It’s easy to fall into the “Go Big or Go Home” mantra. After all, it’s become a popular, cultural belief. So, why shouldn’t it apply to Financial Services? Select asset managers and distributors have been dramatically expanding their digital engagement efforts, re-branding and rolling out new TV spots. In other words, going BIG with marketing spend.
However, we recommend that before providers embark on that path, they should first go “small,” meaning figure out which targeted investors their products are engineered to help, by going “home,” meaning get to the heart of the matter by studying the needs of those end investors. Providers need to immerse their organizations in the needs and sentiment of their end customers and shareholders. Many asset managers have become too conditioned to their product thinking and understand retail investors only through their intermediary partners and are selecting a fast follower strategy by default and limiting their value add to partners. In our view, gone are the days of being a me-too provider.
Going home to current retail investor sentiment and needs illustrates why long-term, overly optimistic and retirement messaging alone may not have the desired impact. Even before Brexit, uncertainty was already present, as observed in our recent focus groups:
“People are very up and nervous about what’s to come...”
“There’s advisors who can do this for me...but, I just like putting it in a bank account and getting very little returns. I know it’s not risky...”
“I’d rather just wait for it, really another crisis is pretty much what I am waiting for to then get back in aggressively...”
There’s empirical data to support. In our annual survey of 5,000+ households, the number one financial goal of retail investors is to build up their emergency fund.
While discussion of new entrant or so-called "robo" advisors often centers on their potential threat, established distributors and asset managers can learn something from "robo" messaging, offerings and digital engagement to specific groups. In other words, they are going smaller and doing something different to create resonance. Through micro-segmentation, design persona analysis and journey mapping is where product innovation and message effectiveness will be found. By going small and going home, providers will find their way to BIG results.