In a blog post by our CEO, he draws a comparison between setting up a rock concert and doing an investment management content automation implementation. In the post, he points out that the critical behind-the-scenes logistics of these operations are not fully appreciated. But they’re vital to the outcome.
For example, think back to a time you arrived early to a concert. You may have noticed the roadies methodically working to get all the equipment set up and working perfectly. Because of this, the band can just get up on stage, grab their instruments, and put on a great show. The roadies and logistics teams don’t get the attention from all the screaming, raging fans, but they certainly deserve some recognition for the role they play.
It’s easy to underestimate what it costs to run your marketing operations. For asset managers, producing content is not an easy task. The materials are data-heavy, constantly changing, and usually go through several rounds of review. Creating a streamlined process is critical to realizing a return on investment. But how do you measure it?
There are three steps to building a solid ROI calculation, and the first step is to understand your true organizational production costs. Very few people know how to really measure this. Most of the time, managers simply look at their departmental head-count (FTE) cost and estimate what percentage of their time goes into updating and distributing content and literature. This broad-brush approach would seem to capture the costs well but often results in a gross underestimation of the true costs. A full accounting should cover direct labor costs, managerial labor costs, opportunity costs, and error and risk-related costs.
We’ve had two clients undertake a full and detailed Six Sigma cost analysis of their baseline costs and risks associated with manual or semi-automated literature production. The results were staggering.
Every January, I call up my friend, Andrew Corn, to get his predictions on marketing trends for the year ahead. He always has interesting things to say. He has an impressive background in many areas of financial services and marketing. His career has spanned across consulting, marketing, advertising, Chief Investment Officer – Equities, index designer, multi-factor model creation, and agency head. He is an expert at uncovering and enhancing asset gathering campaigns and designing and implementing marketing funnel optimization for both consumer and B2B audiences.
According to Mr. Corn, there are a couple of major trends going on in the industry right now, and they’re really a continuation from the past couple of years. Specifically, the move from active to passive investing and fee compression are persistent issues that have now become acute. According to Corn, we’re at the tipping point for asset management marketing.
“This move from active to passive is happening so much faster than anyone was able to predict. The upside is that many companies have been able to launch products and gather quite a bit of assets into them. The downside is fee compression. In fact, there is a race to zero, where Fidelity has actually introduced products with no management fee. Now, there are other ways for them to make money, but this fee compression is certainly creating enormous pressure on firms to differentiate,” he said.
If this is the tipping point for asset management marketing, what should teams be doing to help their firms survive in this very competitive market? Read on to hear insights and advice from Andrew Corn in our latest interview.
Have you ever wondered how your firm stacks up in terms of fund fact sheet release dates and overall production efficiency?
We are in the business of automating fund marketing documents so, naturally, we were curious to learn how the industry performs at large. We already had a pretty good idea, based on our close relationships with fund marketers at a variety of investment management firms. However, we thought it would be interesting to gather some empirical data and publish it for our readers.
Our Product Manager, Noel Rodolfo, conducted a study based on a random sample of 35 fund companies and 175 fact sheets.