by Greg Bright*
Have you noticed that people don’t respond to emails anymore? Marketing via email is pretty much dead, unless the recipient knows the sender personally. So, Broadridge Financial Solutions is helping clients to distribute financial information via different channels.
Rob Krugman, the New York-based head of digital strategy for Broadridge, has been in Australia for the past week and is speaking at the SuperRatings annual conference – Day of Confrontation – in Sydney tomorrow (October 13). He is spreading the word about how super funds and other financial institutions should be engaging their clients.
Broadridge is a financial information communications company best known for its proxy voting services. It is the biggest in the world at processing proxy voting, supporting about 70 custodians in 110 countries. The company also provides a big range of transaction processing solutions and services from the front office through to the backoffice for banks, brokers and fund managers.
Krugman, who presented to clients last week with Patricia Rosch, the company’s president of investor communications, international, says: “I think we are only about 20 per cent of the way into the internet age. In the electronic delivery of financial information, I think we have plateaued… The problem is that the delivery of the information has not been designed for the recipient.”
What Krugman suggests is that information such as super fund statements, utility bills and other regular communications, should be sent not via email to the customer but, rather, to a “channel” where the customer regularly visits. The website of one or more of the big four banks is a good place to start. Specialist providers, such as Evernote, Dropbox and Australia Post’s digital delivery platform, are also better places to send information than via email.
Big not-for-profit super funds are notoriously bad at communications. For many funds, they don’t even have access to utilise mobile phone numbers for a majority of their members.
Even so-called ‘craft’ or single-industry funds generally do not provide adequately tailored communications for their members. With increasingly sophisticated marketing via new technologies by the banks and multi-industry funds, the smaller industry funds are destined for the scrap heap.
In a disrupted world, industry, government and the remaining corporate super funds are going to get slaughtered by the banks unless they dramatically improve their communications and member engagement.
Krugman says: “If we allow people to communicate through the channels where they are already visiting, we can do much more with our communications than just via email and getting them to sign up for electronic delivery that they probably won’t use…
“If we go to the customers at the location that they want to use – not our own website – we will have a much higher engagement and we will reduce the possibility of them going elsewhere. We need to stop asking customers to come to us; we need to go to them.”
*Greg Bright has been a contributing employer and a member of Media Super and its predecessor funds since the 1980s.
Funds need to reassess communications channels