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Harvest Marketing Trends

Avoiding Automatic Deletion: The Rise of Data-Based Prospecting

by Peter Hans
on January 23, 2018

Avoiding Automatic Deletion: The Rise of Data-Based Prospecting

Bull market or not, asset management sales professionals are up against perpetual headwinds. Investors have endless options from which to choose, brand often drives allocation decisions, and sales cycles can seem endless.

The “spray and pray” method of prospecting might have worked in different era, but in today’s digital-first environment, fundraising professionals are flying blind without access to data of what investors really want and value.

Harvest Exchange data image

How do investors consume information?

Attention spans continue to get shorter, and asset allocators are no different. A long pitch deck filled with densely packed text is not going to impress anyone.

According to recent data from Harvest, in 2017, institutional investors and financial advisors preferred to receive investment content through a combination of investor letters, research reports, white papers, and video. Individual investors preferred, of all things, podcasts!

So while traditional content marketing is alive and well – it never really went out of style – the data says it might be time to spend more marketing budget on digital recording equipment than PowerPoint training.

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What do investors care about?

Like it or not, big tech companies know what we like to read or watch, and have figured out how to convert our interests to revenue. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning has only accelerated this.

The same trend has arrived in asset management. A savvy salesperson or marketer will not approach certain investors if they show no interest in particular asset classes or products. Such interests are always changing though with market conditions, and Harvest’s data again proves that.

In 2017, “alternatives” was the second-most popular search by asset class for financial advisors. This was the case each quarter. However, the most popular search term changed over the course of the year: cash in Q1, equities in Q2 and Q3, and commodities in Q4. Similarly, among institutional investors, real estate was consistently one of the most popular searches by asset class.

While these are just samples, having access to this information will inform sales and marketing professionals how best to spend their – and their prospects’ – precious time.

Conclusion: Data-based Prospecting is Key

Knowing one’s customers and anticipating what they want has been rule number one of sales since the beginning of time. Digital platforms have made this easier than ever. Just as the Amazons of the world crushed their retail competition using data to deepen client relationships, it is now asset management’s turn to adopt these proven tactics. Traditionally analog relationships will only go so far, and those firms who do not invest their time in data aggregation and analysis will risk falling behind.

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