BNY Mellon Investment Management have been shortlisted for five awards at Investment Week’s Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards 2020. We spoke to Global CMO Investment Management and Wealth Management Anne-Marie McConnon to get the inside track on present challenges and the future.
Anne-Marie McConnon began her career in the investment sector as a marketing assistant with Edinburgh-based Scottish Equitable - better known these days as Aegon. The profession wasn't a conscious career choice for McConnon, she simply ‘fell into marketing, and then fell in love with it'. This first role was unquestionably the bottom rung of the ladder: along with assisting with print media and design she also organised the post for the marketing team.
Fast forward 20 years, and via a string of increasingly high profile roles McConnon has climbed to the top: global CMO for one of the world's largest asset managers, with a 70-strong team in her reporting line. McConnon has seen a lot of change in those two decades ‘probably more in the last five years than the previous fifteen, give the pace of change in both the industry and in marketing'.
How marketing is different today
So what's different today? The answers lie in content and the marketing technology stack, which are having a fundamental impact on how brands are built and supported, and how clients understand and learn about asset managers. McConnon has been a long term supporter of content marketing as a way of communicating persuasively with customers digitally at scale, establishing her own in-house team seven years ago, beginning by hiring former Investment Week editor Kira Nickerson. Today the content team is a high performance unit, run as a ‘mini publishing operation, engaging with the investment teams just like a journalist would'.
Digital transformation in marketing
McConnon has also established global hubs for marketing operations and demand generation, looking after planning, and marketing automation - a technology she has embraced in recent years. These teams are responsible for consistency and agility in planning and driving demand, lead generation and account based marketing. The use of advanced analytics has allowed the marketing team to link online behaviours - content consumption - with subsequent purchasing behaviour.
‘We know that marketing are now responsible for a larger part of the sales funnel - most of the buying process now happens online before they even have a conversation with sales', says McConnon. The adoption of technology has also given BNY Mellon Investment Management an advantage in ‘first party' data - visitors to BNY sites are re-targeted with content personalised according to their behaviour and consumption
The adoption of new ways of working requires new skillsets in digital and data science and it will change more. ‘If you put most asset management marketers in a time capsule in the 1980s and sent them forward to today many would be quite comfortable'. But it is slowly changing, the new call to arms is going beyond supporting the sale to working in lockstep - providing insight so the front line can be more efficient and effective when contacting clients and creating the right environment in terms of awareness and preference, so clients already know, like and trust the brand.
This has also led to a fundamental rethink of how BNY Mellon IM also works with its agencies even in media. ‘ We don't want a monthly report showing what worked and what didn't, tech means you have this in real time and that means you can ensure that more of your budget goes towards the space (actual media) you can pivot, be more agile, react to data very quickly'.
All this talk of technology might lead the reader to think that technology is the be-all-and-end-all for McConnon - but that's far from the reality - ‘getting the basics right is still a necessity - something that is crucial alongside the innovation'. That is why, BNY Mellon IM are looking at every touchpoint and the end to end experience.
Brand: still the driving force of marketing
‘Brand' remains the core of BNY Mellon Investment Management's strategy and at the heart of McConnon's thinking, with the company recently completing a root-and-branch brand strategy and repositioning.
This was an ‘a brand project like no other', says McConnon, ‘Telling your story consistently is important in any brand but it is even more important in a multi-branded business like ours'. It involved bringing together CEOs and marketing and distribution leaders from eight separate investment firms as well as BNY Mellon Group. Each of the eight firms has its own distinct brand identity, so the work included a new brand architecture, an endorser logo to connect the firms back to the parent, rebranding legal entities and fund ranges, as well as a distinctive launch campaign internally and externally.
How do you square the circle? McConnon didn't set out to ‘lead the hypothesis', and instead aimed to be ‘a facilitator in that process, bringing people along on the journey' - the key people being The investment firms - developing a common purpose and what she calls the ‘troika of product, sales and marketing'.
‘The beauty of our brand' says McConnon, ‘is the best of both worlds, dedicated specialism from the likes of Newton, Insight and Walter Scott - unique investment cultures and ways of looking at the investment world - combined with the global size and stewardship of BNY Mellon'.
McConnon's answer here is snappy: ‘You can expect us to continue to innovate, to challenge ourselves to move forward. You can expect us to remain one step ahead with content, data and technology and to effect change with it, but also you can expect strong stewardship and a more purposeful brand: something that we know is already inherent in BNY Mellon IM's identity.
To register to watch the Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards 2020 virtual ceremony on Thursday 16 July at 4pm, click here