Getting Through to the C-Suite

Dan Weeks


The upper ranks of asset management companies tend to be occupied by fund managers and finance professionals. What does it take for a marketer to get there? As senior marketers in asset management firms, how do we prove the value of marketing – and our own worth – to corporate leaders? David Cowan of The Financial Services Forum chairs a breakfast meeting seeking answers. Dan Weeks of Copylab provides a summary.

Understanding the challenges facing senior executives at asset management businesses is key for marketers. The advance of technology is creating more opportunities for marketers to drive customer relationships and show the value that they add, but at the same time, it’s putting pressure on marketing in asset management.

Relating to Leaders

• Marketers have to be able to speak the language of the C-suite. CEOs and CFOs tend to be put off by jargon.
• Understand the challenges that senior executives face. These include increased longevity (a particular issue for asset managers at insurance companies), power rebalance (the development of technology is giving more people access to information, resulting in strain on the way marketing is being done in asset management) and critical citizens (an erosion of trust in institutions and politicians).
• Be transparent. Asset managers and sales executives are exposed when they do a poor job, and so can sometimes become frustrated when some marketers avoid transparency about what they do.
• After becoming familiar with the issues facing senior managers and their goals, marketers have to contribute to that and run programmes that add to the bottom line.
• A firm’s place in its own evolution and in the marketplace can affect how marketers respond to executives.

The March of Technology

• Developments in technology, such as artificial intelligence and fintech, are having a wide range of effects across business and society, and asset management is no exception. The use of AI in direct sales is creating opportunities for today’s marketers, because the more we can sell directly, the more sales and marketing are merging.
• New technology is making it easier for marketers to reveal added value.
• Digital trends are giving marketers opportunities to own customer relationships and develop new scalable business models and profitable streams of business. AI and fintech provide different products and services that can reshape business.

Other Points

• Asset managers tend to focus on assets and KPIs. Marketers can’t do that – we have to think in terms of customers and get our businesses to think that way, even if it takes a long while.
• It’s natural for marketers to focus on marketing budgets, but the size of a budget or team is less important than allocating the right resources to businesses issues that must be solved in order to deliver growth and profitability. We have to decide which markets to drive, which to maintain and which we don’t care about.
• How do we translate what marketing does? For marketing executives, it’s important that this becomes a numbers game, articulating what we do that contributes to the value of the p&l.

Thank you to our speakers:
Vincent Hooplot, Managing Director, Hooplot Associates
Henrietta Jowett, Deputy Director General – Commercial, The Confederation of British Industry

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