Synopsis: $27+ billion asset manager engaged Synthesis to automate their fact sheet production after failed attempts at automation with other vendors. The result?
- Quarterly time-to-market with updated collateral fell by 70%, with a corresponding decline in internal resource allocation
- Because they were no longer focused on sales product support for 24 weeks a year (the total length of time spent managing quarter-end data production), the Marketing team could focus on core marketing functions
- They were able to fully invest themselves in projects which added significant value to the firm’s overall brand
- As a result, management approved higher budgets, more staffing, and a significantly broadened project portfolio.
It is easy for asset management marketing and sales teams to understand the benefits of data and marketing collateral automation.
Why? Because automation:
- Saves time
- Improves efficiency
- Reduces opportunity costs, and
- Enables stronger alignment across the marketing, sales, and compliance departments.
Understanding is one thing, but convincing upper management to add budget line items for new relationships is often tough – especially when their impact often escapes the usual bottom-line KPIs.
Synthesis has an asset management client with $27+ billion AUM, whose marketing director faced exactly this sort of pushback when the relationship was initiated. Here’s their story:
MANUAL IS INEFFICIENT
Seven years ago, they were updating data feeds from their custodians, reconciling the data, and updating their marketing and sales collateral manually. It was a highly inefficient process, ripe for error, and highly taxing on the teams responsible for data.
Their first experience with automation was a flop. The vendor’s software didn’t work as advertised: data was incorrect often enough to be highly concerning, as well as the fact that changes made to the collateral design in previous quarters often did not carry over to the next.
So every datapoint in every data set had to be manually verified, and each formatting change in the collateral had to checked.
The result was an inefficient quarter-end process lasting 6-weeks, consisting of a dozen or more employees across three departments, often working 12-14 hour days.
As the Marketing Manager said, “After automation, we ]still] had to check every data point.” Automation, indeed.
Synthesis’ systems improved data distribution across their entire network, from fact sheets and other marketing collateral, to the data directly fed into their website. Changes were easy and were captured quarter-after-quarter. The outcome?
- Quarterly reporting time fell from 6 weeks to 20 days (and it would be less if they didn’t have to wait for a specific datapoint from one of their data sources);
- Only two team Marketing Team members are now involved in quarter-end data -related tasks;
- 50% faster to market with their data, offering an immediate boost to their competitiveness.
“SYN is exactly what I envisioned.”
Initially, KPIs reported to the ExCom revolved around days saved, manpower efficiencies, and data distribution timelines. But over time, a firmwide appreciation grew for what Synthesis’ relationship truly meant to the firm. Namely, everything was faster, more accurate, with fewer people involved.
Importantly, other groups within the firm were positively affected as well. For example, the Compliance team knows that the data coming out is correct, so all they have to do is spot check for quality control.
And the Digital team, for their part, no longer bothers to check data at all anymore.
IN THE END…
The Marketing Director understands that while our relationship ensures data accuracy and efficient distribution, the effects are more profound: better alignment between marketing, sales, and compliance, improved marketing functionality, a more nimble sales process, and higher morale across each department.
You’re probably already aware of SEC’s Modern Marketing Rule (Rule 206(4)-1), which replaces previous rules governing advertising by registered investment advisers, including asset managers and private funds.
You may even know these rules are scheduled to go into effect on November 4, 2022.
But does everyone in your firm who is involved in communicating with the public understand the new requirements? And, more importantly, is your firm on track toward meeting these requirements?
If you’re not, you’re not alone. According to Red Oak Compliance Solutions, less than 25% of their clients admit that they’ve fully instituted processes for complying with Rule 206(4)-1.
The good news is that most print and online marketing and advertising materials that asset managers produce already comply with SEC requirements.
However, the SEC’s new rules are designed to close certain loopholes, particularly concerning the way performance information is presented, as well as encompass the reality that messaging platforms like email and social media have become as important as pitchbooks, and web sites in conveying marketing and sales information to clients and prospects.
And, if that wasn’t enough, the SEC will now require asset managers to provide extensive documentation of the processes they used to create, review, approve and distribute advertising materials.
Is there a silver lining here? Perhaps, since the SEC is finally going to allow asset managers to use client testimonials and endorsements in their advertising.
Let’s take a closer look at the key provisions that will create the most work for asset managers—and what they need to do now to comply with the new rules.
Over the past couple of years, the way we live, work and communicate has been changed forever. The global pandemic left an indelible mark on the asset management landscape that requires new strategies for engaging both clients and employees. So how do asset managers attract and engage financial advisors and grow assets in a more distributed and remote workforce?
This topic was explored at length at the Spring 2022 IMEA conference in Chicago. Some of take-aways from the event are included in our tips below:
Asset managers must continue to drive down expense ratios and keep an intense focus on growth by leveraging modern technologies and improving operational efficiencies. For asset managers to deploy that technology, they need to invest in the marketing technology (Martech) stack of the future.
The Asset Management MarTech Stack Insights and Trends research, in which I collaborated with Synthesis Technology and Sondhelm Partners, identified operational efficiencies as the largest influence for shaping MarTech Stacks in the next two years. Delivering an effective customer experience and generating business insights were also priorities that will influence the construct of the future MarTech stack.Read More