The self-managed super fund (SMSF) market is growing at 40 per cent per annum. As a result an increasing number of financial services providers are developing product solutions targeted at this market.
Undoubtedly one of the most prominent SMSF marketing campaigns of 2013 has been AMP's Q& campaign. Yet despite an investment running into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, a recent report in the Financial Standard suggests that AMP has only attracted an additional 150 self-managed superannuation fund trustees. Given its investment, AMP must be pretty disappointed.
So, why such poor results? On behalf of a number of our financial services clients, BrandMatters has recently conducted research into High Net Worth (HNW) investors, Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) investors and investors considering SMSFs. Our research suggests:
- HNW and SMSF investors enjoy the sense of control, flexibility and involvement that having an SMSF provides. SMSF investors are, by nature, self-directed investors.
- HNW and self-directed investors put significant time and effort into researching their investments, and consider themselves to be very well-informed. Sometimes this extends to a belief that they can manage their investments more effectively than the professionals
- Self-directed investors see their accountants as being more trusted than a typical financial adviser. They view accountants as being more transparent regarding their overall dealings, particularly around fee structures. HNW investors have a universal hatred of commissions and hidden fees.
- HNW investors trust more objective and thought-leading information sources over traditional above-the-line advertising. Examples here include specialist online subscription services like the Eureka Report.
AMP and organisations like it have a strong history of providing professional financial advice. This advice to a large extent has long been associated with commissions and 'hidden' fees - and “professional advice” and hidden fees are exactly what most SMSF investors are seeking to move away from. Was AMP able to effectively communicate that its SMSF solution allowed investors to retain control? Was its proposed fee structure transparent? Or due to the strength of AMP's brand and its associated heritage and meaning, did too few investors even investigate to the point where the fee structure was explained?
Was its brand an insurmountable obstacle to engaging with the target audience for this product suite?
The Q& website is full of thought-leadership-style content and lead nurture tools like white papers, articles and seminar invitations, but how many visitors even went as far as the website to learn more? Without access to AMP’s comprehensive web analytics we'll never know. But it is possible that more of the campaign budget could have been allocated to objective, targeted PR and less to above-the-line advertising in order to better match the media consumption habits of the target audience.
When targeting HNW and SMSF investors, additional factors to keep in mind include to:
- understand that these investors are highly involved and highly self-directed. They expect to be treated with respect and acknowledged for their investing expertise. They want to see all options available to them and need to feel confident that nothing is being hidden from them. Transparency is highly valued.
- highlight the flexibility, security and tax effectiveness of your solution. Many investors are still holding their investments in cash, waiting for increasing levels of confidence before making more committed investment decisions. Connect with them and nurture them through their decision making with high value and thought leading communications. Make communications objective and informing (read: not pushy) in tone
- feed their thirst for knowledge, their desire for transparency and the confidence they have in their own ability. Consider investing in lead nurture software to help you automate long-term regular communications with such investors. They may not be ready to connect via phone or in person, and pushing them to do so is akin to asking them to get married on the first date - and is likely to have a similar outcome.
Like to learn more? At BrandMatters we pride ourselves on our understanding of financial services brands and how best to position your brand in highly competitive markets. We encourage you to browse our blog and download our brand resources to learn more about how brand can build your business.
Ready to connect? Contact us to discuss how we can assist your brand today.