VettaFi CMO Jon Fee appeared at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday to deliver a speech on global marketing in the digital age.
Fee’s background includes working for companies such as Salesforce, BlackRock, and Allianz — but he owns his own independent record label, Parks and Records, and is a strategic advisor for Humanitas and Ant Money. “Today, marketing is everything and everything is marketing,” Fee said. To illustrate the connection between data and marketing, Fee dipped into his music background to create a playlist of trends.
BIG LOVE for ETFs
The world of ETFs has grown tremendously. Starting with a small pool of just four issuers with about 80 ETFs, there are currently over 200 issuers offering over 3,000 exchange traded funds in the U.S. Though some might see this as saturation, Fee sees a vibrant, busy market. “Maturing markets require mature marketing — think tech adoption curve. The ETF is a technology.”
Fees UNDER PRESSURE
Management fees for funds have plunged since the year 2000, shedding over half their former cost. According to Fee, “Issuers are getting squeezed between investors who want to pay less and fund ‘part suppliers’ like index providers who do not want to make less. It’s a tough spot, but one you can navigate.”
Though this squeeze presents a host of challenges for issues, there are solutions. Reimaging of what agency relationships could look like is a potentially useful path. Fee also highlighted the importance of growth “success metrics” through the supply chain and across the business and the value of hiring a mix of utility marketers and functional experts.
LET’S GET IT ON-Line
The nature of purchasing has changed drastically, largely due to the influence of Amazon. People now shop online, but not just for basic goods — they also look at investment products. The pandemic exacerbated this already in-progress shift away from the brick and mortar store into the digital one.
This has a number of implications for marketing strategies, according to Fee. More customers are digital natives, and the digital town square is where people are. As such, digital data is crucially important. Important questions to consider are: What are people clicking on? What are they scrolling past? How can understanding this “digital body language” be used to personalize a message and accelerate selling?
DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ In Data
Fee urged, “Don’t let data scare you — data is just a collection of facts, such as numbers, words, measurements, observations, or just descriptions of things. And don’t let analytics scare you — it’s just a fancy word for finding patterns.” At one time, businesses relied on “gut calls,” but research now indicates that successful companies base decisions on data. This is a crucial factor in the success of tech companies. “It’s not the what,” Fee noted, “but the how, and the how is data.”
Fee sees the winners of tomorrow as the ones who understand that the best data unlocks the best marketing. “Big data gets the headlines, but best data from a simple, organized, and trusted single source of truth is what drives success.”
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