Are asset managers’ websites dead?

AML were invited to join the debate at the Financial Services Forum (FSF) event provocatively entitled: “Are asset managers’ websites dead?”

Hosted at BNY Mellon’s offices with an audience consisting largely of marketing directors from across the financial services sector, there was some interesting discussion surrounding the future of websites in the industry and the role they play in customer acquisition and retention.

Three excellent presentations highlighted different views with Jupiter Fund Management’s Head of Digital Marketing, Stewart Conway citing the example of the “robot relationship manager” that his team have developed to enhance the user experience. Creating something altogether smarter than a brochure website, this innovation will allow Jupiter to get to know their clients better and build stronger relationships. Adam Sharp, MD of CleverTouch brought out-of-sector learning: whilst campaigns will come and go, the true legacy of marketers will be the technical infrastructure that they leave behind and the ability of a website/CRM platform to pre-qualify leads. Finally, John Blowers, Head of Trustnet Direct, pointed to industry stats that suggested advisers are over-served on content and that with the rise of aggregator platforms, some asset management websites may be starting to get in the way of a user’s journey.

Over the last 18 months we have seen the marketing director’s vocabulary change somewhat. Where once there was a “website” there is now a “digital environment” – a nod to the fact that digital assets and proliferating channels are so intricately linked. Asset management websites are often split into separate journeys to serve multiple audiences; professional advisers, institutional investors and private investors. When social media accounts are added to the mix, together with a CRM solution to capture user data, the digital ecosystem becomes far more complex. This is the new domain of the professional marketer.

Unsurprisingly, the role of the creative agency is changing, too. Integrated providers, like AML, have in-house capabilities for positioning brands, conceiving and producing creative ad campaigns, building websites and developing social media strategies; their clients increasingly look to them to help join the dots. As with external campaigns, this works best when there is a strong creative idea that ties all elements together. Internally, the glue can extend well beyond the marketing campaign and help bind the fabric of the business – uniting often disparate sales and marketing teams in the process.

So, asset managers’ websites are not dead, not yet. A web presence is and will continue to be a very important part of the marketers’ toolkit, but it has definitely become a piece of the puzzle rather than the entire picture.