There’s an old saying: “When all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.” For many financial marketers, when it comes to creating thought-leadership content, PDFs are their trusty, old hammers. As a result, they think that PDFs are the only medium available for their white papers, articles, and other long-form content.
Topics: Financial Writing Tips
In WFC’s last blog post recapping my January 30 presentation with CFA Society Chicago about how to write better investor letters, I mentioned that, at a high level, there are three critical components to making your letters more effective:
Topics: Financial Writing Tips
In celebration of Presidents' Day, we at Wentworth Financial Communications put together five fun trivia questions to test your presidential knowledge of landmark financial legislation that was signed into law at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Feel free to participate and share with your clients.
Topics: President's Day
While many investment professionals might view writing quarterly letters as an unimportant chore, the fact remains that these letters are a powerful way to strengthen client relationships and showcase a firm’s portfolio management expertise. Still, putting together an engaging quarterly letter isn’t simple. As the head writer at Wentworth Financial Communications, I’ve seen many good--and many bad--investor letters over the years.
Topics: Financial Writing Tips
‘Tis the season for ambitious goal-setting in all areas of our lives. While you may have set New Year’s resolutions related to your health, your career, and your relationships, you may want to also think about ways that you can improve your writing in 2018.
Well, at least I did. Even though I make my living as a financial writer, I still have areas for improvement as a writer. One of the benefits of having a professional copy editor on my team who thoroughly reviews all of my work is that I get a valuable stream of feedback about the mistakes that I make and the things that I can do better.
Here are five ways that I’m looking to improve my financial writing in 2018:
With Millennials set to inherit an estimated $40 trillion from aging Baby Boomers over the next several decades, it’s no surprise that asset management firms have spent a tremendous amount of energy trying to figure out how to crack the Millennial code.
While most of the research into marketing to Millennials, the generation born from 1980 to 2000, has focused on how they differ from previous generations in terms of their spending habits, communication styles, investment priorities, and media-consumption habits, one investment marketing professional urges asset managers to start by understanding what Millennials have in common with older generations.
Libby Dubick, the head of an agency that helps financial services firms optimize their marketing and distribution strategies, said that there are many important similarities between Millennials and older generations—and these similarities have important implications for how asset managers market to Millennials. Like older generations, Millennials say that family is their top priority, are moderate in terms of their risk tolerance, value expertise when selecting a professional advisor, and will need more financial advice as their lives get more complicated.
Despite these similarities, Dubick said that there are, indeed, significant differences between Millennials and older generations that financial marketers should be aware of. In terms of how they spend their money, Millennials value experiences over owning material goods. When it comes to what types of messages and brands resonate with them, authenticity trumps nearly all other characteristics for Millennials.
“These have important implications for financial services firms,” Dubick said in her presentation to fellow asset management marketing professionals at PAICR’s 2017 annual conference in New York City, where the theme was “Build. Measure. Learn. Repeat. Agile Marketing in the Age of Disruption.”
A version of this post was originally published in December 2016, and it has been updated to reflect the economic and political developments of the past year.
The holiday season and the end of the year provide a great opportunity for financial services firms to reach out to clients. Writing a letter that provides valuable insight and strikes the right emotional tone, however, is easier said than done in the financial services industries.
Believe it or not, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’s classic tale about Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim, provides some powerful lessons that financial professionals can use to write a classic year-end client letter.
Here are five Dickens-inspired tips to keep in mind as you sit down to write this year’s letter:
The disruptive forces that are reshaping the asset management industry—robo advisors, fee compression, consolidation, regulatory change, just to name a few—are well known. What’s not as clear, however, is how asset managers need to adapt their marketing communications to succeed in this new landscape.
According to Lee Kowarski, a keynote speaker at PAICR’s 2017 annual conference in New York City, navigating these disruptive forces is a matter of survival for asset managers, and marketing’s ability to articulate a firm’s differentiation is more important than ever.
“As scary as (the current era of rapid change) can be, we look at it as a pretty exciting time,” said Kowarski, a vice president at DST Systems, which provides advisory, technology, and operations outsourcing to the financial and healthcare industries. “It’s a time when you actually can separate yourself from the pack and a time when marketing is going to be very much elevated in organizations. ... (Marketing) is really going to be a differentiator for organizations.”
Women are living longer than men, graduating with professional degrees at a faster rate than men, and representing an increasing percentage of senior executives and entrepreneurs. As a result, women’s influence as investors and consumers of financial services is greater than ever.
Despite this expanding clout, the financial services industry’s marketing to women is largely missing the mark, according to extensive research conducted by Kantar, a global research, data, and insight agency. “Women really aren’t coming to the category confidently and they aren’t feeling engaged,” said Anita Watkins, Kantar’s Global Head of Qualitative and the keynote speaker at the Financial Communications Society’s (FCS’s) November 28 event in Chicago, “Marketing Financial Services to Women.”
Asset management has always been one of the most conservative industries in terms of its approach to marketing communications. Obviously, much of this lack of risk-taking stems from compliance restrictions. But this conservatism is more pervasive than being limited in how you can talk about performance or how you are allowed to engage with clients on social media. The conservative nature of asset management marketing also manifests itself in the language and tone that firms use in their communications.
If you were to audit the language used by asset managers in their advertising, brochures, websites, blogs, social posts, and other marketing materials, you would probably find that the following descriptors would apply to the word choices and tone: sophisticated, formal, modest, traditional, measured, precise, refined, authoritative, or stuffy.
If you are in an industry whose value proposition is based on managing other people’s money, being perceived as being serious and careful are undoubtedly good things. But when it comes to differentiating your firm’s brand and capturing your audience’s attention in an increasingly crowded marketing landscape—one where ideas have to be conveyed in 140 characters (or 280 characters now) and clients expect to receive real-time messages that are personalized to their reading interests—sounding like a traditional, old-school asset management firm probably won’t get the job done.
Tailoring Your Brand’s Voice - Lessons from PAICR
At this year’s PAICR national conference in New York in November, I was on a panel that discussed how asset management firms can adapt their brand’s voice to fit today’s media landscape by being more engaging, conversational, and informal. (PAICR is the leading organization for investment management marketing and communications professionals.) On the panel, I was joined by Tucker Slosburg, the president of Lyceus Group, a Seattle-based firm that provides public relations and message development services for asset management firms.
During our discussion, “Tailoring Your Brand's Voice in a Disrupted Marketing Landscape,” Tucker and I talked about several lessons that marketing professionals at asset management firms should keep in mind as they think about how to adapt their firm’s voice. Here a several of the key takeaways: