October 2017 FCS Breakfast: Benchmarking Digital & Social in Financial

by on Nov 07, 2017

Corporate Insight recently attended FCS’s Benchmarking Digital & Social in Financial conference at the New York Yacht Club, hosted by Living Group. A presentation by Living Group CEO Kate Walsh and an all-female panel discussion featuring marketing heads from Legg Mason, Russell Investments, PIMCO and Schroders discussed the results of their benchmarking research, which evaluated the top 100 asset managers in the world. Rating criteria included website functionality and content, social media channels and social media content based on 50 criteria points. Kate Walsh echoed similar observations and insights that we track in our Asset Management Monitor – Advisor and Asset Management Monitor – Investor services, such as that only 56% of asset managers employ responsively designed websites. The panel discussion provided a deeper level of insight into firms’ social media and marketing strategies, such as the following key observations:

  • Diane Frankenfield, head of U.S. marketing at Legg Mason, discussed the importance of publishing content that aligns with the firm’s core brand strategy. Legg Mason only releases new tweets and commentaries that offer the firm’s unique perspective. Last year, the firm launched an Instagram account to promote its charitable contributions and social activities. The account has been a tremendous success in garnering views and attracting potential employees. 

Our September Asset Management Monitor – Advisor report on Twitter and LinkedIn discusses the importance of branding content with a consistent message, particularly on social media platforms. Posts that convey company branding can express the firm’s differentiating attributes and showcase its business style. 

  • London Thomson-Thurm, vice president of content marketing at PIMCO, talked about how the firm drives engagement through frequently posted commentaries, insights and tweets. While only 27% of asset managers provide thought leadership and insight research, PIMCO released 160 blogs and 140 insights in the past year. Additionally, the firm tweets six times a day, seven days a week.

The December Asset Management Monitor – Advisor awards report featured commentaries and thought leadership as a category. The top-ranking firms updated on a weekly basis and provided insights on a wide range of topics across different formats. Additionally, the report on thought leadership highlighted how firms can create a specific space for experts to share opinions and focus on a theme. In line with Thomson-Thurm’s presentation, our research found that PIMCO offers a diverse range of commentaries and multimedia that discuss trending topics, market events and target specific audiences.

  • Zarna Sanghvi, head of U.S. digital services at Schroders, provided an interesting point about benchmarking asset management firms’ websites against competitors. Sanghvi discussed how asset managers look to leading digital experiences outside of the industry, such as Amazon, to improve the website functionality.

Traditionally, asset management firms are slow to adapt to advances in user experience and embrace technology. Technology companies are quicker to innovate and are at the forefront of providing the best customer experience. Corporate Insight will continue to track how technological advancements impact all areas of the finance industry and to advise firms as to how to keep pace with these rapid developments.