We’re thrilled to announce that Peter Vellenzer has joined Hearsay Social as head of sales to grow our leadership presence in the DACH region, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Peter is responsible for driving sales and marketing, as well as educating financial services firms on why they must activate their advisors and agents on social and digital or risk irrelevancy. With more than 20 years of successfully launching new products into new markets and achieving double digit revenue growth, Peter has held sales and account management positions at Oracle, Deutsche Telekom AG and IBM, among many other leading firms.
Hearsay Social’s presence and team in Europe continues to grow exponentially. Most recently, we announced our newest customer in France, Credit Agricole, which received impressive press coverage. For more information on job opportunities in Europe, visit the Hearsay Social careers page.
I’m excited to announce that Hearsay Social’s newest feature, Corporate-to-local Advertising for Facebook, launched today. Built from the ground up, this new functionality will help make Facebook advertising so much more easier and effective for our customers. Here at Hearsay Social, we pride ourselves on our laser focus to help our enterprise customers leverage social and digital to drive business at the field level. And the value and power of hyper-targeted, local Facebook advertising has become increasingly clear. Consumers want to hear from and learn about businesses that aren’t just relevant to them, but are also accessible so that when they’re ready to buy, the experience is easy, local and convenient. This consumer buying journey is especially relevant to financial services, since ultimately an advisor’s or agent’s business is built on highly personal – and usually local – relationships. Given that so many consumers are spending time on social media, networks like Facebook present a huge opportunity for advisors and agents to attract new local prospects, which is crucial to their business. But they don’t always have the time, trust, budget or know-how to capture those prospects using online advertising. But corporate marketing teams at the firm level do have the expertise and budget for building and delivering great ad campaigns. What if organizations could use their existing advertising account and apply their marketing knowledge and budget to drive prospects directly to their local advisor or agent websites? Our new Corporate-to-local Advertising feature does just that. It enables central marketing teams to leverage their marketing expertise to create, manage and optimize individualized Facebook ads for their field force … at scale. With just a few clicks, they can generate thousands of ads, each personalized with each advisor’s name, location and more, so that they have more in-market relevance while minimizing competitive bidding that can occur among advisors. Corporate marketers have the ability to centrally manage ad budgets while gaining full visibility into and access to manage local advertising campaigns – so that their advisors and agents can spend more time doing what they do best: servicing their clients. To that end, I’m thrilled to share that American National, a leading insurance firm founded in 1905 with regional presences in all 50 states, has already seen impressive results from their Corporate-to-local Advertising program through Hearsay Social. The company has experienced 2,658 percent more traffic to their representatives’ local websites at a cost-per-click that’s 58 percent less than past Facebook advertising efforts that didn’t utilize Hearsay Social’s technology. Read more here. This solution would not be what it is without the ongoing support and encouragement from our customers, many who have been with us from the very beginning of the initiative to help test, refine and pilot the technology and overall program – thank you! Along with the rest of the Hearsay Social team, I look forward to adding new Corporate-to-local Advertising features and efficiencies, as well as expanding it to new social media platforms. Look out for more news in the coming months! For more information, check out our press release.
Hearsay Social customers from across Europe gathered for the 2nd annual customer forum in London on June 16. The interactive forum — geared for customers to learn how to derive success from their social media programs — was filled with practical tips and insights on the most pressing questions concerning their programs today, including those related to product queries and requests, scaling the business, and measuring ROI. The afternoon opened with an address by Steve D’Angelo (@stephendangelo), global head of sales at Hearsay Social, and focused on major global trends shaping digital programs in the financial services industry. Steve thanked everyone for joining and and for their continued business. Steve stressed that this was their meeting and that they were free to ask any pressing topics that were on their minds concerning their programs.
Below are some of the key trends and takeaways from the day’s event:
Trend #1: Communicate on your clients’ terms Steve spoke about the changing preferences of the consumer in interacting with businesses. Like other brands they are used to, customers expect their advisers to communicate on different channels with relevant and timely content, tailored to them. He emphasised the need to become a customer-centric organisation which goes beyond just having a single data view of the customer. The need to provide an omni-channel experience – where interactions move seamlessly between online and mobile SMS via phone and in-person – is increasingly important in this hyper-connected era. By being findable and available on multiple channels and platforms, the easier it is for customers to engage with you. Trend #2: Better connect marketing with relationship managers Across our clients, there is no shortage of great content generated by marketing teams. But for that content to reach the right audience at the right time, firms need to leverage their front line salespeople – client advisers, relationship managers and agents. This not only ensures that marketing content gets amplified many times over, but it also creates a more personal relationship between the client or prospect and the advisor. Trend #3: Get access to “dark data” All companies collect and store dark data. Dark data is defined as operational data that is collected by firms but is currently not used by relationship managers in the field. Steve emphasized the importance of this information for serving clients in an optimized way and improving the customer experience. For example, if a customer comes to your corporate website and then visits an advisor’s site, you should be able to have this data against the customer available to the advisor for timely and effective lead follow-up.
Opening remarks was followed by an interactive session on our product roadmap led by Mark Gilbert (@Markegilbert), vp of products and Chris Andrew (@chriswandrew), managing director for Hearsay Europe. There was ample time for active discussion during the product session on how to enable agents/advisers to use Hearsay more often. Scaling the program In one of the more interactive sessions presented by customers such as Thomas Rudelle (@ThomasRudelle ) ofAXA France, James McQueen (@McQueenUK) of Charles Derby (part of Old Mutual Wealth) and Liz Thompson of Aberdeen Asset Management, participants received practical tips for motivating and growing their social program. Some of the key takeaways on what makes for a successful program, included the following advice from Thomas:
Teach your Sales team to use social media through discussion forums, weekly meetings, and Facebook/LinkedIn groups
Engage in change management
Test and learn
Amplify and share adviser success stories, including through the use of regular video testimonials
Start small when measuring ROI The day concluded with an informative discussion on how to measure ROI led by Hearsay Social’s Matthias Göllner (@goellnermat) and Andreea Costea of Allianz Romania. Matthias demystified ROI by presenting the Hearsay ROI framework mapped against the stage of digital maturity the customer is in – outlining a journey towards measurable ROI (see illustration below). Andreea showed the framework in action as she shared a recent case study based off of an online survey with advisers to understand the impact of social media on an adviser’s business. Her presentation was full of practical tips on how to think about ROI, such as:
Leverage multi-dimensional views on ROI (NPS, agent success stories, agent survey)
Use the right measurement approach depending on the maturity of the program
Measure success early on in order to influence the actions and strategic direction of the project (e.g. agent training, social signals, Facebook ads)
Share successes in various ways (agent stories, best practices, leader boards for social)
Develop a community of agents on social media (e.g. Facebook group) to motivate them to actively share their success.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to come for the annual customer forum in London. Your engagement and dialog are the reason we strive to do better.
Connect with us on Facebook, or visit Hearsaysocial.com for more information.
Hearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) today had the pleasure of being a guest on DisrupTV (@DisrupTVShow), a web series focused on leadership, innovation and disruption.
Co-hosted by R “Ray” Wang (@RWang0), principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research, and Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), chief digital evangelist at Salesforce.com, the show features candid, informal conversations with game changers in business, technology and media.
On the show, Clara shares the inspiration behind her newly released book, The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Consumer (including how she was able to accomplish writing it while on maternity leave). She also discusses:
Why social and digital have become too important and too strategic to delegate to a junior or siloed team; CEOs, boards and management teams must personally own and drive their companies’ digital strategy
How today’s customers want and expect to be able to engage with the brands they purchase from and how companies that do not leverage digital communication channels are at risk of being disintermediated
Examples of companies that are embracing Social Business
The way consumers interact with service providers—whether retail, health care or banking—has profoundly changed from just five years ago. Even in heavily regulated industries like financial services, digital disrupters have drastically altered the status quo, forcing companies to rethink traditional business models in light of new digital entrants and shifting client expectations. From robo advisors to new regulations, millennials to baby boomers, new developments are making clear that the ways of the past are no longer the keys to success in the future—or even today.
The urgent necessity of firms and their employees to adapt to the changing expectations of today’s always-connected consumer was a key theme at Hearsay Social’s recent Innovation Summit in San Francisco, which focused on the transformative changes taking place within the financial services and insurance sector, as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
To stay relevant and succeed in the face of such profound changes, here are five things to keep in mind:
1. Financial technology is an evolution, not a revolution.
The phenomenon that is happening in financial services is an evolution, rather than a revolution, according to Naureen Hassan, the chief digital officer at Morgan Stanley, in her opening remarks on the future of wealth management. Amazon and Google have set the bar for what consumers now expect and demand. These new consumer expectations do not mean that traditional wealth management firms have to completely change course, but they need to evolve.
Consumer trends that started in retail are now clearly affecting regulated industries like financial services. For example, mobile now accounts for 21 percent of all transactions at Starbucks. Allowing customers to order via mobile before picking up their drink moves people through lines more quickly, but still allows for personalized customer experiences. Consumers expect to have access to certain information and activities through their phones, but that doesn’t mean that human interaction is going away. Leading financial firms are exploring similar practices and next-gen tools, and may look to retail leaders like Starbucks for ways to enhance customer experiences.
2. Skate where the puck is going.
This should come as no surprise, but following the money is always a good strategy. There is a lot of buzz in the industry about robo advisors and digital-direct financial products, but those channels only capture a small portion of invested assets. The 10 leading financial advisor channel firms still tout more than $13 trillion assets under management, compared to $250 billion for robo advisors. Focusing on capturing the generational transfer of wealth is a much bigger opportunity. As Chip Roame of Tiburon Strategic Advisors points out, baby boomers, who still hold the majority of America’s wealth, will liquidate some portion of the $59.4 trillion in retirement plans, personal assets and small businesses they currently control. A significant portion of this money will go to the current millennial generation, and getting in touch with them now is essential.
3. Know your next generation of clients.
Financial planners and advisors looking to reach this next group of investors need to know that millennials have already taken the mantle as the largest portion of the American population, and just last year became the biggest part of the American workforce. This is quickly creating a lot of new client opportunities, but firms will need a refined understanding of how to meet the unique needs of this growing demographic, as my co-founder and CEO of Hearsay Social Clara Shih has shared.
Moreover, what financial professionals may not know is that despite their digital dispositions, most millennials still crave face-to-face interaction with an advisor, just like their parents before them. However, millennials also expect those advisors to be digitally savvy. Having a strong online presence and communicating through a variety of digital channels is imperative. Digital technology is not just a disrupter, but also an enabler, opening doors for advisors to have the same human interactions with a younger generation.
4. Digital technology is not turn-key.
Simply opening new digital channels of communication for customers is not enough. You have to put in the effort to actually engage with customers where they want to interact. Kenneth Lin, founder and CEO at Credit Karma, demonstrated how his company conducts all customer interactions online, with no cold calls and no physical touchpoints. While this may not be the right approach for other financial services professionals, it certainly shows that communication will often originate online.
Today, customers expect to find and hear from you exactly when, where and how they prefer: on social media and mobile devices. Millennials are even more likely to share their experiences on social media. As a result, firms that fail to provide desired communication channels for their advisors to reach their clients—like text messaging—puts firms and advisors at risk of being left behind. Amitabh Jhawar, COO of Braintree, said his company uses social media data to inform risk modeling.
5. Financial services are being unbundled.
The primary driver of disruption in financial services is deconstruction of the one-size-fits-all product, according to Jon Sakoda, general partner at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. This unbundling allows new entrants to disrupt large incumbent firms by offering specialized, niche services at scale. To compete, traditional financial organizations must offer faster, more efficient services while playing to their “human” strengths. High tech but also high touch is how to win in today’s marketplace.
The undoubted winner in the digital evolution of financial services is the consumer, who will have a wider array of options at cheaper prices. If there are any losers, it will be those who fail to put forth the effort to arm themselves with digital technology to meet the needs of the always connected consumer. This article originally appeared in Wealthmanagement.com.
Follow the conversation at #HearsaySummit.
Big news—this morning Microsoft announced its intention to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, as part of its Productivity and Business Processes division. As the largest acquisition of a consumer internet company in history and largest acquisition Microsoft has ever done, this is a huge step for both companies and for the tech industry. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our friends and partners at LinkedIn and Microsoft on this news. I believe their combination will revolutionize office productivity and how knowledge workers like you and me create, collaborate, and work. As Microsoft’s Satya Nadella told the Wall Street Journal, this is “the coming together of the professional cloud [Microsoft Office] and the professional network [LinkedIn].” That this deal will pay $196 per LinkedIn share, a 50% premium to LinkedIn’s closing price on Friday is a great testament to LinkedIn’s value and opportunity it provides for the combined entity. LinkedIn will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary under its current CEO Jeff Weiner, with minimal impact on day-to-day operations in the short term. Longer term, I believe that this acquisition could provide a powerful opportunity to extend LinkedIn’s impact on the daily life of LinkedIn members, as Jeff wrote in his blog post announcement this morning, by “massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more.” Unquestionably, the addition of LinkedIn’s social and identity graph provides Microsoft with a highly strategic opportunity to continue owning the world’s office worker and productivity applications going forward. Congratulations again to the LinkedIn and Microsoft teams on this announcement and on their joint mission to empower people and organizations. As a LinkedIn Certified Partner and former Microsoft employee, I look forward to our continued partnership and supporting the combined entity’s ambitious plans to revolutionize office productivity and the knowledge worker.
In Episode 82, Dan Greenberg (@dangb), Sr. Account Executive and FinServ Lead at Twitter joins us to share how Twitter is being leveraged for growth and engagement in the financial services industry. In our discussion we explore how the sharing of information leads to loyalty, how solving problems leads to marketing, and how Twitter mirrors interactions and conversations in real life. Join us in this enlightening exploration of my favorite social network and thoughts on what’s next. Be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com. We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.
Clara Shih, CEO and author, says the problem is often a lack of leadership
Consumers are spending more and more time online and on social-media sites. Yet many companies have yet to adapt.
That’s the argument made by Clara Shih, chief executive and co-founder of Hearsay Social Inc., a maker of digital marketing software founded in 2009, and a director of Starbucks Corp. Ms. Shih – who has written a new book on the subject called “The Social Business Imperative” – argues that every company needs to accept the fact that it, too, must become a technology company.
In other words, opening a corporate Instagram account won’t cut it.
Ms. Shih spoke with The Wall Street Journal about her role at Starbucks and what’s holding larger companies back digitally. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation. Everyone’s job WSJ: What do you see as your role on the Starbucks board? Is it fair to say you’re a digital ambassador to the company? MS. SHIH: My job is to be a director. You can initially start with digital ambassadors, but ultimately digital becomes so strategic that it’s everyone’s job. You can’t delegate it to a single director or small group of directors. You can’t delegate it to a social-media team or to the digital team. It really has become everyone’s job, whether you’re a CEO, chief marketing officer, front-line salesperson, customer support.
I contribute like anybody else. I ask questions. I offer specific insights. The questions and insights that I tend to volunteer often come from the Silicon Valley startup culture. I by no means am the only person who asks those types of questions, nor are those the only types of questions that I ask. WSJ: You joined the Starbucks board in 2011 and now it’s 2016. How has the company evolved in that time? MS. SHIH: We continue to become more technology-oriented. A number of the directors are really digitally savvy. It’s really independent of tenure and generation. I think having Kevin Johnson – having been an executive of Microsoft and Juniper – appeals to Starbucks in that this is a technology executive who really infuses that DNA into Starbucks. It’s further reinforcing that Starbucks is a technology company. WSJ: In your book, you argue that, today, every company has to be a tech company. What does that mean? MS. SHIH: You have to be where your customer is. If your customer begins their buyer’s journey online or if they want to complete their buyer’s journey on social, mobile and digital, of course, you have to be there too.
When I think of the store experience, it’s not just the physical merchandising and layout of the store. People are often on their devices when they’re in the store, so part of the store experience is the Wi-Fi, it’s the content we can deliver through the Wi-Fi, it’s the mobile app. WSJ: Are companies embracing this perspective? MS. SHIH: I think most are doing something and they’ll acknowledge that technology and digital are important – but it’s all about execution. Transformation is much more than putting up a Twitter account and training your customer-service rep or marketing team to tweet. The need for leadership WSJ: What’s the stumbling block? MS. SHIH: Here’s the thing about companies: They’re made up of people. Of course, there are people within the company who view technology and innovation as imperative. But there are also a lot of people, especially in big companies and especially in regulated companies – take any of the banks that Hearsay works with – whose job it is to minimize risk. We see this with Hearsay, too, where a chief marketing officer or a head of sales will say, this is great. Then somebody in compliance looks at it and because their mandate is to reduce risk they say no. That’s why companies can’t move forward. They kind of get stuck.
Unless CEOs personally take ownership for digital and innovation, it’s not going to happen, because there’s going to be an impasse with the people that want to go forward and the people that don’t. WSJ: Any good examples of an older company that has transformed? MS. SHIH: I saw many, and I’ll share one such story with you and that’s John Hancock Insurance. Traditionally, [insurance] was an entirely offline experience for everything from purchase to claims. The second issue is they don’t have frequent touch points. Most of the time you buy insurance and then you never hear or want to hear from the insurance company again until there’s a claim.
Last year, John Hancock partnered with a company called Vitality [owned by South Africa-based insurance company Discovery Ltd.] and they launched this new program in the U.S., where they provide free Fitbits to their insurance customers for the purpose of encouraging them and tracking how active they are. They realized that all the actuarial tables show that the more active you are, the longer you’ll live, the healthier you’ll be. They said, instead of being this passive assessor of risk, what if we became an active coach? WSJ: How can other companies be more digitally oriented? MS. SHIH: Every company wants to be innovative, they want to change. That’s why they come out and do these visits in Silicon Valley and they launch these innovation labs. Most of the time, it doesn’t work out.
It’s because there are two issues. One, the company culture was established to be very risk averse. Two, which is related to culture but is more process oriented, is that it’s hard to take an idea and operationalize it. Imagine having 200,000 employees and trying to get everyone to change direction. That’s a struggle that many companies face right now. Original article published May 30, 2016, in The Wall Street Journal.
In May, we hosted our 4th annual Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley for more than 100 CEOs as well as sales, marketing, IT, and compliance leaders. From Morgan Stanley Wealth Management co-head Shelley O’Connor to Palantir founder Joe Lonsdale and a panel of roboadvice startups, we had a terrific two-day dialogue on key industry trends and how to adapt to the new normal. We had a great speaker line-up and hope you will find some of our highlights insightful.
FUTURE OF WEALTH MANAGEMENT Shelley O’Connor, Co-CEO, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
• The vast majority of people, even millennials and Gen Z clients, want an advisor, a human being they can call on, trust, and hold accountable. But they may not want to meet in person every time (or ever).
• Morgan Stanley is doubling down on their human advisors and will give them tools to free their time to focus on the human touch valued by clients. WHAT WILL THE ROLE OF ADVISORS BE? Vik Sohoni, Partner, and Brant Carson, Partner, McKinsey & Co.
• Digital marketing and content are more important than ever, as customers are researching online before even talking with an advisor.
• It will always be important to meet with client in person, but it’s imperative for agents to become digitally-enabled and savvy.
CLIENT LOYALTY DISCUSSION John Fishback, Managing Director, CEB
• A large-scale global research study showed digital conveniences like a mobile app or check deposit were seen as table stakes and did not drive loyalty. Overall, using digital did not incrementally increase loyalty, but a lack of digital drove disloyalty.
• According to the study, the greatest factor driving loyalty was the presence of an advisor or banker when their client experienced a moment of truth, and the ability of the advisor to drive the client to take an action he or she would not have otherwise taken in that situation. THE OMNICHANNEL CLIENT AND OMNICHANNEL ADVISOR Clara Shih, CEO and founder of Hearsay Social
• Each step of the advisor-client journey now deeply intersects with digital, from discovery and research/validation to consideration, loyalty, and referrals.
• Firms must digitally train and equip their advisors to be findable, responsive, and in touch via social, mobile, and digital, and provide a technology platform that’s easy to use especially for the late-career technophobes who can be your top producers. WEALTH MANAGEMENT TRENDS Chip Roame, Tiburon Advisors
• There’s incredible hype around robo-advisors, which have raised $540M in venture funding. In reality, they have gathered just $7.2B AUM and each generate less than $10M in revenue.
• The largest “robo” is actually Financial Engines, which grew $10.5B AUM in 1H/15. Their net flows exceed all robo-advisors’ AUM combined. Vanguard Group’s Personal Advisor Services business (in pilot mode) has already gathered $31B, with no paid advertising. > View slides from this session THE POWER OF PUTTING THE CONSUMER FIRST, ALWAYS Ken Lin, CEO & founder, Credit Karma
Moderated by Noah Wintroub, Vice Chairman, JPMorgan
• Credit Karma is an eight-year-old tech “unicorn” valued at $3.5B that began with a simple vision: Give consumers their credit reports for free. It has blossomed into the leading marketplace for credit cards, loans, and more serving one in five Americans, with a focus on millennials.
• The secret to their success has been saying no to seductive short-term revenue opportunities (like selling member data) and thinking longer term for customer loyalty.
PRESIDENTIAL-STYLE SHOWDOWN DEBATE: ROBO-ADVISOR VS. TRADITIONAL BROKERAGE Mike Sha, CEO & founder, SigFig Bo Lu, CEO & founder, FutureAdvisor (now part of BlackRock) Naureen Hassan, Chief Digital Officer, Morgan Stanley
• Three different models on stage: Standalone startup SigFig, a startup acquired by a big firm but run independently FutureAdvisor, and traditional 80-year-old brokerage Morgan Stanley.
• Robos will expand the market to serve people through a purely robo model and a hybrid model in which advisors leverage robo technology along with a more traditional approach.
• A few days later, SigFig announced major investment and partnership with UBS. FROM PAYMENTS TO INVESTMENTS Amit Jhawar, COO, Braintree Payments (part of PayPal)
Moderated by Deepa Seetharaman, Wall Street Journal
• Braintree recently led $30M investment round and partnership with Acorns, a “micro-investing app” for millennials. How it works: Rounds up every purchase to the nearest dollar and invests the extra money in ETFs.
• Most millennials don’t have enough money set aside or saved to invest, so this is a way for them to easily begin investing. PayPal is expanding into adjacent areas in financial services. It’s no longer just a payments company.
SILICON VALLEY PERSPECTIVES Jon Sakoda, General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
• NEA is the largest and oldest venture capital fund, $1B AUM
• The biggest challenge facing financial firms is the unbundling of their products and services by thousands of startups — which makes it difficult to know who their competitor is because there are thousands of competitors across the breadth of what they do and provide for clients. The solution for many firms has been to buy and partner with these point competitors rather than trying to build everything themselves. > View slides from this session Watch complete the videos from the event here:
In Episode 81 we take the show on the road and up North to Toronto, Canada, for a special interview with Sabrina Magyar, Senior Marketing Manager, Advisor Support at BMO Nesbitt Burns. In our interview, Sabrina shares how the Advisor Support team works closely with advisors to help educate and illustrate the value of social media as part of their overall marketing and personal branding strategy. Sabrina also shares how senior leadership buy-in helps drive adoption and the best practices learned along the way. Be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com. We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.