3 Questions About Your Digital Strategy

If you’re responsible for the digital strategy of a mutual fund company, exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider or other investment manager, you’ll want to know about some important work that’s been released in the last week or so. Below I’ve extracted just a few germane findings to stimulate thinking about your digital priorities. Naturally, you’re encouraged to follow the links to the complete reports.

Video, Social Networks Drive Engagement

Online engagement by Internet users is deepening, according to The Global Online Media Landscape released by Nielsen Online. The increased engagement, according to the report, “is in part a result of a shift toward video content and social networking as popular online subcategories.”

Specifically, according to Nielsen:

  • Video: In the last year, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27% and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
  • Social media: In February 2009, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time. There are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites. In the last year alone, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%.

Question #1: Video and social media are two means of communicating that asset managers have barely begun to explore. What would it take to include measured experimentation, at the very least, in your plans? 


Mobile Continues Trajectory


Last week, it was announced that Apple had sold its 1 billionth iPhone application, after the App Store had been in business for only nine months. This week, Opera Software reported a 157% increase in the usage of its Opera Mini web browser--used for browsing via the Blackberry, for example--from March 2008 to March 2009.

“If there is any debate about the need to make Web content mobile-friendly, this number should put the argument to rest: 8.6 billion. That is the number of Web pages our servers processed in March alone,” said Jon S. von Tetzchner, Opera’s CEO, in its report.

Last September we asked if you were checking your Web analytics to see whether your users were early adopters of Google's Chrome. Later we referred you to a Web browsing site to confirm how your site looked on multiple browsers. (As an aside, our Google analytics show that no fewer than 10 browsers are used to access Rock The Boat Marketing.com.) We've also noted the heavy use of mobile phones among the affluent.

Question #2: Trying not to nag but to ask the pointed question: To what extent is your digital planning anticipating mobile users of your Website and content?

Content Will Seek Its Consumers, Not the Other Way Around

Forrester Research’s “The Future of the Social Web" report comments on the ways consumers interact with one another online. An executive summary of the $749 report is available but in the spirit of using his content to market his content, author Jeremiah Owyang provides a commentary on his blog as well as on DestinationCRM.com.

Again, we recommend your reading both sites but point your specific attention to Owyang’s last bullet in his recommendations on his blog: “Shatter your corporate Website.”

“In the most radical future, content will come to consumers--rather than them chasing it--prepare to fragment your corporate website and let it distribute to the social web. Let the most important information go and spread to communities where they exist; fish where the fish are,” Owyang writes.

What bearing does this have on investment managers' digital strategies? It's consistent with the counsel we've been giving clients. As important as your brand domain is to you, we argue against prioritizing financial advisor-only sites over the significant work that most investment manager sites need to do to make their content and messaging portable.

Question #3: If your “fish” are financial advisors, they are on other sites more than they are on yours. Is your digital strategy factoring that in?