Marketing - Telling the MF story

When I considered investing in MF I did my due diligence and although I work in asset management myself, it was difficult to wrap my head around the MF proposition. I took @tom_mf more than two hours of face-to-face time to both convince and educate me.

Now we are going mass market with the £10 portfolio, we need to think about how we tell the MF story as at this moment in time I feel that it’s too complex, too much jargon and not easily understood how it differentiates itself.

I have seen lots of research that tells me that when it comes to investing, people are very nervous. And although they feel underserved by the blue chip companies and that they don’t get value for money from them, they still prefer to put their hard earned money with an established and reputable brand over a FinTech. The question they ask themselves is: “Is my money more safe with a company that has been around 200 years, or an unknown quantity that for all I know may be run by two guys from a shed?”

FSCS protection helps, but most people have not heard of it or don’t understand it. We need to consider how we can overcome this initial trust hurdle. Simple, jargon-free plain English helps, as does evidence around performance, as does a certain degree of AUM.

We also need to think how we can clearly articulate how we differentiate from other offerings.

ETFs are growing and attractive, but mostly beta focussed with low-cost, but very passively managed.

CFDs are more like gambling, and the fast majority of people lose money on it.

DIY stock brokerage is growing, but takes time to make it work and even then most people can’t outperform the market.

Actively managed funds seek alpha returns, but have high charges and only available to high network individuals.

Micro-investing like MoneyBox is simple, but performance typically isn’t great as charges are comparatively high and rather erosive.

Robo-advice isn’t really either - it’s neither automated as it has lots of human interventions and neither advice, as typically you get an ETF based on your risk score.

MF is a mix of the best of all the above, minus CFDs but with options thrown in - but that’s bloody difficult to get the head around for a lay person. I am trying to almost get to a strap line for MF that summarises it, but the best I can get to is:

“Alpha returns on autopilot”

It’s short and sweet, but has too much jargon and doesn’t reference comparatively low cost.

Any thoughts?

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Once again @Martijn you’ve hit the nail on the head. Educating new investors, especially in the £10 accessible portfolio target market, is key. And something other FinTechs are trying to do (as they usually have the same target audience) but don’t always do particularly well so far.

I think Alpha probably won’t mean a lot to most people even if they’ve heard it banded about by other providers, so may have to go simpler, with just “Beat the market, on autopilot”. Your alpha tagline is catchier and could definitely be used for the HNWI marketing materials.

Maybe any £10 accessible portfolio marketing could also relay the message of “Join the / our crowd and beat the traditional asset managers at the press of a button”. This would be inclusive, reference MF’s crowd funding history and wider audience appeal as well as not sounding like a gimmick or get rich quick scheme that should be avoided - as you correctly point out, new investors are very wary.

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Martijn & JamesWhitt,

I would favour a strap line that differentiates as much as possible in a few words say:

Scientifically managed Alpha returns

Also I look to be in great company admitting that Tom spent time patiently helping me to understand the MF product. I was actually quite thrilled when I read Adam’s similar admission on this score.

Having said this would access to a basic dictionary of commonly used terms, jargon-buster help - it would certainly have helped me initially.

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I’m not sure Alpha is the best word to use. She may be an exception, but I just asked my wife if she knew what Alpha was and she asked if it was something from Brave New World (which in this case may not be too far from the truth)!

This is something I suggested during the Crowdcube fundraise and couldn’t agree more! I think @Marie said she was going to work on rolling out something in the short to medium term from memory. Please correct me if I’m wrong Marie!

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@JamesWhitt you are right we need to keep the language simple, accessible and inviting. I also agree that we should steer away from technical terms like alpha, but do provide a section of glossary where we can go into detail should someone click there.

But as @Martijn stated on another thread MF should be seen/educated as the next link from saving to investing. I also agree @JamesWhitt with you that MF should leverage from the current fintech user uptake, which I completely agree. I sense from the sign-ups of High Growth portfolio that MF is attracting inquisitive investors, doing their research before investing. (High growth portfolio is last on the selection list, so not an immediate choice) so content is key.

MF should look to commoditise (if there is such a word) what Monzo has done to banking. People should open their MF apps just to check their wealth management plans along side checking their current finances/banking. An out of the box analogy could be that MF is the sat nav for future destination and Monzo provides the post code.

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@martijn you have nicely summed up the landscape, perhaps a comparison illustration /table may also help in the education/awareness along with the succinct copy and the all-important strap-line

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Ideally I think we need to quickly analyse the first group of investors to take up the Accessible Portfolio product offering, in order to inform the marketing strategy. Presumably the majority are investors, which will skew the results to some extent. But, I am certain there will be invaluable information on the decision making process, triggers, perception of MF, understanding of scientific programmatic trading, personal goals and targets, experience as investors etc etc.

With what is essentially a new product, at a price that the market has never seen before, there could be some revelations with questionnaire, “interview” & data-mining that we have simply not envisaged.

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Hi all, am working on the MF help section, which should address a number of the concerns you have expressed in this thread. My answers are simple and comprehensive with examples and links to relevant pages (like the FSCS page). In the sections I am explaining what each of these authorities do and what it means to be authorised etc.
I am also of the opinion that the MarketsFlow strapline needs to be very simple and easy to understand for everyone, regardless their investing experience. “Investing on autopilot” is already being used by a robo advisor. We currently have “Let your money grow” on the MF homepage, as this is a universally accepted and strived for statement. However we are always looking for suggestions so let me know what you think. I would definitely say along the lines of returns and growing your money, as this is what we stand for at the core.

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Admittedly, I don’t like “let your money grow”. It applies to any savings and investing approach, doesn’t tell anything differently about MF.

Maybe we should tack onto the principle of FIRE: financial independence, retire early. Especially among the younger generations there is a growing movement there, and there isn’t much in that space yet.

Not quite sure how to translate that into a strap line yet but, then again, am in a zoo with three little boys in 30 degrees heat so my brain is fried.

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How about “Accessible Sophisticated Investments from £10”. You could always take out the “from £10” if too long, however it’s a strong selling point.

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It’s great to hear the help section is coming along nicely @Marie, keep up the good work!

@Martijn, I’m not a fan of MF linking too closely with the FIRE movement. It would have to be done very carefully. There may not be many financial providers targeting this space with their marketing, but there are hundreds of blogs, vlogs and podcasts on this topic. Whilst there are some very interesting ones out there and even some that are educational and encourage people to focus on managing their money, there are also a lot of terrible examples out there. There are the quite cliché examples that encourage people to move back in with their parents, live off pot noodles and never go out or do anything. And MF doesn’t want to get lumped in with a short-lived fad, for which there is already a growing backlash.

I forsee a bit of a breakaway from the clichéd aspects of the movement, focusing on more sustainable living and investing (both from a personally sustainable and wider ethically sustainable perspective). I think it would be better to jump on board with that movement.

@GDW, I like the simplicity of the tag line and it reflects MF’s offering. The word ‘sophisticated’ may fall foul of the FCA’s marketing rules as it is also used to define a specific category of investor, so MF would probably need to check whether this could be used or not.

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So to help explain the MF proposition I thought off the following:

“powerfully simple investing”.

Any thoughts?

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I like it @Martijn it does sum up the MF product, as highly sophisticated, yet simple and accessible.

As we are thinking of a strapline, we also need a word to signify the ‘innovation’ or ‘digital’ aspect of MF so that the users understand that we creating a new paradigm for managing investments, and its a shift from traditional investing.

How about slight iterations?

‘powerfully digital investing’
‘powerful digital investment platform’
‘sophisticated yet simple investing’
‘digital investment platform’
‘sophisticated simple digital investing’

So the highest growth sector within asset management is digital wealth management, hence the focus on the word - digital. And MF is truly digital breaking down accessibility barriers in every way - from £10 to App/Desktop.

Just some thoughts!

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The best strap-lines and slogans utilise the mantra of “less is more” and do not try to articulate the whole value proposition - “just do it”, “intel inside”, “think different”, “every little helps”, “I’m lovin’ it“

I wouldn’t use “digital”, as it’s open to interpretation, in two years its the norm and competitors will argue they are digital as well (“hey, we got an app!”). Everyone is trying to or proclaiming to be digital, there is no differentiation there.

I wouldn’t use “platform” either, it resonates with business people, but is meaningless to a lay person and, therefore, scares them off.

“Powerfully” suggests that it’s sophisticated, cutting-edge and gives good returns. “Simple” aims to take the fear out of investing, which many people feel, as it implies that they don’t have to do much.

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“Sophisticated, but Easy (or Simple)” or “Sophisticated and Easy (or Simple)” - You could also add “Investing” after each, which may be the best option while building brand awareness, however you could drop the word later down the track. My preference is “Sophisticated and Easy Investing”, migrating to “Sophisticated and Easy”.

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Why not: The future of wealth management

or: Futuristic wealth management

or: Intelligent computerised wealth management.

or: Breaking down (or Rolling back) the frontiers of wealth management

I am not a fan of “simple” as a descriptor - if anything I think it is ambiguous & potentially misleading.

I agree that this should ideally be short and snappy, but MF is a complex proposition to describe.

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I disagree about “simple” being misleading and ambiguous. After all, the proposition is simple: stick from £10 into your portfolio and we do the rest.

That the inner mechanics behind the scenes are complex and use complex vehicles like options, doesn’t matter.

An iPhone is simple to use, but is what happens behind the screen or how Apple manufactures them really simple?

A strapline is about summarising a proposition at the highest level, not its business or operating model.

The problem that I have with “wealth management” is that it juxtaposes the £10 portfolio. Trust me, we have market tested lots of words with customers in my company (a global asset manager), and “wealth management” turns most off as it’s seen for the few, not the many, and thus people think charges are too high.

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What about “simply sophisticated investing”?

I think it summarises everyone’s points above. I agree that we should steer clear of ‘digital’ (the likes of Uber, FB, Google etc steer clear from ‘digital’ as far as I can tell, as it is implicit and now the norm). The same for ‘wealth management’ and ‘platform’. They will put more people off than attract customers.

As I said before though, we need to check whether the word ‘sophisticated’ falls foul of the FCA marketing rules given it indicates a category of investor with different marketing rules.

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Of course I am biased, but I am not sure about sophisticated as it does not imply anything about returns. Powerfully, on the other hand, gives the idea of it being sophisticated but also about strong returns - which both culminate into powerful (I.e. both a powerful delivery mechanism and powerful returns).

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What about “Investment simplicity”?

My reservations surrounding the use of the word “simple” are that in our not that far distant non-PC past, it was not unusual to refer to people of low-intellect, or with mental health issues, as “simple-minded” or “simple in the head” or plain “simple.”

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