Segment Like a Ninja

Segment Like a NinjaNetworking, great presentations, illuminating discussions, people who make you think: does it get any better than that? Well, strangely, it does. Attending an event in Chicago this week—MFEA’s Marketing Council, hosted by Morningstar—gave me a new perspective on some of the challenges involved in segmenting data, and really underscored the importance of being able to easily update your segment definitions as the industry changes.

As expected, this event attracted a large crowd of professionals representing more than 40 fund companies. The schedule was jam-packed with timely topics, including sessions on: industry and product trends; identifying financial advisor archetypes (active, passive, and legacy); and how sales teams are using data to gain an edge in the market. There were also many discussions related to investing behaviors commonly exhibited by multi-generational investors, from millennials to retirees.

And while the sessions themselves were extremely valuable, the networking that occurred before, between, and after those official sessions was beneficial, too. During the sidebar networking sessions, it became clear that firms large and small place enormous value in creating tightly-focused, intelligent campaigns, based on what they know from the data they’ve collected. Almost universally, firms are striving to effectively put the data they have to the best possible use. Firms are eager to accurately segment their targets, so they can maximize their marketing efforts.

What are some of the challenges of devising a segmentation strategy that works? For starters:

  • Segmenting a market can be difficult, especially if a firm’s technology isn’t integrated or isn’t keeping up with today’s demands.
  • Advisors’ needs are changing; how advisors are doing business is evolving.
  • Different products require different levels of service and response times.
  • There’s a huge variance in how firms approach segmenting advisors.

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(In fact, Jeff Stakel, a partner at Casey, Quirk & Associates, discussed segmenting advisors based on how they manage money. He emphasized how important it can be to identify the ‘money managers’ and to determine whether an advisor outsources asset management to a 3rd party’s “max fund” which then uses satellite funds to diversify allocations—or whether an advisor instead chooses investments organically. His contention is that firms need to spend their time with those who actually do business with them. Only when firms can make sense of all of these advisor attributes can the firms effectively market their products.)

So what’s my perspective?

  • Often, firms aren’t able to effectively channel their data into segments.
  • Firms typically segment once, then walk away; if it were easier to do, firms would change segment definitions more often, as the market changes.
  • Almost without fail, firms want to market intelligently to select target groups. To do this, they need to be able to delve fully into the data they already have at hand. For instance, they want to send long-term investment offerings to retirees, and aggressive-growth information to 30-somethings. But almost without exception, firms aren’t doing this, due to inaccurate segmentation.

It was great to be able to share this information at the conference, and I was glad some of our clients and partners were in attendance to add their voice to mine, underscoring that:

  • SalesPage is a company that handles data better than anyone else in the business, and that is accustomed to slicing and dicing that data.
  • SalesPage has distribution management solutions that provide robust segmentation and territory management, which our client community uses to better target the right advisor at the right time with the right message.
  • SalesPage segmentation management tools let clients redefine segments easily and often; if your segment definitions need to change every week, or even every single day, SalesPage can support that.

If you have any questions on where SalesPage fits in, feel free to reach out to me for a brief conversation about our capabilities.