Every asset manager wants to get in front of financial advisors, but they may apply a bit more muscle this year as many plan to devote more money to their marketing budgets.
According to a study published in latest issue of The Cerulli Edge – Global Edition, 78 percent of small and mid-sized asset managers (firms with less than $100 billion assets under management) plan to increase their marketing budgets this year. This compares with just 38 percent of larger asset managers. Only 13 percent of the big guys want to decrease their marketing budget while 50 percent said it would stay the same.
What’s changing for asset managers of all sizes is what type of marketing they are planning to do.
“U.S. asset managers have thrown product-specific marketing collateral in the dustbin in favor of ‘content marketing,” Cerulli said in its report. Even among many of the large firms that don’t plan to increase their marketing budgets said they would direct more of their effort towards content marketing.
“Content marketing” is a popular buzzword, and asset managers are jumping on board. Instead of spending money on product brochures, they'll spend resources producing material that focuses on markets, asset classes and broader themes like risk management. More than half of the firms polled by Cerulli said they want to create more whitepapers, marketing commentary and non-product brochures, while 20 percent said they would decrease their reliance on product-specific materials.
Marketers call this “thought leadership,” and the content can be distributed through a variety of media with the intent of capturing interest from advisors, investors and gatekeepers. Three-quarters of asset managers want to expand the content offered on their website, and 70 percent want to increase their social media and email marketing efforts.
Like mutual fund companies, asset managers have joined the YouTube bandwagon for marketing efforts. Seventy-five percent of asset management firms are using the platform to publish commentary from portfolio managers. Eighty percent plan to increase the presence of video for advisors, while 73 percent plan to do so on their institutional and investment consultant websites.
It isn’t a phenomenon unique to the U.S. Seventy-seven percent of European asset managers and 63 percent of Asian firms also plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2015.