Category Archives: Leadership
The following is a guest post by Dan Sondhelm, CEO of Sondhelm Partners. This post originally appeared on the Sondhelm Partners Blog.
The economic pressure that has weighed down asset managers over the last couple of years will continue to mount in 2019, especially as the tide of market-induced asset growth subsides. The established industry trends – rising passive inflows, fee compression, increased regulation, continuing platform rationalization – are inescapable, threatening profit margins of the least prepared asset managers. In response, firms are intensifying their efforts to streamline distribution costs and improve their offerings, but many still fall short of differentiating themselves among financial advisors, which could be the ultimate key to sustainable profits in this shifting landscape.
As we enter a new year, the shift from active to passive investing continues to drive significant change for investment management sales and marketing. Very recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandra Powers Murphy and Donna DiMaria to discuss what marketers can do to grow AUM in this very challenging environment.
I first became acquainted with both women through the 3rd Party Marketers (3PM) Association, where Powers serves as President and DiMaria as Chairwoman. In addition to 3PM, Powers and DiMaria both act as CEO and CCO of their own third-party marketing firms, Ark Global and Tessera Capital Partners, respectively. Their firms provide outsourced strategic sales and marketing services to institutional asset managers who lack adequate internal resources.
According to DiMaria, operational efficiency in sales and marketing has become imperative, and asset managers are taking note. “Firms are looking to be more efficient, doing more with less resources both in terms of bodies and budget. And that is leading to consolidation, outsourcing, and automation. The status quo isn’t working anymore so, in a way, the market is recreating itself,” she said.
Due to the competitive nature of the financial services industry, content automation has become a strategic priority for many. With a finish line goal to improve scalability, risk management and brand compliance, the race is on to improve marketing and sales operations. The challenge firms face is knowing how to approach content automation. Is it better to build or buy? What are the differences between the leading vendors, and their approaches?
In 2017, we commissioned some research on how asset managers are automating content production. The research found 3 common models: Fully outsourced, DIY, and hybrid. Here’s a brief description of each and the pros and cons.
As Ben Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Preparation is critical to the outcome of a content automation initiative. There’s always a possibility implementations will go awry if the project plan is disorganized. Organization and planning are challenging, for it takes specific business and leadership skills to run this kind of technical project. Many departments need to get involved, including marketing, IT, sales, and compliance. Stakeholders from each department must re-examine their processes and work together to re-create them for automation. The goal is to improve the process fundamentally and permanently within the boundaries of a systemized solution. More often than not, this is easier said than done, and may require professional assistance. Here are 5 best practices to prime your team for content automation.