How insight can move the dial with investors

Sometimes, having the time, budget and patience to allow insight to really bed into an organisation can seem out of reach. The results may seem intangible and the timelines inflexible. At The Wisdom Council, we know that putting the customer at the heart of decision making can make a real difference, and luckily, we’ve been working with a client, M&G, who also see the benefit too.

Colleagues collaborating round a table

As the Consumer Duty will dictate that firms must evidence four outcomes for customers, we look at a case study that shows how M&G is already demonstrating its decision making is driven by understanding what their customers want.

Understanding target market

Working with our bespoke segmentation model, which assesses where customers sit on a spectrum of behaviours and attitudes towards responsible investment, our client was able to map their customer book. With the segmentation applied, M&G could understand what proportion of customers were open to responsible investments, and which were non-believers.

M&G are committed to client input and have a customer community, who they engage on a weekly basis and which is managed by The Wisdom Council. Combining the insight from the community on various product and marketing tests, as well as the deep understanding of their customer thanks to our segmentation model, put M&G in a unique position to test and learn ahead of their 2021/2 tax year end.

But time was a crucial factor, allowing for the mapping of their book, taking the time to analyse customer understanding, testing product iterations and finally different versions of the tax year end campaign. This tax year end letter was almost a year in the making:

Profiling surveys, online research community work, one-on-one interviews, group interviews, gathering the views of those who have already invested in ESG and those who have yet to make the switch. The wonderful thing that I have seen is that if you invest enough time, the answers are there.

Will Soer, The Wisdom Council’s Research & Communities Executive, who conducted much of this project

ESG understanding and learning

Investors were invited to use their remaining tax-free ISA allowance to invest in M&G’s ESG fund. Previous tests of the letters had shown that more understanding was needed among end investors before they would be willing to commit to investing in the ESG fund.

I would want something that can demonstrate what it is actually doing - should be able to see result of investing, this is what we have done - eg saved tonnes or carbon or rainforest etc.

Community Member

Thanks to the insight from the community on the letter testing, M&G worked on various versions of the collateral, and, over time, the feedback we received on the communication was that it gave clarity on critical issues and had moved away from greenwashing.

Our recommendations to M&G following our research assessed more than just text, and we proposed the best types of images to use alongside the ESG fund information, as well as how to plan an onward journey beyond the tax-year-end letter, so as to prevent drop off. Language, format and design all helped get readers over the line.

When tested across Consumer Duty outcomes too, we also found that the text was clear, targeted in the right way and focused on the right customers.

Success through insight

As April 2022 saw a poor performance across the board during ISA season, M&G managed to buck that trend. Even people who we know from the segmentation are less inclined to take on responsible investments were convinced by the letter and diverted some funds into the ESG product.

With this new understanding under their belts, M&G are continuing to test the product and collateral to ensure they’re striving for ever-better customer understanding. Just what the FCA requires post July 2023 when the New Consumer Duty becomes legislation.

To test your products and communications with our Wise Society, or to enquire about creating your own, bespoke community of investors, please contact us.

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