You can never have too many awards nights. One of the longest standing for the funds management and super industries is Rainmaker Information’s MAX Awards, which focuses on sales and marketing. They date back in various guises to 1994.
Their evolution reflects many of the changes seen by the industry over the past 25 years. For instance, what was purely an institutional marketing audience for a symposium is now inclusive of wholesale and retail marketing initiatives. MAX (marketing, advertising and sales excellence), introduced in 2014, better reflected the business, according to Chris Page, a founder and CEO of Rainmaker, which is about to add more retail exposure with its recent acquisition of Money Magazine.
“We used to be a pure data business,” he says, “but that changed to reflect the changes in the industry, in particular to do with sales and marketing. Marketing now plays a more important role. The days of big BDM forces going out are long gone. Digital categories are in the mix and there are more options.”
The symposium part of the event was discontinued in 2015. In its early years, Rainmaker was just as well known for its conference parties as for its database information. There was a Toga party and there was a party in a Melbourne bondage establishment, where one fund manager brought along his own whip, which was confiscated. These, and others, were held after the annual ASFA conference dinner and for many people were the highlight of the whole event. There was also the time that Page’s former business partner, James Burkitt, was refused entry to his own after-party. And there was one memorable Queensland-based comedian who was so offensive at the Noosa resort where the event was held, that Rainmaker’s initial media partner, for its marketing symposium, Investor Weekly, did its best to take no responsibility and distance itself from the flak.
The MAX awards dinner attracts about 250 attendees and is now somewhat more formal. Voting is along the lines of a “people’s choice” format. Any industry participant can vote. Vote here:
Voting closes on May 31 and the winners announced at the dinner at the Ivy Ballroom on June 13.
Here are some of our tips and favourites:
- Website of the Year: we’re going for Legg Mason which has set a cracking pace with its technology developments, although BT’s Panorama would have to take the cake if it comes mainly to the spend
- Financial Services App of the Year: Link Group is quietly confident here. The app has been developed as a bespoke solution for Link’s listed company clients, looking to engage and create better relationships with their shareholders. It allows shareholders to access and manage their investment portfolios from their mobiles. It’s apparently very important to be able to do that
- Financial Literacy Campaign of the Year: StatePlus, now a part of First State Super, is the favourite but Vanguard could be a dark horse
- Public Relations Agency of the Year. We are more-than-a-little conflicted with this suggestion (the author is a shareholder and director of Shed Connect). However, the story is a good one as all agencies have grappled with issues to do with the changing landscape for media in general. Shed Connect launched its own weekly newsletters and most recently came up with the notion of an “outsourced marketing executive”. To be fair, the others, in particular Honner, have also diversified and strengthened their offerings. Honner even went so far as to take the word ‘Media’ out of its corporate identity
- Product Launch of the Year: this is a battle of the ETF heavyweights; Legg Mason, in conjunction with BetaShares, versus Fidelity
- Fintech Platform of the Year: BT Panorama deserves the prize if only because of their bravery. Putting aside the cost of development, most advisors seem pleased with the outcome. The platform actually works!
- Print Campaign of the Year, Trade: Challenger Aged Care Campaign. Challenger does good ads
- Print Campaign of the Year, Consumer: La Trobe Financial. Probably helped by a strong yield product line-up, the company has been having record inflows
- Advertising Agency of the Year, Financial Services: Ptarmigan Media, usually a crowd favourite, and
- Business Development: Again, with a lot of help from its strong product line-up, IFM Investors. An international success story in private markets, a little-known fact is that IFM is the third-largest manager of Australian listed equities, according to Rainmaker data.
The rest are too hard to pick.