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Morrow - Q1-'22 Letter
Updates from the workshop
It’s great to be back in the writers booth with a chance to update you on the latest at Morrow. With springtime arriving and COVID playing a quieter role in the day-to-day of events, there’s a jolt of renewed energy in the air. Times of transition give way to opportunity and it certainly feels like we’re living through such a period. As people, markets, and countries emerge from behind closed doors, the Morrow team does the same, emerging from our workshop after a quarter marked by hard work and progress.
The first quarter of 2022 was one of building - building product, building a growth engine, building infrastructure to service the first two. This three month period gave our team the chance to go heads down and begin bringing to life our product vision. What has felt good to build has started looking good. Lots of hammers and nails in the workshop.
Let’s dive into highlights from Q1…
Company updates —
1) Online platform launched in January
As mentioned before, an underlying thesis of Morrow is the delivery vehicle of financial services must be reconsidered if financial advice is to be accessible to the masses. We think that vehicle must be digital, while preserving the properties of trust and personalization created by a relationship.
The platform released in January is the very most basic version of that, enabling the core functions of our service. It’s also our first step in streamlining many of the operational activities currently performed manually by financial planning professionals.
2) Growth engine picks up steam
Our growth engine has four main chambers: (1) brand (messaging, appearance, distribution), (2) activation (engagement hooks), (3) conversion, and (4) retention (referrals, customer satisfaction). In the first quarter, we invested considerably in buckets one (brand) and two (activation).
Brand — In just four weeks, the team has completed a entire redesign and rebuild of our website. As bonus points, the web overhaul spurred the creation of several additional assets, which serve as great complements to our brand and also underscore the principles mentioned above. Below is one such example from a “Why Morrow?” video series we developed in Q1.
Back to the website - it launches later this week! We’re excited and proud to share a sneak preview of it here…
In parallel with efforts to improve our brand, we also invested in channel exploration for ways to push our brand into relevant conversation channels. This effort has resulted not only in our first pieces of featured press being published (like this one from Think. Save. Retire.), but also great learnings in message positioning and resonance.
Activation — “So, what’s the hook?” is a question many people like to ask. Or, said differently, “How do you expect people to engage with a business they’ve never heard of in a space that has high trust barriers?” We’ve searched for a way to deliver real value around a high attention topic in a scalable, low-cost way.
For us, the magnetic topic has been turning a question back to the consumer: “Are you actually ready for retirement?” As it turns out, this question is a common trigger of insecurity in large part due to the lack of holistic retirement preparation solutions available.
To help answer it, our team launched a free Retirement Readiness Report in February. All recipients receive a personalized report with readiness scores (1-5) across a range of retirement topics (investments, expenses, healthcare, estate planning, etc.) based on answering 20 questions over 6 minutes. In the first three weeks of launch we received over 300 submissions. You can get access to the landing page using the button below.
3) Traction with companies is good; feedback is better
Externally, we invested a lot of time generating conversations with employers and building a healthy pipeline of customer prospects. The level of interest we’ve received is encouraging, but is bested by the specific feedback itself (more on this below). In targeting companies, we’ve used several general parameters for pursuing targets:
50 - 500 employees — targeting this size for entire company rollout
500 - 5,000 employees — targeting this size for pilot programs
Company type: Labor-intensive sectors. To name a few…
Overall, what we heard from employers has reinforced our ingoing hypotheses. To share a few highlights:
The talent war is real and companies are addressing it — It’s no longer just the Googles of the world that are scouting innovative ways to attract talent. The labor market squeeze has forced companies to reshape their view of benefits innovation from a nice-to-have offensive weapon used to attract talent to a need-to-have defensive tool used to retain talent. Our discussions have produced a convincing number of datapoints from companies that are increasing budget and investing effort into new benefit discovery.
Financial wellness is more than a buzzword — Companies have struggled to find ways to provide financial resources to employees in ways that activate behavioral change and move the needle. Surprisingly, the old days of the financial consultant hosting an “Investing 101” lunch presentation in the breakroom still exist. Unsurprisingly, they don’t work very well. Employees are looking for personalization. Employers are looking for engagement. Companies are beginning to understand the importance of active financial wellness and that if they want the engagement they’re seeking, more is required than a firehose of information.
Morrow’s model is different — We like it when we hear “we haven’t seen this before.”
The quarter ahead is shaping up to be an exciting one as we will be able to leverage the strong infrastructure laid over the past months to return positive outcomes back to the business. I look forward to sharing those next time we speak.