Grow your firm

Design the investor experience from where customers are right now.

Investment Advisor

Asset Manager

Fund Manager

Investment Advisor

Investor Experience Design

When asked to figure out a new way for asset managers to do business, I took the project by the horns. Here’s a picture of the ecosystem mapping and service blueprint from day one. This post is under construction. Stay tuned as I continue to document my process.

The new investor experience empowers us to focus on listening to the investor, producing content that provides relevant guidance, and creating shared value that helps us and the customer achieve their business goals.

Vision

The new investor experience offers an investor a personalized learning pathways for a customer to lead herself through the process of evaluating an a fund as a new opportunity. In doing so, an investor will have access to all the tools and resources necessary to bring herself through the evaluation of the team, its operations, and the deals available. By automating this journey, it will lead to an increase in the lifetime value of a customer (LVC) while also reducing the cost to acquire a customer (CAC).

Investor Experience

Shape the investor experience from end-to-end, then create content that enables the investor to take the road we paved for them. My assumption is that an investor must have transparent access to know and trust your organization prior to moving forward.

Network

To leverage these relationships as shared value I recommend thinking about what type of content will each guest be most willing to share with his/her networks? If I am proud of the content I am featured in, then I am absolutely sharing it with my community. Leverage the network effect.

Feedback Loop

Provide a venue for ideas to germinate into innovation opportunities. I recommend a private Google Group which enables us to have ongoing discussions via email with the entire team involved. Transparency is critical so that team members are always up to speed, able to participate as ideas come to mind, and this cultural practice will begin to reflect onto our partners, customers, and others that your firm is open, honest, and trustworthy.

Splash page

One web page presenting the minimum viable experience to test our initial assumptions about the positioning, messaging, and iterate towards the optimal solution. Page contains platform value proposition, examples of problems it will solve for investors, and a form to join now. After form submission, investor is able to set personalization preferences: types of content, topics, and an open form field for the investor to tell us about their current challenges.

Intro Content (blog, video, relevant bundle of resources/links)

Speak directly to the investor to convey our message. For example, “Deals come and go, but we’d like our relationship to last forever. Our long term vision is dependent upon you, the investor, reaching your goals. Let’s grow together.”

Call-to-Action

In blog intro content, include CTA for investors to join the beta:

Get first access to our beta

We want to hear from you! Help us help you. To join our beta and be among the first to have access, please share at least one of the major obstacles, challenges, or struggles that you currently face. Remember, this platform is to serve your needs. Let us know what you need most.

Growth Hack

Immediately after submitting the above form, we present the investor with the option to “Jump ahead in the waiting line for the beta”. We provide the investor with a one-click seamless sharing feature that allows her to share the splash page on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn in exchange for jumping to the front of the line (or some other awesome incentive)

Autoresponder

Automatic text-based (no image or colors) email response to investors who signup on the splash page. The investor will open the email and think it was hand-written specifically for her. It will be from Ted. The email will gently ask the investor if she would reply to the email to let Ted know why she signed up – what was it about the platform that got her attention. (let’s figure out the best messaging that enables us to start a continuous dialogue with each investor who signs up.

If/when you’d like to hear more, please let me know. Otherwise, I will be prepared to speak further on our marketing call this Monday morning.

Here’s a brief list of the other components:

  • Research: academic and industry data, insights, and further reading on Long Term Capital
  • Case studies: authoritative sources with examples to apply your own organization
  • Anecdote: frame your thoughts on using content to establish trust and transparency
  • Process for managing the ongoing production of content
  • Plan: outline of a plan that markets these initiatives from day one

Research for this article included the following resources along with others not yet listed here:

“Focusing Capital on the Long Term began in 2013 as an initiative of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and McKinsey & Company, which together with BlackRock, The Dow Chemical Company, and Tata Sons founded FCLTGlobal in July 2016. In addition to our Founders, our Member organizations from across the investment value chain, including asset owners, asset managers and corporations, are committed to accomplish long-term tangible actions to lengthen the time frame of capital allocation decisions.”

“McKinsey research finds that long-term-oriented companies in the US outperform their industry peers against almost every financial measure.”

“Until large asset owners radically change their approach, other key players (such as asset managers, corporate boards, and company executives) will probably remain trapped in value-destroying short-termism. But by accepting the opportunity and responsibility to be leaders who act in the best interests of individual savers, large asset owners can be a powerful force for instituting the kind of balanced, long-term capitalism that ultimately benefits everyone.”


Investor Experience

I spent the last 45 days immersed in the asset management world. I was contracted by an agency that was hired to help an asset management firm raise more capital. The agency had a long list of outstanding tasks that clients were waiting on.

to complete various marketing and design tasks for an agency who provides such services to its asset management customers. While completing the tasks I was assigned to I was able to learn a series of lessons about the asset management firms. I am now able to see with clarity a list of blockers that may prevent fund managers from unlocking their growth.

A few of the problems that fund managers presently face when it comes to acquiring new investors:

  1. Not focused on the customer (investor): Organizations and the people inside of them are not focused around the needs of their customer. I brought relief to this issue by instilling a culture of human-centered design thinking among the c-suite and management team. Chief executives are now sketching prototypes, co-creating investor experiences, and thinking a great deal more about who there customer really is, and how they might have an opportunity to serve them in a unique way. I brought relief to this problem by teaching the leadership about the importance of human-centered design thinking, transitioning from transaction-based journeys to relationship-driven journeys, and instilling a culture of creativity and fun where all team members become creators.
  2. Lack of integration: Organizations are unable to integrate departments and tend to view consultants and marketing as a separate entity. Investments in those initiatives tend to lead to further fragmentation and the strengthening of silos within the organization.
  3. Transactional approach: The agencies and consultants hired to help asset managers tend to still have the same view on the sales process which is transaction-driven. This influences the motivating drivers of
  4. Distractions: Like all industries, we are competing against the internet, our personal lives, our families, colleagues, text messages, Facebook, YouTube, and oh, there’s one more – this asset management fund wants to sell you something as well. I have brought relief to this problem by influencing the CEO’s decision to transition from a short-term approach to content production, to a long term capital approach where we focus more on relationships with investors rather than transactions.
  5. Trust: Investors are rarely given an opportunity to establish trust with the firm because there is no content on the internet.
  6. Transparency: Investors require transparent access to the organization to understand who they are, what products they sell, how they make them, and what it will look like to invest. I brought relief to this problem by influencing the CMO to bring a new approach to content production to the CEO during our Monday meeting last week. The idea was to transition to bite-sized content offered up on-demand rather than time-scheduled webinars at the convenience of the management team. This is another example of human-centered design thinking.
  7. Loyalty: If there is a new fund on the block it might be difficult to pull loyal investors away from their traditional go-to investment choices. Creative strategies are required to get loyal customers to walk this way. I recommend that this segment, the loyal segment, is one of the last that the asset management fund goes after. As we learned in the law of diffusion innovation, the skeptics are the last ones to come over in the bell curve.

In order to overcome the above challenges, plus the other challenges which are yet to be discovered, a new investor experience must be designed. This requires an asset management firm to focus on its investors first. Stop thinking about yourself, and focus on your customer – the investor. Let’s place the word ‘investor’ in front of my professional occupation to come up with a name for this process, “Investor Experience Design”.

Investor Experience Design

The new investor experience empowers asset managers with strategic direction. From a leadership level, the CEO is able to clearly understand the direction to lead her team without concern of whether they are doing it the right way or not. It is important to partner with a value shop so that when you invest in an organizational transformation you aren’t wasting money on raw materials, rather, you are investing in bringing someone in who can identify the system problems your organization faces, prioritize potential solutions, and the experience to execute, evaluate, and iterate your new model moving forward. The old agency model of building your asset management firm a website is long gone.

to focus on listening to the investor, producing content that provides relevant guidance, and creating shared value that helps the asset manager and the customer achieve their goals.


Guardrails

Transaction vs Relationship

Transition away from transactional thoughts. Circular not linear. Operational transparency.

Breadcrumbs. Not bread loaves.

Learning pathways

Microlearning

Rethink the sales funnel

Circular

Doesn’t end

transaction vs relationship

linear vs circular

customer-centric vs ego-centric

transparency

authenticity

personal branding

voice

self-directed and on-demand

learning pathways

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