Investor statements: firms need to get personal


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The mass market side of the financial services industry – retail banking and insurance – has long been one of the great exponents of personalised marketing communications. Like most of their neighbours on the high street, companies operating in these sectors have been very consumer focused and seen the virtue of having creative, relevant and tailored customer communications that aid them in their battle against tough competitors.

Increasingly in recent years, many of these businesses have taken the cost-effective route of including marketing offers in their transactional communications – inserts or printed messages in statements, bills, invoices and other administrative mailings. By piggybacking on this ‘white space’ they can add highly targeted and personalised propositions at little additional cost. This has had even more appeal over the last couple of years when financial services firms have looked for ways of cutting costs and boosting return on marketing investment in the midst of economic turmoil.

But this practice has not generally been picked up in more specialised, niche market segments of the financial services industry – one of these being investment management. Recent research by GI Direct indicated that 58% of investment management companies are overlooking a major opportunity by not using their statements as a means of communicating with individual investors to achieve marketing aims such as selling other products, building brand awareness, or creating customer loyalty.

The survey of firms in the sector showed that, while 42% of companies said they fully viewed investor statements as a valuable tool for engaging clients, 50% said they saw these mailings as only somewhat useful for building customer relationships and the remaining 8% saw these communications simply as regulatory documents that have to be sent out to comply with FSA regulations.

The research indicated that investment management firms could boost their marketing efforts while improving cost efficiencies if they realised the potential of statements as vehicles for achieving marketing goals. The study showed that, despite the above figures, 63% of the companies surveyed believed that more personalised and tailored communications would create loyalty or improved satisfaction with their investors. Nonetheless, the findings revealed that only 25% of firms are sending personalised communications to all of their clients, even though 79% say they have the capability to do so.

Clearly, some companies are already producing high quality personalised investment statements, but the figures indicate that others could make better use of their statements by including marketing messages. Our survey showed 42% of investment management firms still see the investor statement as simply a means of highlighting fund performance, while 13% of respondents said they see no benefit in personalising and tailoring client communications.

These findings indicate that many firms in the investment management sector are missing out, as other research shows that people are likely to spend more time looking at important documents like bills and statements than they do at pure direct marketing. Research from InfoTrends has shown that printed bills and statements are opened and read more than 95% of the time, and recipients tend to spend between two and four minutes looking at them – rates far above that achieved by even the most effective pure DM campaigns.

And another piece of research GI Direct carried out last year found that 70% of adults are five to 10 times more likely to respond to properly personalised marketing offers, demonstrating that communicating with customers on a tailored, individual level can play a vital role in building long-term customer relationships.

The benefits of investment management firms personalising and adding marketing messages to their statements are unmistakable, and print communications specialists now have the capability to carry out high quality variable print at the touch of a button. Companies that personalise have an advantage over competitors that are not tailoring their investor communications – which, as a result, are wasting an opportunity to build customer loyalty, sell clients on other products and services, and boost marketing ROI.

Patrick Headley
GI Direct
Patrick Headley is Sales and Marketing Director at GI Direct. He has held roles with Colorgraphic and J Howitt & Sons before joining GI Direct in 1993. Patrick started with GI Solutions Group as a senior sales person, progressing to Business Development Director, and now heads the sales team.


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