Think about where we were in March of 2020. At that time, there was a lot of uncertainty about what the next nine months would look like. Many questions and many changes were to come. Based on a recent survey of and Roundtable with our asset manager clients, we may be looking at another 9-12 months where we face similar marketing conditions. What learned lessons can we apply to make the next twelve months more valuable than the last?
COVID accelerates transformation
Last fall, we brought members of our client community together for an Internal Sales Roundtable, where desk managers shared how they were leading their teams and engaging with advisors (virtually) during a pandemic. Last week, our client community gathered for a second Roundtable with a focus on marketing. Marketers shared how it was important to be agile and adjust initiatives to reach their audiences (at home) and support distribution. While digital marketing was already a core component of firms’ strategies, the pandemic sped up demand and marketers adopted new ways to resource and get things done.
Looking ahead, we surveyed clients to see when they expect their firms to open travel, which may allow for the return of in-person client meetings and events. While there is still uncertainty, 55% anticipated travel opening in Fall of 2021, though 2022 looks to be a more conservative outlook. Thankfully, lessons learned over the last year will help marketers gain ground as they continue to integrate and grow their programs over the next 9-12 months. From the Roundtable, there were two key themes marketers plan to make progress on to help ensure this year is more valuable than last.
Sales and marketing are adapting together for better results
In the early days of the Pandemic, the demand for content spiked. Marketing teams partnered with sales and other teams to help prioritize and execute more quickly while the topics were relevant. Content bundling or creating a variety of materials from one anchor piece proved to be a good strategy in addition to working directly with sales to segment audiences. Broadcast email blasts were replaced with campaigns to targeted audiences segmented by firm, product, and performance, and business development resources. One tactic was for marketing to deliver messages on behalf of the sales team; sales followed up with phone calls, and the results have been fruitful.
Working remotely has also opened access to higher-level executives, helping decisions and project execution to move more quickly. The consensus from the group was that collaboration between sales and marketing is no longer optional, it is a requirement. Marketers plan to continue to work closely with sales to engage audiences with impactful, differentiated touchpoints and create better, more personalized experiences.
Integrated intelligence and technology help deliver personalized messages
Personalized emails, LinkedIn, and live commentary are being used across firms to help them stand out. From meeting with sales on a weekly basis to identify pain points and crafting personalized emails to using Linkedin for delivering specific ad messages and thought leadership to very targeted audiences, marketers are finding ways to cut through the noise. One challenge shared by several was related to tracking. While digital provides a lot of intelligence on how recipients interact with content, folks are still figuring out how to best combine and leverage those insights with other data to build relationships, further segment, and measure effectiveness.
Marketers’ roadmaps include connecting technology, data, and intelligence to enable sales and marketing to activate data and use holistic intelligence to target their messages.
We all have been busy since March 2020 and there are no signs of activity slowing down. Marketers see an agile operating model as central to maximizing impact. Efficiencies and improved effectiveness will be through continued sales and marketing teams’ collaboration, intentional technology expansion, and better segments to engage and enrich relationships.
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If you’re looking to improve integration to better enable your sales and marketing efforts and are uncertain on what the most effective approach would be for your firm, we’d be happy to discuss. Contact us or connect with me.