EI Marketing: Content is Key
Content is Key
How and why should asset managers reach more women investors?
EI Insights from 'Women Invest Too'
Event hosted by The Times, Boring Money & Publicis Sapient
7th March 2019
Holly Mackay, Founder of Boring Money
Bradley Gamage, Senior Director of Publicis Sapient
Catherine Newman, CMO of The Times and Sunday Times
The Female Market: “A Bit Too Niche”?
2 in 3 female readers do not currently invest their money, according to Catherine Newman, CMO of The Times and Sunday Times.
Holly Mackay, Founder of Boring Money, shared stats showing a concerning gender investment gap:
• While 21% of men in the UK have stocks and shares ISAs only 13% of women do
• Of those who do invest, on average a woman’s balance is £22,907 compared to £35,616 for men
• If the same number of women invested the same amount of money as do men there would be £115 billion more invested in the UK
Mackay recalled how in a previous role, when raising the issue of marketing wealth services to women, she was told by seniors that the female market was ‘a bit too niche’. These stats present an opportunity for asset managers in the UK.
Unsurprisingly, the temperature in the room was a different one. Senior sales and marketing executives from the likes of BNY Mellon and Standard Chartered, were aware of this opportunity as one they cannot afford to miss – but they know they’re still not reaching women effectively enough.
Sunday Times article: The female investor is more savvy than the male
Barriers in Perception & Language
Barriers in Perception and Language
The perception barrier: It’s win- win, so what’s the problem?
If women and asset managers alike both stand to gain what’s the snag which is preventing uptake? Perception-barriers on both sides.
An industry bias that views women as "niche" is leading to a marketing approach that does not address women’s negative preconceptions about finance and investment. As a senior marketer at BNY Mellon noted: “Marketers in asset management are under so much pressure from the business; as a consequence, we find ourselves on a hamster wheel unable to try new approaches."
The language barrier: the prohibitive role of impenetrable industry jargon
"Nearly half of women interviewed said that confusing jargon was the number-one turnoff when thinking about investing. Meanwhile the number one word which women associated with investing was ‘Risk’."
Holly Mackay, Founder, Boring Money
An activity already perceived as inherently risky would only be treated with further suspicion because of the vocabulary attached to it. It is not that men understand the language better than women, but this lack of understanding is less likely to act as a barrier for male investors.
Catherine Newman commented: “This is not about dumbing down for women...I don’t think that women are especially risk-averse. They’re sensible. They just need to see a reasonable up-side.”
Holly Mackay suggested that creating events and networks for women to discuss their finances in depth but not in jargon was an important step for the industry: “Not only is jargon off-putting, but investing seems such a solitary activity – that needs to change, events can play a big part in that.”
Engaging Women in Investing
Would you invest? Engaging women in investing
Women and Men almost equally as (un)likely to say ‘No’ to investing
A survey on attitudes to investing found that, when asked whether they ‘would invest’, ‘wouldn’t invest’, or ‘don’t know’, men and women were almost equally likely to say that they did not want to invest.
The gap, lies in the gender discrepancy between men predominantly saying ‘yes to investing’ and women expressing caution and uncertainty.
“We’re cautious, not stupid”
Bradley Gamage, Senior Director of Publicis Sapient described how one asset management firm updated its 1950s-style advertising from an image of macho ‘wealth hunters’ piloting a jet (where the only woman visible was the scantily clad icon reclining across the body of the aircraft) to a cartoon woman in combats, piloting the jet herself. However, Gamage suggests this was unlikely to achieve more resonance or buy-in from
female audiences: “Engaging women is not just about putting a woman in your advertising.” While women may not be won over by fighter jets, the ‘Pink and Periods’ route is not the way to go either. From pink Bic pens, to partnering ISA marketing campaigns with major tampon brands – as famously touted by The FT’s Personal Finance Editor, Claer Barret – the panel dismissed the ‘Pink and Periods’ approach.
"“Think about the influencers, the fathers, the husbands and the sons, too but we also need to think about the B2B market – IFAs, independent wealth managers too, whether these are men, or women”"
Marketing seeking to drive female engagement should not only engage women, according to the panel
Women Want Life Goals, Security & Independence
Why do women want to invest?
According to The Times’ Catherine Newman, we need to consider why women want to invest:
“The reasons I invest are because I have two young daughters for whom I want the very best and because, should my relationship break down, I want to know that I will be free to walk away and immediately be standing solidly on my own two feet. As a marketer I believe the same is the case for most women: They’re not so much driven by the what as the why. Once we start thinking about why women want to invest, their life goals, security and independence, then we really engage them.”
Investing for investing's sake Vs. Investing for life's sake
While male investors may enjoy the thrill of the ride - investing for investing’s sake, women are much more practical in terms of desired outcomes – investing for life’s sake. If marketers can speak directly to these practical objectives they will see greater success with female audiences.
Women are more focused on tangible targets, such as property or school fees and tend to invest according to a specific goal rather than a benchmark. (FT)
Grace Peters, Executive Director at JPMorgan Private Bank
The ideal market for content-driven messaging
The ideal market for content-driven messaging
The cautious customer is the ideal market for content-driven messaging
If women are not closed to investing, but rather hampered by a want of certainty, clarity and information, asset managers should take a content-marketing approach, delivering a campaign that cultivates interest and confidence through information and debate.
To this end Catherine Newman discussed a campaign run by the Times and Sunday Times called ‘Women and Wealth 2019’ launching in April 2019 in partnership with various industry brands.
This campaign seeks to:
- Campaign for the need for inclusion of female financial journeys in the way we talk about money – men’s and women’s
- Banish the last taboo: talking about money
- Bring readers straightforward and practical guidance on how to get started with confidence
Crucially, Newman emphasised that this is an approach, which unlike tampons or cartoon heroes, will reach the important middle women (and men) – the IFA and other independent managers, an audience which also needs to be reached as part of this campaign.
Print, Digital & Events Strategy
Six industry brands are sponsoring this campaign with The Times, and Newman outlined how the campaign would demonstrate the brands as industry pioneers and thought leaders with a print, digital and events based strategy outlined below:
EI View: The Risk Paradox
EI View: The Risk Paradox
Women are not being engaged and are not investing their money
Listening to the audience, the panellists and the research, it is striking and perhaps ironic that women perceive investing as too risky, and the industry perceives women as too niche – and therefore also too risky. And yet the risk and the downside for both parties lies in women not being engaged and not investing their money. The image of the marketer racing in a hamster wheel just to keep sales on track is one that we can recognise and empathise with. Our clients are under tremendous daily pressure to keep the show on the road. Even with full awareness of the opportunity posed by the gender investment gap, hearing multiple critiques of belly-flop attempts to engage female investors, it is understandable that there simply isn’t bandwidth for something that risks doing the same.
Not Merely Key Takeaways, but Pointers for Action
Discussions at the event suddenly seemed to lift some fog on the issue with some very apparent points:
- Women have real appetite to do sensible and fruitful things with their money
- Clever and Clear Content will be the best way to shift the needle in this market
- Targeted Events and Networks will play the key ‘supporting role’ in this
- Women don’t want to be singled out they want to be welcomed in by their asset managers, their IFAs, their employers and their peers
These are not merely key takeaways - they are pointers for action.