SS&C Blog

Advisors are dissatisfied with widening digital gaps. Here's what to do

Monday, February 5, 2018 | By Julia Binder

Advisors are dissatisfied with widening digital gaps. Here's what to do

Advancements in marketing technology are accelerating at an unprecedented pace. Combined with access to troves of behavioral and transactional data, these developments enable brands to provide highly individualized interactions and recommendations to engage with their prospects and customers.

What does that mean? For example, offers change on ads that are displayed to us based on the actions we just took online. Or, following a website visit a few moments ago, the copy in the email that was sent this morning changes dynamically as we open it this afternoon. But the gap between the digital experiences financial advisors have with asset managers versus everywhere else is growing ever wider. Aging infrastructure and a lack of urgency in cleaning up and integrating data sources are holding firms back to the point where catching up becomes ever more challenging.

Our research finds that more than half of advisors expect their interactions with asset managers to be predominantly digital in the next few years. Already it is more difficult to schedule in-person meetings and get advisors to take phone calls. But the digital experiences advisors have with asset managers are unsatisfactory for 4 of 5 advisors.

The pressure on firms to optimize every opportunity they have to get in front of advisors is increasing exponentially, yet the experiences they deliver online typically don’t reflect what data and technology enable in other industries. Asset managers can start by closing some basic gaps.

Close the mobile gap

Advisors’ reliance on mobile devices is increasing, particularly for reading news updates and email every day. We predicted that at least 70% of asset managers will have responsively designed email in 2017. Of the asset managers we reviewed for Digital Engagement Leadership, 58.1% have responsively designed email. Our research on advisors in association with Horsesmouth finds that not only are the majority of advisors using smartphones on a daily basis, nearly half are using Alexa, Siri, Google Home, or Cortana. So this is another new channel for asset managers to explore.

Close the email gap

Our research finds that more than half of advisors would be more likely to open email from asset managers who don’t send them email too frequently. And 2 of 3 advisors expect asset managers to enable them to customize their email subscriptions. While frequency is an easy attribute to add, we expected just 15% of asset managers to enable advisors to choose the frequency with which they receive email. And we were wrong! Just under 13 percent of asset managers let subscribers choose the frequency for receiving email. Letting advisors customize their subscriptions is essential to keeping them from clicking the Delete button when they receive your firm’s email.

Close the social networking gap

Our research on advisors in association with Horsesmouth finds that more than half of advisors are likely to follow asset managers on LinkedIn that provide them with ideas to advise their clients. Our research finds that most asset managers post content with recommendations and opinions, but just 6.5% of firms ask for an opinion or response, prompting the exchanges that are at the heart of social networking.

We know that marketing teams at many firms are busy optimizing their marketing technology stacks and working on integrating data sources. But those efforts shouldn’t prevent you from simultaneously addressing the critical gaps that prevent or deter advisors from using their mobile devices, your email, or your social platforms to engage with you. 2018 is the year to be agile and close the gaps before they become too wide to bridge.

Research, Analytics, and Consulting