Engaging investors with agile content.

Vanguard accelerates content velocity to meet personalization demands and connect with investors.

checkbox icon


Deepen investor relationships by delivering relevant, timely digital content

Reduce time and cost to manage and update websites

Increase adoption of Adobe solutions across all marketing and content creation teams

Drive engagement by authoring pages faster with limited IT assistance

Scale content creation to meet growing demands for personalized content

graph icon


Increased quality engagement by 176% with focus on one-to-one personalization

$2.2 million in savings for personalized offers from greater efficiencies and fewer redundancies

International versions of sites launched in four weeks using new CMS platform

6x to 10x increase in efficiency when building websites with reusable components

Improved content velocity and resource allocation with an end-to-end content creation workflow

Investment firm Vanguard is different by design. The company is owned by its member funds, which means every investor is also an owner. This focus on investors is why Vanguard is a global leader in asset management.

Vanguard works with many types of investors, from individuals to professional financial advisors to institutional investors overseeing major investments, offering a diverse set of mutual funds and ETFs via a variety of account types such as retirement plans, 529 college savings plans, general investment accounts and financial advice services. But no matter the type of investor, they all rely on Vanguard websites to learn about new investment products, open and manage accounts, and invest in their futures.

“Our digital platform is incredibly important for our business because we can engage in real time with investors worldwide,” says Therron Hofsetz, Head of MarTech Platforms, Engineering at Vanguard. “The challenge was that our website didn’t reflect our innovative strategy or the way that we put investors first.”

One of the biggest issues facing the MarTech team at Vanguard was content sprawl. Each line of business oversaw its own digital presence, and after years of global growth, the website was unmanageable. Vanguard needed to meet modern customer expectations for relevant information delivered exactly where and when they need it.

“Within the first two years of our website transformation we spent much less time on redundant work, leading to greater efficiencies and saving about $2.2 million on personalized content delivery within a single marketing team.”

Therron Hofsetz

Head of MarTech Platforms, Engineering, Vanguard

Building websites 6x to 10x faster

Vanguard started its MarTech transformation by switching from its legacy content management system (CMS) to Adobe Experience Manager Sites. “By consolidating our digital marketing tools, we have a foundation for one-to-one personalization to give investors the best advice and services,” says Hofsetz.

Before carrying out a proof of concept, Vanguard took a people-first approach focused on enablement and processes. “Education made teams from all four business units feel part of the change,” says Amanda Forte, Head of Personal Investor Public Site at Vanguard. “When the time came to move off the legacy platform, they were prepared to make the switch. As a result, we had strong adoption with Experience Manager Sites becoming the CMS for all divisions and in 17 countries.”

With a single CMS, Vanguard uses reusable templates, assets, components, and content to dramatically improve efficiency, consistency, and content creation speed, with limited IT assistance. From legal notices to navigation menus, 14 core components make up 90% of Vanguard’s Personal Investor website. Additionally, the team uses 42 Experience Fragments over 500 times across the websites for faster, more efficient authoring. Reviews and meeting compliance requirements take much less time, as common elements only need to be approved once. Updates are also faster, leading to fewer broken links and better investor experiences.

“Within the first two years of our website transformation we spent much less time on redundant work, leading to greater efficiencies and saving about $2.2 million on personalized content delivery within a single marketing team,” says Hofsetz. “The International Web Development teams measured a 6x to 10x increase in efficiency when building a site with Adobe compared to the legacy CMS. The US Personal Investor site retired a legacy experience with over 30,000 pages to have a highly engaging, personalized site with around 700 pages, representing 99% of web traffic.”

The increase in speed is particularly noticeable for international teams, which use the new CMS, content, components, and templates to duplicate and reuse website structure while adding flexibility for localization. This allows teams to spin up new country sites in as little as four weeks, a process that previously would have taken 24 to 40 weeks. For example, the Institutional Investor group created an 80-page microsite in just two weeks to win over a major Institutional client renewal.

“With greater content creation speed, we can accelerate product launches and deliver updated, personalized content on the website,” says Forte. “Because of this, we see much higher engagement on the new website, with a 264% increase in organic traffic and 176% increase in quality engagement.”

Vanguard also takes advantage of headless CMS capabilities for use cases that rely heavily on data or don’t involve a lot of common page layout reuse. For example, both its fund list and funds profiles pages are headless. The Personal Investor team chose this implementation due to the mix of structured content and dynamic fund pricing data. The approach also allowed the Personal Investor team to support multiple consuming applications including the Vanguard mobile app and several websites.

“With Workfront, we use integrations with Adobe Experience Manager Assets and Adobe Creative Cloud to create an end-to-end content creation workflow and marketing system of record.”

Cindi Esz

Head of MarTech Enablement, Vanguard

Integrated applications help scale content

With the new websites, Vanguard plans to start addressing website personalization. By integrating Adobe Target with Adobe Analytics and Adobe Audience Manager, marketers can activate audiences to create personalized experiences on the website and measure engagement. This will help to further streamline website upkeep, with digital marketers delivering multiple experiences through a single page using personalization.

By delivering more personalized content to more investors, the Vanguard team expects to need up to five times more content and assets in the next two years. By standardizing on Adobe Workfront, the company can use automation and integration to accelerate content velocity, streamline review and approval processes, and encourage more agile content creation at scale.

“The key to adoption is that tools need to be seamless and meet the needs of the end user, otherwise it’s just more work,” says Cindi Esz, Head of MarTech Enablement at Vanguard. “With Workfront, we use integrations with Adobe Experience Manager Assets and Adobe Creative Cloud to create an end-to-end content creation workflow and marketing system of record.”

Working with implementation partner LeapPoint, Vanguard transitioned 500 users across five divisions onto Workfront within a year. Content creators see the benefits with automated request intakes and team member allocation and scheduling that eliminate the uncertainty and delays of handoffs. Content creators access essential work management capabilities — such as tasks, comments, creative briefs, and time tracking — using Workfront plugins for Creative Cloud without having to leave the applications they know and love.

Esz expects to see more benefits over time from the reporting and data-driven insights. Content teams will use these insights to uncover new ways to reallocate resources for improved efficiency.

Delivering always-on marketing

Vanguard continues to adopt strategies to better connect with customers, including using Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform to enable always-on marketing for its advisor business, with plans to expand to its individual investor business. The solution makes it much easier for marketers to work with data, eliminating the need to use SQL or Python to query data sets.

Real-Time CDP brings together more than a dozen data sets to build out real-time customer profiles. With over 30 segments already built, Vanguard more accurately targets customers based on their behavior rather than continuing to rely on batch and blast emails. For example, if an individual investor visits the website and reads about mutual funds, Vanguard can send them an invite to an upcoming mutual funds webinar or have a personal advisor reach out to answer questions, leading to additional investments.

“Our investors trust us to be on top of the latest investments,” says Hofsetz. “We’re a cutting-edge brand, and with Adobe, our website and personalized marketing now reflect our commitment to the investor experience.”

Expand your knowledge

Don’t miss Therron Hofsetz’s Adobe Summit 2024 session: Delivering Data-Driven CX: Vanguard’s Vision and Journey.

Learn more about Adobe's offerings for Financial Services firms.

Content as a Service v2 - Friday, April 26, 2024 at 17:13 (no-lazy)

See all customer stories