Are you committing these Seven Deadly Twitter Sins?

By: Deb Well
PAICR Board of Directors member
PAICR Member since 2006

Until now, asset managers have been slow to adopt Social Media. But more are finally jumping into the “social” waters, primarily via LinkedIn and Twitter.  But are they getting the most out of their efforts?

With more firms (and content) vying for eyeballs, making your social media presence relevant, meaningful, and impactful is more important than ever.  If your firm is committing any of these “Twitter Sins”, making a few changes (some simple) can likely upgrade engagement activity with your content.

SIN #1: LACK OF VISUALS

Numerous studies support the fact that you are more likely to get engagement on Twitter if you include a picture, video, or even emoticons with your text.  Yes, a few high-profile folks can get by on just their words – Bill Gross or Jeff Gundlach don’t need visuals.  But most of the content being shared by firms does not carry that weight.  So look at adding images – it could potentially boost your engagement by up to 200%!

SIN #2: NOT MOBILE OPTIMIZED

Over 50% of traffic on Twitter is mobile.  If the link you are sharing is to your site and it is not Mobile optimized – this is a big fail.

SIN #3: NOT TAILORING FOR TWITTER

How often have you seen this – a Tweet that shares the first sentence or so of a blog post, but is cut off mid-thought with a link to the post?  Likely, the person was using the automatic “share” function from their blogging platform, which generated the tweet when the post goes live. This can also lead to awkward cutoffs in the text shared.

Automation can dilute personalization.  Whether it is that blog auto-poster, or a social media management platform that posts the same content across different channels, you need to put in the effort to optimize your content for Twitter – or any specific social platform – to get the most out of it.

SIN #4: BAD TIMING

Do your tweets that go out every Monday at 9 a.m. perform poorly?  This is not a surprise. Everyone who does email marketing knows the importance of optimizing send time – and it is no different in the social realm.

There are plenty of studies about the best time to post for all the various social platforms. And don’t forget to review your own Twitter stats. Analyzing when your followers are engaging with your content should help you fine tune your tweet schedule to get the most out of it.

SIN #5: NOT TAGGING

So your portfolio manager is on CNBC today?  Did you remember to tag @CNBC in your post?  Or perhaps your analyst was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article.  Did you tag @WSJ?

Tagging relevant parties in your posts increases the visibility of your content and the likelihood that it will get re-shared.    Bottom line: strategic use of this function can be a big boost for your content.

SIN #6: NOT GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CONTENT

In following several asset managers’ Twitter feeds, I will often see that they use a couple of different versions of tweets to share their blog posts or other content. Which is great … BUT I see those shares on the same day…and then never again.

Given all the effort put into creating that content, one or two measly tweets on a given day is not getting the biggest bang for your buck! Yes, vary the visuals and blurbs, but tweet it today – and a couple of days from now – and maybe a week after that.  Space it out and recycle that great content!

SIN #7: BAD HASHTAGS

Tweets with Bad Hashtags aren’t just the ones #with #too #many #hashtags #to #read.  Bad hashtags are ones that are randomly placed and not well thought out.

Do your research. Go to sites like Hastagify or Keyhole to gain insights and get the most out of your hashtags. Or search your proposed hashtag to see if it is trending; if it isn’t it might be worth going back to the #drawingboard.

The takeaway: Twitter (and other social media platforms) can be a powerful tool to engage and expand your network and brand voice. To maximize your efforts, make sure you are avoiding these pitfalls, fine tuning your messages so that they achieve their greatest potential in reach and engagement.

 

Agile Marketing in the Age of Disruption

By: Deb Well
PAICR Board of Directors member and 2017 Annual Conference Co-chair
PAICR Member since 2006

“I don’t want to scare you all, but….”  Lee Kowarski, DST Systems – PAICR Annual Conference Opening Keynote Speaker

We are being disrupted.  And we will continue to be disrupted at an increasingly faster pace.  And we need to embrace change, or else risk getting swept away or being made redundant or irrelevant.

That was just one of the very important messages delivered to the attendees of the PAICR Annual Conference in New York on November 13-14th.

Opening keynote speaker Lee Kowarski discussed industry consolidation, new competitive and disruptive entrants, technology adaptation, regulatory pressure, and changing advisor business models as just some of the catalysts of change reshaping the competitive landscape for asset managers. And he laid out the dramatic changes we all need to be thinking about to meet these challenges.

The distributor landscape is shrinking, asset managers are rationalizing their product lineups, and the future belongs to managers at opposing ends of the spectrum: those with broad product suites or specialized/niche players.

However, for the room full of asset management marketing professionals, there was an important piece of upbeat news – marketing is more important than ever before, and distribution teams are relying on them and becoming better partners than in the past.

All About Agile

Along with disruption, many of our conference sessions zeroed in on the concept of agile marketing – with both a big “A” and a little “a”.

Keynote speaker Andrea Fryrear of Agile Sherpas took on the big “A” Agile Marketing.  One of her key takeaways was about starting small – both in terms of implementing Agile once you return from the conference, but also in terms of creating an Agile marketing plan.  Build. Measure. Learn. Repeat. Start small and build up to scale.  Most firms now plan big, with the risk of failing big.  Starting small allows for learning from small failures with less risk and building small successes to bigger successes based on the knowledge gained from what you have measured and learnt.

Killing Marketing?

Keynote speaker Robert Rose introduced another disruptive concept – what if you killed marketing as it is practiced today?  He told the audience stories of several firms who have changed things up to look at marketing as a business model, rather than a functional cost center. They’ve re-invented their marketing as the function that invests in building audiences. Robert is the Chief Content Adviser for the Content Marketing Institute. Content Marketing has been THE buzzword in asset management over the last few years, so Robert’s talk was very timely, as well as the article on content marketing he contributed to our PAICR Blog before the conference.

Learn. Connect. Succeed

PAICR’s Annual conference has always stood as a great place for all attendees to learn about best practices in our industry for marketing and communication professionals and what they need to keep/make their firm more efficient and stay competitive. It is also a great way to connect with old contacts and meet new people, all of whom make up our incredibly supportive PAICR network that we can call on as a resource when needed.  In taking this time to come together at the PAICR Annual Conference, we all walk away with the keys to help our firms succeed, and to be ready for the many changes that face us as asset management marketers as we go forward into 2018.

Are you a PAICR Member? Learn about the benefits of membership here.

Want to become more involved, maybe help plan next year’s RFP or Annual Conference?  Send us an email and let us know

Constructing the Messages at the Heart of Your Marketing

By: Kyle Purcell
President of Purcell Communications
PAICR Gold Sponsor
www.purcellcom.com/

Marketing is often built around factors that are hard to control – technology, shifting tastes, competition. Many of those factors are topics at this week’s PAICR Annual Conference. But there’s one aspect of marketing that firms can control – their message. How effectively – and consistently – does your firm communicate its most important messages?

When we say messages, we mean the information and ideas that are central to how your company invests, or otherwise tries to meet investor goals. They typically include:

  • Product and service information
  • Investment strategies
  • Investor suitability and benefits
  • Performance perspectives
  • Market point of view and outlook

In our experience, there are two areas of this “core” content that investment firms struggle with most.

The first is maintaining and refreshing it. Perspectives and points of view will evolve with the market environment, and engaging with investment staff or other time-pressed senior executives on a regular basis can be frustrating on both ends.

The second challenge is incorporating these messages consistently across all investor touchpoints. If you pull together every communication about a particular investment product – including RFPs and call center scripts – they sometimes don’t sound like the same product.

Building the Messages on Which Everything Else Is Built

There are 3 steps you can take to enhance your control over your firm’s messages.

  • Document ­— Core messages often exist only in materials that have since been produced and archived, such as annual reports, marketing collateral, or RFPs. We advise clients to gather and document core messages separately from the production of any one collateral piece. That way, your interactions with investment staff are focused on getting the most important input in the most efficient way.
  • Update — Re-engage with your company’s subject matter experts on a regular basis by asking for updated input in a structured way. That way the process remains the same for your SMEs even when marketing strategies change.
  • Distribute Make your core content an input to any communication process you have.

Constructing your messages around this core content builds consistency and credibility in your communications, while also making your communication processes simpler and more efficient.

Purcell logo

Contact:  Derek Napoli, Director of Business Development – (240) 452-5200

Why Are Asset Managers Expanding Beyond Thought Leadership Video?

By: Stu Siegal
Executive Producer/Creative Director, VLCreative
PAICR Gold Sponsor – Videolink
www.vlcreativegroup.com

Video has become an essential marketing tool for asset managers of all sizes.  Its power to forge a personal connection with portfolio managers who have been entrusted with great responsibility is now widely accepted and utilized. The good news for financial services marketers is that many asset management firms now regularly create Thought Leadership video, and that’s being well received by its target audience.

It’s also the bad news.  Sort of.

Because the bar has been raised, asset management firms now find it challenging to cut through the rapidly growing clutter of thought leadership video. Static videos of portfolio managers (PMs) in conference rooms discussing their philosophies, strategies, and perspectives are still an effective tool in the video marketer’s toolkit, but they are no longer enough on their own. As more and more of these types of videos are published, they can very quickly start to look too similar to each other.

So, what are smart marketers in asset management starting to do?

They’re thinking visually. They’re utilizing story and character. And they’re focusing on presentation delivery and tone in ways that can help differentiate their brand and their talent.

We recently completed a series of asset management profile videos that are a great illustration of how to get creative, tell a story, and establish your brand as a thought leader. Here are the three steps we took to help the brand and its sub-advisors stand out.

  1. Find a Story – Stories have a unique power to move people emotionally and intellectually. The end-goal of thought leadership is to make your PM’s relatable and trustable. What stories can you tell that will accomplish this goal? To find them, we held conversations with the brands in this series to discover who they were as people, and what their interests were outside of work.  In addition to meeting some very interesting people, we followed a creative path that led to a series of thought leadership videos featuring PMs connecting their professional philosophies to their hobbies. These included surfing, archery, and enjoying fine wines.
  2. Think Visually – Surfing, archery, and wine each made for distinct visual metaphors for the abstract topics involved in asset management. They instantly made their brands stand out amongst their peers. And because they were all tied to the stories of the portfolio managers, they brought an added layer of authenticity to each video. They were also a refreshing break from the traditional talking head approach to video.
  3. Focus on Character – Successful asset management is built upon performance, but performance is driven by portfolio managers, analysts, and management teams.  By focusing on those individuals as real people, we were able to maximize the ability of the video to help investors connect to them.  That connection builds trust and confidence in the investment team, both key drivers of ROI.

Thought leadership video is and will continue to be a staple of video marketing in the asset management space. The forms that it takes, however, will continue to grow and evolve in step with the changes in the video marketing landscape. The brands that take a fresh look at the format and tell great stories about interesting people are the brands that will cut through the growing clutter and earn the visibility and interest that all content marketers seek. So, what’s your brand’s story?

VideoLink-Logo-AVI-SPL-Vert_PMS

 

From Commodity to Being Toasted

By: Tucker Slosburg
President, Lyceus Group
http://www.lyceusgroup.com/
PAICR Secretary and Board of Directors member
Speaker at the 2017 PAICR Annual Conference

Don Draper: “The Federal Trade Commission and Reader’s Digest have done you a favor…what Lee Jr. said is right, you can’t make those claims and neither can your competitors.”

Lee Garner Senior: “So, we got a lot of people not saying anything that sells cigarettes?”

Don Draper:  Not exactly, this is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal. We have six identical companies making six identical products. We can say anything we want.

Lee Garner Junior: But everyone else’s tobacco is toasted.”

Don Draper: No, everybody else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strike’s is toasted.”

If you replace the word cigarette with active management, this video might hit too close to home. From Barron’s to the Financial Times, we’re seeing a lot of volley back and forth on whether active management is dead or not. Given that we all have jobs, we can assume it’s alive. However, the challenge before us as marketers is not selling active management anymore. It’s distinguishing why your firm’s approach to active management matters, works, and is better than everyone else’s.

Yes Virginia, You Are Probably a Commodity

Whether your portfolio managers believe it or not, Morningstar and other rating companies have helped commoditize funds into particular styles and categories. Performance after 2008 didn’t help. Oh, and how many of us lament style drift? I’ve seen fund companies win Lipper awards for categories they would never consider themselves in. “Long-only quality managers” are a dime a dozen to reporters.

More and more firms are trying to tackle this problem through increased content marketing. At first blush, it seems simple: write, edit, distribute. Creating one white paper/blog post/missive/commentary is easy. Now consider that most of your competitors are thinking the same thing and you’ve got to keep this going. Once on this treadmill, you’ve got to keep it up.

Be Opinionated

If you’re merely recapping what the market did over a given time period, you’re not offering much to your reader. Chances are they, (a) already know what the S&P did the last month, (b) read about why it moved a given direction in The Wall Street Journal, and (c) will quit reading your post if they see nothing new.

This is your chance to shape the conversation. If no one else is saying “it’s toasted,” then your firm has free reign. Additionally, you can bring in your public relations consultant to push these ideas to the press. This is how you write the news instead of recapping it in a monthly letter.

On that point, I submit a tip from Bret Stephens, The New York Times columnist, who recently offered op-ed tips for aspiring writers:

“An op-ed should never be written in the style of a newspaper column. A columnist is a generalist, often with an idiosyncratic style, who performs for his readers. An op-ed contributor is a specialist who seeks only to inform them.”

Peak Content Saturation?

Many pundits, myself included, worry about peak content saturation. Like the knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, content marketing isn’t quite dead yet. I’d ague it’s becoming more nuanced, and that’s where voice matters, but not in the way you would think. Historically, we would break down the difference by channels such as retail, intermediary, and institutional. The gap between channels has narrowed to industry and non-industry, essentially fusing institutional and intermediary closer together. Additionally, retail is more informed today than they were 20 years ago. Today, the breakdown is email, Twitter, LinkedIn, TV, radio.

Your job in content marketing is not to recap the news, but rather offer something insightful or prophetic (here I would encourage prophetic about the world, but not securities). Most readers do not expect your firm to know what Mr. Market will do on January 17th, 2018, but they do expect you to have a robust and interesting outlook, even if you’re a bottom-up stock-picking manager.

Your reader is smart, and content for the sake of content quickly will yield fewer opened emails and a loss of interest from prospective clients—or worse a lack of interest from current clients.

Write to Say Something, Not to Fit an Audience

We can all look at the latest research from Fuse, Cerulli, or Chestnut. Most of it is very insightful, but if we write specifically for the demographics without developing a voice, our time writing is wasted.

The audience for advisors is changing. Millennials are now between the ages of 25-35. That means older millennials are well entrenched in their career. Despite what the Boomers say, they’re not lazy and entitled. They do, however, have a different voice.

Here’s an example from a Canadian Robo-Advisor making a big ad-push in the U.S. While the audience is more retail, you clearly see the language is more casual and permissive.

WealthSimple

Another example from the retail side comes from Sarah Kaufman, director of brand and content at Betterment. Speaking to Bloomberg in May she said:

“We heard over and over again: ‘Start talking to us like a person.’ It’s really about how we are telling this story, too, not just the design.”

How do we translate this type of language in a more staid industry like asset management? How do we remove the jargon?  Slowly. Use song titles or lyrics. Perhaps you should throw in a Game of Thrones reference. There’s a way to keep things business casual, but still business oriented in your writing.

Don’t over-process the process. Guts matters, but double check with marketing and PR.

Next Steps

This is the part where I wrap up and tell you how to proceed. That’s not going to happen. The fun challenge of a hyper-targeted world is that there are very few axioms that work for all firms. The pros: ample need for creativity and experimentation. The cons: what worked last year might not work next year. Marketing has always been an evolving field. The financial industry is just now catching up to it, and that means we need to mind how we speak on different mediums.

Trust: The Foundational Metric of Content Marketing

By: Robert Rose
Chief Strategy Officer -The Content Advisory
Keynote Speaker – PAICR Annual Conference 2017
Contentadvisory.net

When I work with financial services companies and discuss their content marketing strategy, almost inevitably the topic turns to “attention.” Basically, the program is being measured as an alternative to the advertising the firm is running. And the question that is asked is, “are we getting more of our audience’s attention?”

Every day you see new strategies to increase the attention we receive from our audiences and buyers. You have “attention marketing,” a term describing a business model built around the hyper growth of social media. There is the “attention economy,” which elevates the ability to gather attention as “one of the most important currencies of the 21st century.”

Interestingly, in our latest research at The Content Marketing Institute, we’re finding that there is an interesting correlation between the companies that are succeeding with content marketing and those that are building audiences. In our latest survey, 90% of those that are succeeding are focusing on building a loyal and subscribed audience. And that subscription comes down to something more than just attention. It’s a

If attention is gold, trust is bitcoin

As the saying goes, “Trust is the hardest thing to find and the easiest thing to lose.” And today, trust is in crisis. The annual Edelman Trust Barometer found this year:

“(The) general population’s trust in all four key institutions – business, government, NGO’s, and media – has declined broadly, a phenomenon not reported since Edelman began tracking trust among this segment in 2012.”

But you don’t need a research study to know that. You can feel it. It is an era of “fake news,” ineffective and corrupt institutions, cynical politics, duplicitous businesses, and even distrust of each other. Astonishingly, less than half of us think most people can be trusted.

As a marketer, you can personally lament the decline in trust in our culture, but you can’t ignore it. Developing a trusted relationship with your consumers is one of, if not the, most important things you must do.

Now, the development of trust is nothing new. Marketers have been talking about how to build more trust into our approach for decades. But becoming more transparent or dependable in the sales process no longer cuts it. Put simply: It is no longer adequate to begin developing a trusted relationship after the customer determines your product or service may be the answer.

Our world no longer starts trusting and occasionally becomes disappointed. As the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer concludes:

“Two-thirds of the countries we survey are now ‘distrusters’ (less than 50% trust in the mainstream institutions of business, government, media, and non-government organizations to do what is right).”

That’s right. We as consumers have become actively distrustful of every institution and brand. We have successfully democratized distrust in everything we do. But, would you like the good news?

As content marketing practitioners, this new era of distrust is our opportunity.

Be the trusted source

In my books, I talk at great length about how a subscribed audience gives you more efficient and effective access to your customers. And when we talk of Content Marketing, we almost exclusively talk about its benefits as a:

  • More efficient means of developing engaged leads
  • Method of being discovered in a noisy marketplace
  • Differentiator from the competition
  • Way to increase customer value

But what if one of your primary benefits of content marketing was developing “most trusted” status with your consumers more broadly? What if your brand could not only be the most trusted on a topic among the competition, but the most trusted brand full stop?

Historically, we looked at publishers of trustworthy media in our space and proclaimed, “Well, there’s no way we’re going to compete with that magazine, or that nonprofit, or that association, or that government institution.”

Except, now you can.

Trust as a metric

A few years ago, we worked with a B2B financial services institution targeting investors and advisers. We asked a sample of its target audience to rank the institution and its competition on a level of trust — both content and brand. We also asked them to rank a sampling of the top media companies in the space.

Our client company was middle of the pack when it came to trust among competitors. But, interestingly, its trust ranking was above — and in some cases well above – some of the media companies where the institution had been putting a good deal of its advertising.

Now, comparing trust in the financial services brand to trust in media brands was like comparing apples and oranges. But to help it reach its “increase brand trust” goal, we set a goal for its new content marketing property: become one of the most trusted content brands in thought leadership for advisers and investors.

Recently, we found some wonderful results when we looked at benchmarking research. The brand had, indeed, risen in general trust among both its competitors and media companies. Though the owned media property and its team certainly created some of that trust, the institution’s other brand and marketing efforts have assisted here as well.

Even more interesting were the results from the content brand’s subscribers. When we queried them in terms of trust of the content brand (using the blog name) among competitors and media companies, a large number trusted the brand more than any other competitor and most of the media companies.

These results provide a huge business case for continuing a content marketing initiative: Develop a more trusted relationship with audiences than the content platforms where you are placing paid media.

So, I ask this: will there come-a-day when this institution’s ad buyer goes to a media company, shows the subscriber research and asks, “We have a more trusted audience than you do. Perhaps you’d like to advertise with us?” Perhaps. But until then, it’s an extraordinarily important business metric to show success with its content marketing program.

Value is a trusting audience

As you can see from this example, success all comes down to the audience. All value is derived when an audience trusts the brand. The company may use this trust to leverage the trusting audience:

  • To provide data to inform other advertising and marketing efforts (Example: See how Kraft uses its platform.)
  • To be used as a pre-customer database to draw in more optimized leads (Example: See how Schneider Electric uses its Energy University platform.)
  • To provide cash or cost-savings value by bringing in partners (Example: Learn how companies like Zappos are making money with content marketing.)
  • To ensure that the brand’s TAM (total addressable market) expands (Example: Discover how Arrow Electronics is driving marketing as a business model.)

Media companies are going to double down on regaining trusted status. They must. Trust and the relationship with an addressable audience will be the only value left as advertising transforms and formats such as subscription, native advertising, and even sponsorship replace traditional banner and skyscraper ads.

Getting attention simply doesn’t cut it any more. And holding attention doesn’t really work any longer either. And even if you hold someone’s attention, you haven’t necessarily made them care.

Your opportunity is here. If you choose to act, the democratization of distrust can be the foundation of a transformation of what’s possible for your brand. Your brand’s trust no longer has to sit below media, nonprofit, or governmental institutions. You can develop the most trusted status with your consumers.

It’s up to you to be worthy of both the trust and the opportunity.

 

Lead, like a boss!

By: Steven King
PAICR Board of Directors member
Speaker at the 2017 PAICR Annual Conference

I’ve had a lot of managers through the years, but only a few I would consider leaders. However, I’ve tried to take the best from all of them. It is with that experience and knowledge that I’ve built a leadership framework of success that you can use to establish yourself as more than just a manager.

From Rookie to All-Star – Every Team Member Matters

EVERY member of the team is important. The opinions, efforts, and contributions from your most junior employee to your most senior veteran matter. Every member should feel valued and know how their efforts contribute to the success of the team. We all have an all-star employee, but you need every member playing their part to win the game.

One Playbook – Everyone Should Know the Game Winning Strategy

You absolutely need to be clear about where the team is headed. What are you trying to accomplish this year? How does this align with the corporate goals? I’ve found that most people are problem solvers. As such, if they know at a high level what the team needs to accomplish for the year – and how this aligns with the firm’s goals – they’ll figure out a way to do it.  Your team wants to show you, and the firm, the value they provide. Your job is to point them in the right direction.

Once a Player, Now a Coach – Share Your Knowledge and Experience

There are two parts of this statement. The first is sharing the knowledge and experience that you’ve accumulated through the years. I know some managers are afraid to share what they know. They believe that keeping information to themselves makes them more valuable and indispensable to the firm. However, sharing this knowledge is not only respected, but it will only make your team stronger. And leading a strong team, with a foundation of knowledge and experience, often produces remarkable work.

The second part of this statement is the importance of transparency. You must be transparent with your agenda, inner conversations, conflicts, and concerns. There are some topics that require discretion, but overall your team is far more effective if they have all the information.  Plus, if you model transparency you are on the fast track to building trust.

Create Chemistry – Every Great Team Revolves Around Trust

Believe it or not, you don’t know it all.  Remember why you hired each person on the team. Your team members have talents, knowledge, and opinions that are different from yours. Embrace it! This is part of what makes a great team. Spend time listening to them. Learn from them. Often you will find that where trust is earned it is also given. Having a foundation of trust will foster an environment of open communication which is invaluable. If you can’t trust your team or they don’t feel like they can trust you, you’ve got some work to do.

Game Time – Now It’s Time to Let Them Shine

Now it’s game time and your job is to let your team shine. I cannot say this strongly enough, do NOT skip this step. If you skip this step, you will find that all your previous hard work was in vain. Why? Because I personally don’t know many people that like to do all the work and never get the credit. As a leader, you must get comfortable letting your team take center stage. And I believe that a team built on transparency, trust, and respect will be a team that wants to celebrate their leader.

This approach has served me well over the years. I don’t have to manage the day-to-day activities of my team as they know what they need to do.  I trust them to work toward the vision of the team and the firm. They trust me to set them up for success. So how do I know that this makes me a manager and a leader? Because I know my team would tackle any problem we face without hesitation –not because I told them to, but simply because it needed to be done.

Registration is now open for the PAICR Annual Conference November 13-14th in New York City.  Register Now.