the criteria used to evaluate the firms’ digital experiences, especially in these five key areas:
- Delivering a highly relevant experience for advisors
- Communicating a unique value proposition for the firm and its products
- Making it easy to do business with the firm
- Demonstrating transparency and trustworthiness
- Advancing the advisor decision journey
While we saw a number of notable digital experiences, five asset management firms rose to the top.
Two common threads among the top five:
Delivering more relevant experiences through more robust personalization. All five leaders use behavioral data to personalize content and dynamically deliver that content in areas beyond the home page. Four of them personalize for unknown and un-logged-in advisors. Two firms—Franklin Templeton and PIMCO—are saving certain advisors time by letting them know which funds are available on their broker-dealer platform. On the Fidelity site, the “Similar Funds” recommendations on product profiles factor in data about the advisor, as well as the fund.
Differentiating the firm and their funds. Each of the firms have taken steps to set themselves apart, though in different ways. OppenheimerFunds CIO Krishna Memani doesn’t shy away from strong opinions and straight talk, which helps the firm’s commentary stand out in a sea of sameness. Putnam Investments taps into its FundVisualizer data to dynamically tell a differentiating story on product profiles. For example, a dynamic chart shows the low correlations for popular bond indexes versus the Diversified Income Trust at the top of the fund profile.
The Next Frontier for Personalization
The leaders are personalizing advisor experiences based on a number of factors. But with industry forces changing how advisors make investment decisions, it’s more important than ever for firms to be able to identify whether or not advisors have discretion (individually choosing the majority of their clients’ investments) and start incorporating that into the equation for segmentation and personalization.
In addition to highlighting this year’s Digital Engagement Leaders, the 80+ page Engaging Advisors Based on Investment Discretion: Digital Engagement Leaders 2018 report also shows how asset managers are implementing the emerging best practices for both advisors who have, and don’t have, discretion. Asset managers that can keep pace with advisors’ evolving online needs and preferences to deliver more relevant and useful digital experiences over the next few years will earn a competitive advantage and set themselves apart from the crowd.
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