Investing Is Not a “One Emotion” Sport

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Pre-retirees Express Uncertainty and Hope in Q2 2018

Most parents can attest that raising children is not a “one emotion” sport. The anticipation and joy of witnessing a child reach a milestone like starting kindergarten is often combined with feelings of sadness over the completion the toddler years. The same phenomenon occurs with investing. More often than not, investors report a mix of sometimes conflicting emotions

Global consternation over trade between the US and China coupled with tensions between the US and Russia caused a bumpy start to the second quarter of 2018, instilling feelings of uncertainty and anxiety among affluent investors. Sentiment shifted more toward hope and optimism in May with positive news about the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years and strong Q1 earnings. However, news of the Federal Reserve raising rates and the pace of US GDP growth being the slowest since 2013 overshadowed a more than 3% gain from the S&P 500 for the quarter, to which investors reacted with a mix of uncertainty and hope.

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Building Effective Apps and Websites for Advisors

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Digital tools like apps and websites are increasingly important for asset managers to incorporate and enhance within their overall advisor marketing and engagement efforts. In fact, recent quantitative data gathered by Cogent Reports have found that mobile apps generate a 47% lift in advisor consideration, with websites trailing closely at 46%. While our quant data looked at the impact of mobile apps and websites, we used qualitative techniques to uncover what providers can do to ensure their mobile apps and websites are engaging advisors and providing a consideration boost.

Digital technology is interwoven across all types of advisory tasks from client relationship management, communication, investment research and news consumption to portfolio construction, risk management and asset allocation. Advisors are seeking new technologies to streamline processes and make the dissemination of information easier. So what do advisors want when they’re using these digital tools?

Mobile Apps

While investment news and financial apps are surging in popularity among advisors and are primarily valued for news notifications, asset manager apps are gaining traction for different purposes. Advisors consider these apps valuable for staying on top of product information and accessing client information on the fly. Continue reading

DC Plan Advisors Are Leveling Up

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The defined contribution (DC) plan market is increasingly dynamic with a variety of industry forces and innovations at play, and so, too, is the makeup of the DC advisor population. Findings from our newly released Retirement Plan Advisor Trends™ report reveal important changes in the profile of financial advisors who are active in the DC space, affecting the business relationships these advisors have with plan providers and investment managers.

On the surface, the DC advisor population looks stable, with two-thirds of financial advisors (65%) continuing to oversee DC plan assets. However, DC “dabblers” appear to be backing away from the complexities of servicing the DC market. Today more than nine in ten (93%) Emerging DC advisors—those managing less than $10M in DC assets—report less than one-quarter of their total AUM is comprised of DC business: a significantly greater proportion than in 2016 (88%) and 2017 (86%). Continue reading

Three Things Utilities Can Do to Delight Their Customers

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Three Things Utilities Can Do to Delight Their CustomersThis article is not about building the fundamentals for strong customer engagement: operational excellence, a strong brand and value-added product offerings. Instead, it’s about the moments that catch customers off guard—in a good way—and how utilities can intentionally create those moments in their customer interactions. These moments help support a solid customer experience strategy, and more importantly, help create advocates, as customers share with friends and family, “you won’t believe what my utility company did!”

1. Invite new customers into a relationship

My colleague Chris Oberle, senior vice president of the Energy Research and Consulting group at Market Strategies International, has written about the missed opportunity for customer onboarding. Two years later, only 8% of customers new to their utility recall receiving any sort of welcome or onboarding material. Continue reading

Making VR a Market Research Reality

Virtual Reality Is More Than Fun and GamesMaking VR a Market Research Reality

Over the past four years, a flurry of product introductions has created significant buzz around the area of virtual reality (VR), and much of the hype is well deserved. Users confirm that VR offers an incredibly immersive experience. In practical terms, this means that VR users feel swept away from their actual, physical environment and transported into an entirely separate virtual environment that fully engages their senses of sight and sound. Fighting off robots in the land of Robo Recall when one is actually standing in one’s living room is both thrilling, fun and magical. However, academic research indicates that the benefits of virtual reality go far beyond offering a novel experience for gamers. Continue reading

Will Uber Health and Lyft Concierge Change Healthcare?

Will Uber Health and Lyft Concierge Change Healthcare?This year Uber and Lyft formally entered the healthcare market to offer rideshare services to nonemergency patients for transportation to scheduled doctor appointments. Patient no-shows are a prevalent problem in the US, with an estimated 3.6 million Americans reportedly missing their scheduled doctor appointments due to transportation issues each year. Rideshare services may particularly benefit older Americans, Medicaid patients and those with chronic diseases to help keep appointments and get care. Uber and Lyft have identified a wide-open opportunity that could significantly improve their business and simultaneously reduce healthcare costs and improve quality care. Continue reading

Mobile Apps Boost Advisor Consideration

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Whether due to the increasing reliance on technology, the desire to reduce marketing costs, better segmentation or a combination of all of these, it’s clear that asset managers are streamlining their advisor marketing efforts. Continuing a trend we observed last year, the number of advisor marketing touches across all financial services providers has declined. In a recent study of over 1,200 financial advisors, advisors indicate that they receive an average of 95.7 marketing touches from financial providers each month, down from 100.9 in 2017 and 110.1 in 2016.

This decrease in touches is an overall trend rather than the scaling back of one specific medium. With the exception of social media outreach and road show invites, advisors report a continued decrease in the number of touches from email, webinars, internal and external wholesalers and print mailings. Given these facts, with fewer opportunities to reach advisors, it’s imperative for providers to maximize the impact of each touch. Continue reading

Financial Literacy: Exploring the Financial Terms Consumers Do and Do Not Understand

The financial literacy of employees and investors remains an ongoing concern. The common definition of literacy is “competence or knowledge in a specified area.” As organizations seek to evaluate financial literacy, it is important to focus on the competence factor in the current learning environment.

At a time when more information is available than ever, by many orders of magnitude, most consumers will simply wait to google a term when they “need to know” it. Unfortunately, many financial situations do not come with triggers to cue individuals that now they need to know something. Rather, consumers need to start with a functional understanding of key concepts so they can execute financial planning and investing.

In a self-funded study, our financial services research division presented US consumers aged 18+ with a list of commonly used financial and investment terms to gauge a public level of understanding. Respondents self-evaluated how thoroughly they understand the given terms. For some of the terms, a working and ongoing understanding of the concept is important to routine saving and investing.

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Maintaining Data Security and Compliance in Market Research

Editor’s Note: Matt Benard is the Compliance and Information Security Manager at Market Strategies. He works with compliance teams behind the scenes to maintain regulatory compliance and keep your information safe. Here’s a high-level overview of how he makes that happen.

Compliance, data security and privacy have long been areas of importance for the market research industry; however, the rise in complexity and risk associated with them has been exponential over the past decade. On a near daily basis, we are all inundated with reports in the news about data breaches and security hacks, highlighting the need for constant vigilance against new threats. In addition, the ever-shifting regulatory landscape requires more attention than ever to ensure proper processes and procedures are in place. We strongly believe that maintaining trust is one of the central principles to a productive relationship. As the company’s Compliance and Information Security manager, I am really proud of the steps we have taken to further that mission.

There are few industries where attention to compliance and data security is more important than in the healthcare sector. To help guide third parties working in this space, leaders in the healthcare industry came together to develop the HITRUST CSF as a certifiable framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive, flexible and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management. As one of the only market research firms to obtain this rigorous HITRUST certification, we have shown a deep commitment to keeping data safe and lead the way as a trusted partner for all of our clients. Continue reading

Going Beyond Target Consumers to Drive Your Innovation Journey

Editor’s Note: If you’re attending the 2018 Corporate Researchers Conference, please join Gwen Ishmael and Paul Ponsford of Delta Faucet Company for “#TomBradyFail—An Innovation Lesson from the New England Patriots” on Wednesday, October 10. Their talk will dive deep into this blog topic of how different consumer types can support (or inhibit) innovation. Contact us for a registration discount code.

As  noted in Forging a Clear PATH to Corporate Innovation, it is critical to involve the right types of consumers at the right points along the Innovation Journey. Instead of simply focusing on your Target Consumer, it is important to recognize how other types of consumers—Lead Users, Creatives, Early Adopters and Brand Advocates—can contribute to and strengthen the innovation process.

These different consumer research groups form naturally around shared traits and preferences, the exact kind of commonalities that can spell gold for marketers—and market researchers. But the keys to tapping into their potential lie in understanding and identifying members of each group and knowing when exactly in the Innovation Journey they can contribute most.

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