Mobile Strategy and the Content Continuum: Part II – Users



The user types layered onto the Content Continuum do not correlate perfectly with the devices at the top; or with the continuum itself. There are exceptions to be made for sure. But the relationships highlighted between different devices, user types, and where they lie on a spectrum of content consumption to content creation, is directionally appropriate and helpful in devising go-to-market strategy for new mobile app development.

Here's a detailed look at the different user types:

Individual Investors:  Investors are individuals looking to make their money work for them. They are consumers to their core, and really represent a good portion of the population. Being an investor is not mutually exclusive from the other personas on the Content Continuum, as many of us will act as an individual investor outside of our professional life. The majority of investor activity is consumption oriented:

  • Monitor the markets

  • Monitor investment lists

  • Monitor portfolio performance

  • Read investment research commentary

  • Review financial data

  • Watch videos from industry experts

These consumption activities can easily be handled on a smartphone or tablet. While the computer is also an excellent device for monitoring, it isn’t always handy. Individuals carry their smartphone and often a tablet with them, and these devices are tailored for monitoring, reading, and video-viewing activities. The investor is always connected, and they expect information to be accessible at all times.

Fund Wholesalers:  Wholesalers are the traveling sales arm of the fund industry, and they can proxy for many field sales roles across other industries for this discussion. Whether traveling by plane, train, or auto, staffing a conference booth or meeting clients in their office, wholesalers are a mobile bunch. Wholesalers will carry a smartphone (or two), tablet, and often a laptop. The tablet has really become a revolutionary device for wholesalers, enabling them to carry all their promotional materials electronically, connect to larger screens for presentations, stay up to date with the industry using financial publications, and monitor and contrast their firm’s products against the competition with investment research reports. While the wholesaler relies on their smartphone and tablet extensively, their PC gets some work when they are back in the office. Wholesalers will also rely on home-office staff to push collateral out to the field for easy access. But there’s no question, wholesalers are more heavily content consumers than they are creators.

Financial Advisors: Financial Advisors lie close to the center of the Content Continuum. At times they have similar patterns to wholesalers and individual investors, where they are focused mostly on monitoring their investments, clients, and the market. Advisors may also perform prospecting presentations that are well suited for a tablet use case. The tablet comes in particularly handy during the advisor’s most important interaction, the face-to-face client meeting. No advisor wants to wait for their computer to boot up, or risk running out of battery. Using a tablet for client meetings facilitates a more personal experience, while also positioning the advisor as tech savvy. Advisors will also use their smartphone and tablet to stay current with market movements and in touch with client data while away from their office.  But financial advisor daily activity isn’t quite as mobile as the wholesaler; there are certainly content-creation activities that are primarily relegated to their time in the office. Advisors will create financial plans, perform portfolio analysis and construct portfolios for clients. These content-creation activities are suited to a large-screen device like the personal computer. The advisor truly is a hybrid content creator and consumer.

Marketing Professionals:  Marketing Professionals in the financial services industry spend much of their work time creating compelling promotional materials to help highlight the benefit of their firm’s products, whether fact sheets, brochures, videos, or presentations. While meeting time in the office and access to these materials is suited for a tablet, the marketer’s value creation typically comes at the hands of their office computer.

Researchers:  Researchers come in many flavors, whether sell-side investment analysts, buy-side investors, portfolio managers, investment consultants, or many others. Investment analysis performed by researchers may require powerful software tools, heavy spreadsheet manipulation, constructing and editing models, back testing strategies, etc. These activities are handled best on a large screen with powerful software and access to large data sets. The computer is the clear device of choice for the researcher.

Mike Barad is the Head of Product Components & Services for Morningstar. He leads an interdisciplinary product development organization that provides shared services, components, and mobile application development across Morningstar’s software products.

 Next up: Mobile Strategy and the Content Continuum: Part III- Strategy

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