Blog Digital Matters. More Than You Think.

Posted July 28, 2017 by Mike Cogburn

With “digital transformation” initiatives happening left and right within the industry, clients often ask us what they should be prioritizing. It seems that everyone has a different definition of what digital transformation means, and what they are trying to accomplish with their version. I think some firms need to take a step back (and a deep breath) and remind themselves that the important thing is to keep customer experience front and center with these initiatives. Why? Because having a modern digital experience is more important to the bottom line for asset manager executives than they may have traditionally thought.

Almost 75% of advisors say their digital experience influences their perception of a firm’s overall capabilities. Your firm may have solid products run by the brightest portfolio management teams in the world, but let an advisor down when they make contact with your website, social media, or email – and that reputation takes a hit.

It should be easy for us to agree that our lives become more digital each day and that is true for advisors as well. In fact, the majority of advisors expect that their interactions with asset managers will be predominantly digital in just two and a half years. This should not be a surprise to most firms, as our research shows wholesaler meetings and phone calls have been on the decline for the past several years. Either way, asset managers need to be prepared to not only service advisors digitally but delight them by making it easy to do business wherever they are, with whatever task they are trying to accomplish.

Digital Experience Matters

Distribution Solutions Digital Matters More Than You Think illustrationSource: DST Research, Analytics, and Consulting, LLC in association with Horsesmouth

Brand perception and expectations for interaction are often thought as tangential to sales. But could the digital experiences of an advisor actually affect his decision to use one product over another? We think the answer is yes. DST has found that when advisors are evaluating similar funds with comparable performance, one in every four advisors say their product choice is influenced by their personalized digital experience with the fund manager

What Makes a “Good” Digital Experience?

It is NOT about having a flashy website. We believe that it comes down to understanding how to engage your customers throughout the entire arc of interactions they have with your company – and the ability to do so in a personalized fashion. Those who delight more of their customers digitally will automatically differentiate their brands in a crowded industry.

Last year we published a report on the industry’s Digital Engagement Leaders and we ranked asset managers on their abilities to deliver a cohesive digital experience across their web, email, and social channels. The five pillars of success we uncovered, and where leading firms scored highest, were:

  1. Delivering personalized, relevant content.
  2. Inviting interaction with the firm.
  3. Emphasizing what is unique about the firm and its products.
  4. Making it easy to do business.
  5. Providing consistent, high quality user experiences.

I am excited to revisit this report again in the coming fall season, as many clients have been working on improving engagement across their digital channels. I expect to see significant progress, even as we push for further innovation in this space – including more channels, such as the user experience with voice. There’s never a dull moment in this space, and it’s for good reason. Your customers are simply demanding it.

If you’d like to participate in our evaluation of Digital Engagement Leaders, or discuss this report, please contact us.

Mike Cogburn
Managing Consultant
Research, Analytics, and Consulting

categories: customer journey, advisor engagement/client engagement, branding, digital marketing, marketing strategy

The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of DST Systems, Inc. or its affiliates, subsidiaries, joint ventures, officers, directors, or management.

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