Examining and strategizing content and tech opportunities for an investment firm.

Intro

Edward Jones has been a full-service investment company for nearly 100 years. Across the US and Canada, over 14,000 financial advisors work on-on-one with 7 million clients.

 

Goal

  • Increase acquisition & retention
    • Educate younger generations about financial independence
    • Build trust and provide value to customers through leadership and financial coaching
    • Improve customers’ day-to-day management of finances

Audit goals

  • Identify opportunities for offerings and content
  • Identify technical issues
  • Substantiate design changes
  • Suggest UX improvements

Responsibilities

My role

During this project, I was the sole researcher working on this audit from start to finish. My manager provided some general information about the client and their needs, but overall I was responsible for all aspects of research and deliverables.

The core of my work was to research a holistic content and strategy based on Edward Jones’ business objectives and customers’ wants.

I examined Edward Jones’ current state of their digital experience and pinpointed opportunities.

Process

Empathise 

Identifying customers

In the brief, EJ specifically states the need for retention – long-term customers – and acquisition – potential customers, especially younger generations.

In the finance world, the longer you invest, the more there is a potential for a profit. Plus, the one-to-one service that the company provides can feel outdated to younger generations who rely on technology.

Therefore, I am lead to believe there is a generational difference between existing and potential clients. I looked into studies(*) to better understand how they differ in age, income, and income by gender.

Personas

I used the generational research as a jumping point for the personas. Using a extensive insight platform, I added specific search criteria and then dug in Excell to come up with identifying qualities for my 2 personas.

Millennial criteria

  • 18-36-year-olds
  • Interested in Personal Investments
  • Most likely to Use Financial Planner
  • Income $50,000-124,999
  • Also looked at popular millennials’ names

Boomer criteria

  • 56-74-year-olds males
  • Income $124,000+
  • Market value $100,000
  • Likely to invest
  • Also looked at popular boomer names.

Understand

Competitive analysis

I conducted a high-level competitor analysis. Identifying direct competitors who offer in-person services, but also digital-only companies.

Additionally, I browsed the app store to see how the EJ app stacks up.

Digital marketing breakdown

One of the interesting things about this audit is that it is open to my interpretation. Since acquisition is for potential clients, I thought it would be interesting to see varying marketing efforts by top investment banks.

Further areas of exploration

Lastly, I reviewed the site maps of top competitors to see if they provide something that might spark an interesting idea for Edward Jones to explore.

Ideate

Points of interest

Unlike a UX project, this audit focused on identifying areas to improve. Based on my research, I’ve narrowed in on 5 key suggestions. I’ve outlined and backed them up with examples.

  1. Keep it current, stupid
  2. “Edward Jones login” is a top search term
  3. Unsurprisingly, a lot of search terms seeking education on how to invest
  4. “Charles Schwab golf” is a top search keyword for a sponsored golf tournament
  5. “Intelligent Income” had a 120% increase in the last month for Charles Schwab in states where EJ is least searched in (CA, TX, NY, FL)

Outcome

Impact

I presented my research and findings to internal stakeholders, who in turn presented an edited version to the client. The client was very happy about the holistic vision for their digital services.

Retrospective

This project taught me a lot about a holistic approach to find contents and tech solutions. I pulled data dna ideated a persona, researched marketing efforts of competitors and looked into the emerging tech trends in investment banking.

Footnotes

  • Generations and Age – Pew Research Center
  • No, Millennials will NOT be 75% of the Workforce in 2025 (or ever)! Anita Lettink via LinkedIn
  • Corporate Sponsorship – Inc