What do you value the most about the business?
A – You get an opportunity to work across quite different clients but all in the industry that we know and love, wealth and asset management. We get to work with large American firms down to small boutiques, we work with people looking at data, people looking at training, people working with great marketing initiatives.
B – We have a purpose which resonates with clients. We talk about trying to support marketing's role in our industry and ensure it’s a strategic data-driven function. I feel like it really lands well.
T – What I particularly value is that ability to keep on learning. Maybe one of the things that could be feared about joining a consultancy is that you're always trying to leverage what you used to know from being in-house. But actually, what transpires is that you're working with lots of different clients with different strategies and different cultures at different stages of their growth. You just keep on learning not only with them but also from the different specialisms and expertise that we have within the business. We're recruiting into different core skill sets and I love and value the fact that we have such disparate experiences and voices within the business. And they are all sharing their skills for the benefit of the client.
What do you enjoy most about your job(s)?
B – I love running a business – it's just fascinating. Academically it's really interesting for me but I really love the accountability of being in charge of stuff and trying to deliver and working with the team to do that.
T – I've loved seeing different members of the team really grow into their role. You don't need to give them much room - and they blossom, and they bring so much energy.
A – For me it's the freedom to work on whatever needs to be worked on. There's amazing flexibility, because we're still the size we are. Hopefully we can carry on like this as we grow. Whereas, if working in a large firm, sometimes your time and your priorities are decided for you.
What has been the biggest learning over the years?
N - There's running the business, and then there's the work. Having run the marketing in asset management for our entire careers – and then start to do it as an external consultant - the learning curve was incredibly steep again. The combination of the variety of clients and projects alongside the changes in the investment industry itself means we are constantly evolving in our thinking and growing as we go. The learning curve has been, and continues to be, incredibly steep for people who are as far through their careers as we are, which, actually is really cool. Amazing.
A Mine is really clichéd - it's all about people. Hire great people and watch them transform the business.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the past 5 years?
A – The fact that we now have a three-pronged strategy (as a business) makes a huge difference. We're having interesting conversations with clients about helping them build authority in their own marketing, the authority of their teams through our training, and building authority around knowledge and data with marketing.
N- The size and scope and talent that exists in the business. We have such a fantastic team. That is transformative in terms of what we can do for a client.
What do you think is the biggest thing to influence investment marketing over the next five years?
A – There are more mergers and acquisitions in the market…to create the scale players. In particular the firms I think we are going to do a lot of work with, are the ones who need help to define their brand and be the kind of investment firms they want to be. And then I think technology plays an increasingly challenging role because if you're trying to do marketing personalisation and better communications around bigger numbers of people, then tech is the only thing that can do that.
N – From the investors’ point of view: they expect a personal service including tailored communications, because that's what we get everywhere now. From an internal point of view, that means a massive focus on ROI. You’ve got to be able to demonstrate the value in what you are doing through delivering that personal experience to your client, based on some kind of recognition of what the individual wants. That’s a challenge for this industry, which is obviously quite behind on that.
T – I agree with all of those; I think you have to expect there is going to be significant disruption, whether that is through regulation or better technology or a better way of servicing clients.
I think there are many great consumer brands that could use technology and their ability to understand the customer better, to bring significant disruption to a lot of businesses that are clunking through their legacy systems, trying desperately to make it better.
Twink, when you started up the business, is this what you saw?
T – Candidly…no. The shape of the business now has grown beyond where I started. I guess if we go back five years, outsourcing marketing was not a common concept. What I'm proud of is the way that the business and its propositions have evolved as clients have told us what they need and want. It has helped us shape the proposition to be something that is meaningful and relevant to clients and also made sure that we have stayed differentiated because we continue to evolve.