As marketers, we are all too familiar with the cut-throat business environment, where competition for customers is rife. Increasingly, it is the quality of service and client experience that makes us choose one brand over another.  

It is no different for investment managers. Their clients, too, want to feel that the people they entrust their assets to understand them and cater for their needs.  

So, how well is your business doing this?  

Many firms have personas for key client groups to help their marketing teams. But are these client groupings – and therefore, the personas – still relevant?  

Who are your clients?  

There are still far too many investment managers who group their clients by geography, investor type or assets under management (AUM) with the business. This is not a proxy for what your clients need and it does not result in effective marketing.  

In a digital age (and emphasised by our recent home-working habits) geography has become rather obsolete to marketing teams who coordinate national campaigns. The lines between intermediate and institutional clients are increasingly getting blurred. AUM with your firm tells you little more than how loyal a client has been, with no indication of why they remain loyal or their potential size.  

Understanding your audience is far more nuanced than looking at whether they are an adviser or institution. Across your client base and target market, your audience has a plethora of different needs.  

They are informed by the things that matter most to them. If you an speak to the things that keep them awake at night, you demonstrate that you 'get' your clients. 

Some may need a one-stop shop solution while others want detailed information to make their own decisions. Some clients need a premium solution, while others are motivated by cost. If you can speak to these needs through material that is relevant to your clients, they will be much more inclined to open your email, to read your research or hear what your investment team has to say.  

On the flipside, they are much more likely to ignore your email – or unsubscribe from your list – if they perceive your offering to be irrelevant to their needs. 

Identify their needs and segment your client groups 

All of this may seem logical to many a marketer, but it is the ‘how’ that is often the stumbling block. How do we identify what our audience’s needs are? And once we have these needs, what does that mean for marketing in practice?  

The simple answer is: through insight into your market. Your business already has a wealth of insights and information about your client base and your target market. When last did you tap your sales team about what’s on their clients’ minds?  

Do not confuse this with data. Many investment managers fail to segment their audiences properly because they believe they don’t have adequate data. This should not stand in your way. Hard data (i.e. page clicks, event attendance, etc.) is undeniably useful in validating your client segments and enhancing your marketing activity. However, real-life insights about what your clients need is equally important to help your team understand your market better.  

Your subsequent marketing activity and analytics should help improve your data. This enables you to continually enhance your segments and marketing efforts.  

What does segmentation mean for your marketing strategy?  

In short: segmentation allows you to understand your market better, so you are able to offer relevant material and solutions which speak to their needs. It means you can have more targeted marketing campaigns.  

Clear segments help you enhance your personas, so that everyone in the business has a firm grasp on who they are producing material for and, most importantly, why.  

It allows your teams to be more efficient and bolder in what they push to the market. Too many businesses tend to send vague, bland messages aimed at nobody in particular, in an effort to appease as many as possible.  

By understanding your audience, you can cut through the noise and focus your message on what really matters to your clients.