Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York

December 10, 2019

Marketing is an increasingly important aspect of the business of asset management, but a new survey from Cutter Associates shows that asset managers are slow to act and haven't fully embraced data capture and marketing automation.

The survey results point to an overall trend of transformation across the landscape as marketers are embracing new forms of communication to better engage with their targets, but a significant amount of work remains. Survey participants report improvement is needed in data quality, completeness, and accuracy. Many marketing organizations are also lacking the tools to integrate and analyze siloed data sets, making strategic and tactical decision-making difficult and inefficient.

"Asset managers spend a lot of time on marketing collateral, but they don't pay as much attention to how it's being used or where it's not connecting," explains Cindy Sealey, CFA, principal, and leader of Cutter Associates' Client Facing Consulting Practice in an interview with Opalesque. "Aspects of marketing automation can play a bigger role here in terms of helping managers understand where interaction is taking place and where it isn't." Respondents report that they are starting to participate in their firm's data governance programs to gain insight into how marketing consumes and produces data. Despite the impact of data on marketing functions, only 36% of surveyed firms have representation in enterprise data governance programs. A majority of respondents say they rely on static lists to do marketing segmentation and outreach. Only 4% of surveyed firms are using a purpose-built tool to integrate client data into a single view for analysis.

The survey findings show that asset managers may also need to rethink the information they put out. Basic performance data and pitchbooks aren't likely to be enough to stand out. "Content is important, but managers have to include more insight into what the firm is doing or put out content that is relevant to the current market. The successful strategies that we see take content to the next level," Sealey says. Many marketing organizations do not yet use common content development aids including personas, customer journeys, creative briefs, or workflow software to better understand and respond to the interests of investors. Filling in those gaps can improve marketing outcomes and also provide valuable data back to asset managers about the shape of the investor market.

Mobile applications and social media are also emerging marketing channels, but the findings suggest that many firms are still waiting to see what their peers do in these areas. Regulatory concerns also make it difficult for managers to create a comprehensive social media strategy. The survey shows that smaller firms are less likely to activate spokespeople, sales, and employees on social media, while larger firms are engaging more.

Overall, the findings suggest that asset managers will have to take a more holistic approach to marketing if they want their efforts to be successful especially as it becomes easier than ever before to find investment related content online. The key findings of Cutter's 2019 Marketing Benchmarking Survey are available here.

Read the Opalesque News article here.

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