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Why a narrow focus on communications and content can have broad-ranging benefits

By: Jack Dominy


Offering a tailored service or a bespoke product that a customer not only needs but also wants is undoubtedly a very successful way to gain traction in a market and grow a brand.

This is true if you are trying to sell food in a café or shop, as well as if you are looking to provide a logistics service that transports goods from one place to another.

If the product or service does not meet the client’s needs and is not providing an effective solution, the partnership simply will not work in the long run.

The same is true when it comes to the investment service that asset managers provide to pension schemes and consultants, as shown by findings in Research in Finance’s latest UK Institutional Market Study (UKIMS Wave 6).

When schemes and consultants were asked what makes an investment manager’s response to an RFP stand out for being high quality, providing a ‘bespoke/tailored solution’ was one of the most popular answers along with being ‘detailed’, ‘thorough’, ‘transparent’ and ‘clear’. Showing care and attention to institutional investors not only means addressing the client’s needs, but also making them feel valued and important. These are key characteristics to building a partnership based on trust and respect, and therefore to building strong brand loyalty.

These attributes are particularly prevalent given the limited face to face contact that is currently possible in a business environment. As many have found out over the past year or so, virtual communication, and constant virtual communication day-in-day-out, can be tough. It is difficult to build trust purposefully from behind a screen – certainly not impossible, but difficult nonetheless. Therefore, given a lack of in-person contact, providing content and communication that is bespoke and tailored to the intended recipient is vital.

This could mean a creating a content piece that takes no longer than 2 minutes to read. Or it could be a response to an RFP that is carefully constructed with detailed explanations behind each point made. Many consultants and schemes are time-poor in their jobs, with several facets of their role to consider, so recognising that and going the extra mile when producing content and communications will ensure the greatest likelihood of cut through. Tailored, bespoke communication must be appropriate in its content, format and style to be attention-grabbing.

In addition to the quantitative survey, we run each year for the UK Institutional Market Study, Research in Finance also manages a qualitative element to uncover investor thinking and deep dive into the challenges and issues they face in their roles. For Wave 6 this year, the qualitative element will take the form of an online research community, which aims to gather feedback from schemes and consultants into asset manager materials, ad creatives and thought-pieces.

Feedback proves crucial to asset manager marketing strategy as the research can help to pinpoint what materials work most effectively, what type of thought-pieces resonate well, as well as if there are any differences in opinion between consultants and schemes. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn how to create marcomms that are tailored to a certain audience and help to build brand loyalty and trust in a competitive market.

If you would like to know more about this influential study into the institutional market and what is on offer, please contact Richard Ley or Toby Finden-Crofts.

The UKIMS Wave 6 quantitative research surveyed 217 institutional investors, gathering views from consultants, professional trustees, scheme managers, pension CIOs and trustees. Fieldwork was conducted in late Q4 2020 through to Q1 2021. Fieldwork for the qualitative online community element is set to launch in late June 2021.

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