For banks of all sizes, the core processing vendor decision is a critical one—from both a selection perspective and an ongoing management perspective. Community banks often face additional decisions in this process. This article will examine several of these added components.

By: John Vance and Jim Delbridge

Digital transformation has created new ways of interacting with customers and clients to obtain and retain business. This has created both opportunities and obstacles for wealth management firms that have built their businesses via high-touch, personalized interactions—still the primary model for serving high-net-worth clients today. While digital channels provide the opportunity to serve digitally oriented clients efficiently, these channels can become disjointed, impersonal, and damaging if not integrated and properly coordinated with traditional wealth management service channels.

Many wealth management firms have begun to realize that with proper planning, the digital and personalized service worlds are not mutually exclusive. Firms that have done a good job of embracing the digital world through the use of technology are seeing success. And this will only increase over time as marketing becomes more operationalized, clients become more digitally savvy, and communication expectations increase. Wealth management firms that are not thinking about how to adjust their business models to keep up with digital trends could find themselves at a significant disadvantage down the road.

Pitfalls and possibilities

The main concern we hear from wealth management firms that have not embraced digital technology is that digital channels are too impersonal. They often point to retail marketing, characterized by e-mail blasts, purchased lists, and generic messaging. While this was once the primary function of early digital marketing systems, it is not consistent with any wealth management firm’s value proposition.

That said, today’s marketing automation tools can gather data from across digital channels (web, e-mail, social, etc.) as well as other integrated data sources (CRM, other databases) to provide a true 360-degree view of a client—a true benefit for the wealth manager. These technologies help firms create a truly personalized, omni-channel experience by segmenting its client base, leveraging all known data, and providing tailored messages regardless of channel preference.

Results come from careful and pragmatic planning

When considering how to introduce digital channels within a wealth management services environment, it is important to take a holistic view of the sales and marketing organization. How is the organization aligned? What services processes currently are in place? How does technology currently enable those processes—and how could it?

Secondly, it is important to develop digital plans that make an impact on the organization—but are also achievable. A plan that is either too simple or too ambitious can cause a digital project to fail. Having achievable milestones that create results builds momentum for digital transformation.

Many places to start—and many potential benefits

Exercising care in defining requirements and selecting solutions will help drive digital channel adoption and allow connected clients to engage on their terms, thereby enhancing client experience. These are several areas where we have seen wealth management firms have success with introducing a digital strategy: 

• Using technology to automate events—from notification through post-event follow-up, targeting clients and prospects with highly relevant content 
• Segmenting clients quickly based on multiple data points from both their CRM systems and third-party data sources
• Using data fields to personalize e-mail correspondence, to the point it appears to be coming directly from the wealth manager
• Allowing sales teams greater visibility of marketing content sent to clients
• Creating simple forms and landing pages that collect leads from digital sources
• Enabling earlier detection of interested prospects

There are many other possible benefits (lead management, drip campaigns, lead scoring, social media, etc.). Areas of initial focus will depend on the maturity of current marketing and sales programs and how these align with and enable strategic growth goals.

West Monroe Partners assists wealth management and other financial services firms with developing achievable digital strategies and road maps. For more information, please contact: John Vance