NEW YORK, October 20, 2005 – Asset management firms seeking to utilize Web-based tools to maintain and expand their advisor relationships should provide significantly higher levels of personalization and customization on their sites, according to a new study from kasina, LLC, a leading consultant to the financial services industry.
The kasina study (�The Secret Value of Personalization: Retention�) notes that by implementing personalization, asset managers can direct more meaningful content to advisors, waste less of the advisors� time in sorting through information they do not want, and create a much more favorable selling environment. For many firms, these objectives can be accomplished using existing technology and resources, kasina says.
The firm�s report examines the roles to be played by �personalization,� which kasina defines as �firm-driven,� and �customization,� which is �user-driven,� in interacting with the advisor community. It concludes that personalization, in which the firm selects the information to be delivered to the advisor based on previously collected data, Web site usage patterns, and defined user profiles, provides the greatest opportunity for success. Customization, which requires user input, should focus primarily on allowing advisors to modify information or content that they do not want to view or access.
�We have seen from our research that Web site functionality can be a factor in determining where advisors direct their business and where they choose to build long-term relationships,� said Conrad Bakker at kasina. �Increasing the level of personalization can strengthen relationships, improve retention, and provide a generally more effective selling environment.�
HOW TO GET THERE
The kasina study recommends that a personalization strategy be composed of three elements: establishing goals, defining the available resources (both human and technical), and formulating a detailed plan of action. Once the plan is in place, firms should begin to compile detailed customer data points, incorporating all relevant information about their advisors and advisor groups.
In implementing the plan, the kasina study defines three primary levels of personalization:
FIRM – This includes creating firm-specific micro sites, or personalizing Web sites to contain content that is specific to a given distribution partner and the funds it sells.
SEGMENT – At the segment level, content is targeted to a group of advisors based on their similar behaviors and characteristics.
INDIVIDUAL – This delivers highly-personalized content to individual advisors, based on factors including their book of business and site navigation history.
�The key to making personalization work is to translate every piece of information regarding an advisor into a vehicle for further refining personalization efforts,� stated Anri Wheeler at kasina.
ADVANCING THE BUSINESS MODEL
�Any color, so long as it�s black,� Henry Ford famously said with regards to consumer options on his Model T. Much the same was true for earlier iterations of the advisor Web sites offered by asset managers. However, as with automobiles, technology has advanced and a Model T Web site is no longer sufficient to build and maintain a productive relationship with an advisor, according to kasina�s Bakker.
�Delivering more value for advisors means increased customer satisfaction, higher retention levels, and the opportunity to cross-sell additional products,� said Bakker. �All asset management firms should be working towards this goal.�
The full kasina report �The Secret Value of Personalization: Retention,� is now available for purchase.
kasina is a management consulting firm that is focused on helping financial services companies create intelligent relationships with their investors and intermediaries. By combining knowledge of distribution trends, technological innovations, and marketing strategies, kasina aids leading asset management firms with front-office efforts and publishes a regular schedule of cutting-edge industry research. kasina�s client list includes 18 of the 20 largest asset managers in the United States and leading firms in Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. An overview of services offered by kasina is available at www.kasina.com.