Now that you know Gen D investors’ distinguishing qualities and the surprising disconnects that exist between advisors’ perceptions and investors’ realities (see last week’s post), it’s time to look at how wealth and asset managers can secure their foothold with this important, emerging group of investors. The short answer: Management firms will need to offer digital capabilities to their advisors, and advisors will need to integrate these communications into their Gen D investor relationships.
Four focus areas pivotal to connecting with Gen D
Based on insights provided by Gen D investors, some of which I shared with you last week, Accenture has identified four key areas of focus for firms to employ that are vital to attracting, engaging and retaining these investors:
- Customer analytics. Gen D investors expect their financial advisors to be responsive and proactive. Wealth and asset managers armed with real-time and predictive analytics can better address these investors’ needs and expectations, especially within the digital environment. One large US bank, for example, experienced a 25 percent growth in assets within two years thanks to client-centric marketing programs it employed for high-net-worth clients.
- Self-directed tools. Of the investors we surveyed, 65 percent view themselves as entirely self-directed or partially assisted, while only 35 percent said they use a financial advisor exclusively. Firms that embrace this shift and offer interactive tools for investing will be at the forefront of cultivating and maintaining relationships with Gen D investors. Fidelity’s new Guided Portfolio Summary pulls account information from other financial institutions to show clients’ total asset allocation and investing style across all the firms the investor uses.
- Community connections. Gen D investors interact with a firm’s brand through digital capabilities such as social networks, the firm’s website, its competitors’ websites and in blogs. Successful firms continually reevaluate their social media strategy. Take Morgan Stanley, for example, which was the first top-five US brokerage firm to allow financial advisors to use LinkedIn and Twitter. These advisors and agents can post updates from libraries of preapproved content to seed their social media interactions.
- Gamification. Gamification provides investment firms with the ability to offer a more interactive and differentiated customer experience. This is achieved by incorporating a game-like range of features, such as challenges, contest and rewards into investment activities. In 2011, membership in Nike+ grew 40 percent, which helped boost revenues in the running category by 30 percent, thanks in large part to its gamification strategy. Nike+ measures and records the distance and pace of a walk or run, and that information is transmitted to the user’s iPod. iPod software rewards users if they reach a milestone with a congratulatory message from celebrity athletes.
In this digital age, wealth and asset managers must be accessible to investors on their terms, including the channels and interactions through which clients are most comfortable engaging. If firms provide advisors with the training and tools to engage the large and important Gen D market, both will benefit—after all, these investors represent $27 trillion in assets!
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