Discovery Data Acquired by Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. Click Here to Learn More About ISS

The Data Possible Podcast

Create Better Outcomes Faster Using Intent Data

Guests: Craig Katz, EVP of Partnerships and Strategy at Discovery Data, and Duncan MacDonald-Korth, CEO of AdvisorTarget

Summary: In this episode of The Data Possible Podcast, Craig Katz, EVP of Partnerships and Strategy at Discovery Data, and Duncan MacDonald-Korth, CEO of AdvisorTarget, share how their Intent Data offering has grown in the last year, reflect on what they’ve learned, and discuss where Intent Data and their partnership is headed. In this episode, you will learn:

  • What enhancements have been made to the Intent Data offering in the last year
  • What Intent Signals, Profiles, and Trends are and how they can be used
  • How Advisor Intent Indices work
  • How to access a custom Indices dataset
  • Success stories on how Intent Data has helped provide better outcomes faster for clients

Resources: Discovery Data | AdvisorTarget

The Data Possible Podcast is produced by our partner, Advisorpedia.

Podcast Transcription:

Doug: Hello, and welcome to The Data Possible Podcast presented by Discovery Data. This is your host, Doug Heikkinen. Today we welcome back Duncan MacDonald-Korth, the CEO of AdvisorTarget, and Craig Katz, Discovery Data's own Executive Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships. Welcome back, guys.

Duncan: Thanks, Doug.

Craig: Thank you, hey Doug.

Doug: It's been about a year since we last featured intent data on The Data Possible Podcast. Craig, what enhancements have you seen in this dataset over the last year?

Craig: It's hard to believe a year’s gone by already. And it's really also, it's amazing to see how much intent data offering has evolved in this past year. We really went from what I'd describe as a standing start to today serving over 40 clients. And one of the great things tied to that has been the collaboration and feedback with our clients that has really helped us refine, enhance, and even invent new ways to leverage the intent data. At a high level, I'd share a few examples of these enhancements starting with one, you know, operationally we've established the processes, workflows, and a support team that make it very efficient for us to collaborate with our clients, determine what the right intent package is for their needs, and also run the custom intent programs and then deliver through our MarketPro online platform, Feeds, Snowflake, soon APIs. And really, overall just make it an easy and streamlined process for clients to get started with their custom programs, and be able to start taking advantage of the intent data offering. I'd say it's also been amazing to see the success stories tied to how clients are using it to sell and recruit and market and get great results. And I think we'll dive into more specifics, maybe we can cover some of the success stories in a few. But I think one of the valuable developments has been what I described as helping clients also play better defense. More specifically, what I mean by that by that is intent data has proven to help clients see when a client of theirs might be bearish on a specific vehicle or strategy. And then by identifying that they can address it proactively and maybe prevent a redemption, or take more control of that situation and help maybe steer an adviser another product that might be a better fit at this point in time. We've seen the same on the recruiting side, it's been a was a really neat use case that surfaced more recently, as we started to engage with some of the wealth advisory firms that we're working with that use it for recruiting new talent, but also can leverage the intent data and look at advisors currently affiliated with their firm, and see who might be expressing intent for leaving their firm. And again, be able to take control that situation and be proactive, with hopefully creating, you know, a better outcome, keeping them on board if that's something that they'd like to do. And finally, the third thing that I would mention, as I think about the enhancements to highlight would be that the offering’s really evolved from what originally was what I would describe the sales signals, right utilized by sales teams, who would call on the advisors that were signaling on, you know, products and offerings that were specific to what they what they had to offer. Since then, we've not only evolved to also delivering effectively marketing signals that can be leveraged by marketers to boost marketing engagements and the campaigns that they run, but also developed what we call profiling, which is essentially a raw view on what topics advisors are engaging with, that doesn't include the data science that's built into the signals. And that's really utilized by business intelligence and data science and used to help power their efforts and algorithms that they're creating internally. And the third offering is the trending which is essentially a report of the overall aggregate market sentiment being expressed by advisors today, and comparing that to the past and then tracking it over time. So a simple example of that would be, you know, say taking a look at overall, how advisors feel about ESG today and scoring that and comparing that to last month, the last three months. Again, tracking forward over time. And this has been really helpful with helping clients with product development, as well as their current product strategies and helping them think about which products they might want to feature today and prioritize versus others again, based on that sentiment.

Doug: You mentioned three core products within this dataset. Duncan, can you refresh us on what intent signals are and explain intent profiles and trending.

Duncan: Absolutely, thanks Doug, and thanks for having me back. It's been too long. Alright, so basically all our products are based on the same dataset, which is a deep granular information database of everything advisors are choosing to read and search for. But then each of our products is built for the particular needs of the end client. Okay, so basically, there's three different manifestations of that: intent profiling, intent signals, and finally trending. So I'm going to talk about profiling first. So this is essentially our broadest and our deepest product. And like Craig said, it's a highly frequent data feed of all the engagement for a list of CRDs, which the client gets to dictate. So basically, clients tell us, hey, these are CRDs we care about. And then what we deliver is all the engagement that those advisors showed over whatever given timeframe the client wants, with the idea being that clients can use this for a number of different purposes. Everyone uses it for distribution, of course, finding out what advisors are interested in using that to call them. Marketing also uses this significantly, right? They use it to figure out, you know, what are the topics that are resonating with the corporate advisors we care about, and then they use that to help influence what advertising campaigns they should buy, what white papers, webinars, podcasts they should do? And then finally, this product has deep integrations with data science teams, because the sky is really the limit and what you can do with it. So for instance, everyone marries it to data packs to see all right, a person took this reading activity. Did this transactional activity follow? Yes. No? Okay. Follow that over a few quarters and suddenly you have a very predictive model for understanding what an advisor is going to do next, based on their actual history of reading and then transactions. And then finally, some clients use that for actually planning their whole distribution attack. So let's say they want to target a big broker-dealer, like LPL, they would out of that data feed, they'd suck out, say 5,000 advisors from LPL and say, alright, what are the top three things that LPL advisor reading about? And then they would basically plan their distribution attack and what products they should feature around that data. So that's what intent profiling is. Intent signals is more specific and more focused on a specific category. So basically, this works a little bit differently. In this case, clients tell us hey, Duncan, you know, this quarter, we're really focused on growing our small cap equities fund, can you give us can you tell us which advisors are interested in small cap equities, and what we would do is we will basically go into our system and apply data science on everything we're seeing on the engagement side, and determine a list of who's you know, has the very warmest interest and in terms of small cap equities, and then deliver that list to the client subject to their selling restrictions and any other filtering they may have. And basically, the angle here is, there's two angles really, one is, first and foremost, to just help sales teams ramp their client acquisition, and grow AUM and give them a consistent high quality feed of, of essentially leads that help them just grow. But equally, marketing teams have increasingly used this as a way to increase the size of their CRM for marketing campaigns. So say a few thousand advisors that they want to put into drip campaigns to then, you know, warm up that advisors interest over time. And finally, trending is our insights product. And what we do here is we aggregate all the engagement data on all advisors, and summarize it down to a granular level, the topics that these advisors are showing the most interest in, and we present this information in a number of time series oriented charts to help marketers and asset managers, broker-dealers understand what's really trending at the moment. And then we also provide a written report, which discusses the most popular keywords for advisors each month, and why they were resonating. And basically, this helps any kind of firm understand how to position their product in the market, new products they may want to develop or just how to time their webinars, their internal content development, and their advertising.

Doug: So Duncan, now that you've had another year to engage with clients who are using you, what have you learned this past year?

Duncan: Yeah, we've learned a great deal. So I think there's two things that immediately come to mind. The first is that clients have, you know, the whole markets been changing in a sense that asset managers in particular have been scaling up their data strategies, they're becoming more data driven. COVID has been a strong impetus for this. But at the same time, what we found is they actually have difficulty making the data that they already have actionable, whether that be data from their advertising campaigns to do with third parties or broker-dealer data packs, they have trouble because a lot of this data is not formatted the same and they can't get it all in the same place. And then once they finally do have it, it's so much they don't know how to make it actionable. And so one of the things that we've worked really hard at is to make our product as basically, for lack of a better word, as actionable as possible, so that when you ingest it, it's ready made for you to make a phone call, use it in marketing, what have you to just make it incredibly simple to add value. And that's really important for our particular product and for our clients, because when you're using intent data, you know, the recency of it, is really important. So you want to use it quickly, which means it needs to be delivered in such a way that it's very actionable. So that's one of the main things we learned. And then secondly, at the same time, and Craig sort of alluded to this in the beginning, is our intent profiling product, which has really found a home in market demand. Because as asset managers have been scaling up their data science, they need essentially data to fill those warehouses, and they need good high quality data with a lot of breath and a lot of depth. And so we're very well suited to provide that and really give granular insights across you know, hundreds of thousands of advisers to help power distribution and marketing.

Doug: Discovery Data recently announced the launch of Advisor Intent Indices, which was co-developed with AdvisorTarget. Duncan, can you explain how the indices work and what is featured?

Duncan: Sure, so the indices are, are essentially similar to the trading report I described before, but with a little bit more detail in the construction. So what we do is, we aggregate the total number of unique and gross pageviews, across four different very prominent asset classes. So you know, equities, bonds, commodities, and then what we'll do is we track the relative engagement levels through time. And the idea being that asset managers can get a good fix on what is trending with advisors at this moment. So you know, is there going to be a shift from equity allocation to fixed income allocation? How are natural resources doing? So basically give you an idea of where the market is at one time. And then we also provide a discussion essentially of why that is, so what is happening in the market? Why are advisors reacting this way? And what's happening to them. And the whole idea here is to try and keep asset managers and also to an extent the wealth management media, on top of what advisors are paying attention to, so that everything can be topical and aligned with, you know, where their interest is.

Doug: Craig, if a client wants a custom indices dataset, how do they get that?

Craig: Yeah, absolutely, Doug, the process is simply that we collaborate together to define which specific categories align with each client's products and goals. And from there, establish the delivery method and frequency. And before I give out the contact information, I just wanted to mention too, I think it's important to know with the indices or any of the intent offerings that they’re really flexible. I think that's something that we've learned as well that clients can get started and as the market changes, or their business changes, and there's obviously a bunch of moving parts as we navigate through any given year, that they can, they can adjust. And we can accommodate for that and make it easy for them to align the indices and the intent data that they're getting with, what their needs are, as we go through the year. And really, for clients that we currently work with, they can certainly reach out to their Discovery Data Consultant or Client Success Manager. And for anyone that we don't work with that's interested in learning more, we'd love to connect, and they can reach us either at our phone number 732-933-1899, or email us at

Doug: Craig, I know that you're working with a lot of people. Are there any case studies or success stories that you can share with us?

Craig: Yeah, there are a bunch. And this is a fun question and topic. And I'd say really exciting, you know, part of the intent data offering, that it's really delivered on our goals for providing better outcomes, and faster for clients. I think at the beginning of this and want to speak for Duncan but confident we felt the same way that, you know, the intent data would be a great additional value for our clients in terms of enhancing their ability to target and time, their outreach and based on that get bottom line results. And I think what we've seen that it's played out even better than we would have hoped and faster than we would have imagined it come to be. So a few I'd say examples or also just want to mention, before I jump into the cases that, you know, we serve all types of clients, right from asset managers to wealth advisory firms, FinTech firms, media companies, consulting companies, and we also serve a wide variety of use cases, sales, marketing, business intelligence, sales enablement, and recruiting to name name a bunch. And what's been great to see in the past year is that the intent data has proven to deliver across the board in terms of the different types of clients shapes and sizes, and those use cases. So just a few success stories to share that kind of are good examples, various examples to point to. One, a large asset manager was utilizing signals to start has since grown into profiling and the trend recording that we talked about, which is great. But with the first batch of signals that we delivered, they reported back to us that they generated just about 10 million in assets in their pipeline from advisors that they had never called on before, but had had signaled intent or interest in the products that they had to offer. So that was really great to hear. We had another large asset manager report that they actually had an investment of over 300 million into one of their funds. And again, this was based on a signal delivery of an advisor expressing intent in that particular type of fund, they were able to efficiently take action on that and the translated into, you know, a significant outcome. We also have other clients that distribute annuities, one in particular, that we've been working with that really experienced a big lift in their engagement on their sales outreach. Typically, they would generate quality conversations with one or two out of 100 advisors that they call. Based on the team leveraging the intent signals, they dramatically improved those results, and were able to connect with on average three out of every 10. So you know a huge difference. On the marketing front, we have many clients, leveraging the data for their marketing campaigns, we also utilize it within our MarketReach service on behalf of clients. And what we've seen on average is, again, a significant improvement on engagement, often as high as 3x, on opens and clicks on those campaigns that are being driven by the, you know, the marketing signals. And the final one I'll share actually, was one that we learned about very recently here, an independent wealth advisory firm that uses our data specifically for recruiting, they successfully recruited six new advisors to join their firm in the past six months. And those six new hires were tied to signal data that we delivered since we started the engagement earlier in the year. And just based on their ability to proactively reach out and engage with advisors that were in that mindset, and proactively exploring, you know, reading content about exploring new opportunities and new firms. It translated into a significantly reduced sales cycle. So, you know, a bunch there, but there's a bunch more, and we're really excited about, again, overall, the impact that the intent data is having on our clients, you know, ability to succeed.

Doug: That's impressive stuff. What's next for this partnership? And where do you see it headed?

Duncan: So in my opinion, the sky's the absolute limit. You know, both asset managers and broker dealers have been very significantly scaling up their data strategies. And, you know, whether that be for recruiting for broker-dealers, or for data-driven distribution for asset managers, it's really kind of the same. And we've had, we've had significant client wins on both sides, which Craig just alluded to, and in terms of also not just success for them, but the types of data that they're getting from us. And it's really representative of the opportunity in the market, because we, we believe the next major change in the distribution of products is going to come from tying biographical, transactional, and intent data history together, right. And we call this the holy trinity. And if you think about it, we're, you know, this partnership has two of those, and our clients get the others from, you know, broker-dealer data packs. So we feel like, we're really sort of at the edge of where asset management is going, and hopefully, you know, we can do our part to, to lead asset managers down a really successful path as, as distribution evolves. So for me that, you know, I think that this sky’s really the limit.

Craig: Yeah, couldn't agree more, again, based on the results that we've seen, and how quickly it's translated into successful outcomes for clients. And the fact that as we hoped, and thought in the beginning that this would serve clients across the spectrums in terms of the type, asset managers, wealth advisory firms, small and large, and everything in between, and fintech again, the consulting immediate, you know, partners that we work with, so, so that's been exciting. And I think, you know, one area where I see this headed too, and just to kind of build on what Duncan mentioned, you know, would be almost layering, even other specialty datasets that we have tied to the Discovery Data profile information that we can also tie to the intent data. Specifically, for example, we have an interest and lifestyle dataset, right? It has 300 personal attributes, things like hobbies, and interest and education and wealth segment and a bunch of other data points that can also help with enhanced targeting and messaging. When you combine and layer, say our business profile information, so a client can do what they've always done and say, for example, we want to target pure independent RIAs with 100 million or more under management that cater to high net worth clients. And now you layer in, say, interest and lifestyle data and identify those within that group that say, like fishing. And then you use intent data layered on top of that, to find those who are specifically expressing intent in let's say, ESG, because you have an ESG, you know, strategy. Now imagine the segmentation and the messaging that that can empower when you bring all those three things together. So I think as we engage more with clients, and they get a taste of what, you know, the intent data brings to the table, and we introduce these other datasets, as well that it can be, we can make an even better and more impactful offering than it is today.

Doug: Guys, congratulations on the partnership, all the success. This is really great stuff. Thank you so much for both joining us.

Duncan: Thanks, Doug.

Craig: Thank you. I'd really appreciate it.

Doug: For everybody at Discovery Data and The Data Possible Podcast team, we thank you for joining us. Take care.