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Asset Managers Turn to Digital Marketing

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Asset managers are using digital marketing techniques that include such things as microsites, social media, and mobile apps in order to make inroads with RIAs, according to a new report from Financial Research Corp. (FRC).

The report, titled “Winning Strategies for Marketing and Distributing to the RIA,” analyzes brand and advertising campaigns launched by 13 asset managers since 2010. FRC found that eight of the firms used digital marketing as a component of the campaign.

Amy LaFrance, author of the report, said that such tactics could extend a campaign that usually is limited. “While a traditional ad campaign is typically short-term in nature, we are now seeing firms couple them with social media elements, which can increase the long-term impact of their campaign,” she said in a statement. “This generates more meaningful interactions with RIAs, and opens the door to building stronger relationships in the future.”

The report also found that push-marketing strategies, including such elements as cold calling, advertising and mass emails, were less effective within the RIA market.

 “Although push-marketing strategies have been effective in other intermediary channels, asset managers could benefit from marketing and wholesaler interactions that are tailored more for the RIA channel,” LaFrance said.

On the other hand, pull-marketing through social media is gaining acceptance among asset managers. “The use of digital venues is an example of pull-marketing and although pull-marketing is not new, its rapid embrace by asset managers is,” LaFrance continued. “For example, Ivy Funds just launched its first-ever brand campaign aimed to build awareness with advisors. As part of the campaign they decided to tap into the social media networks (Facebook and YouTube). Ivy also incorporated a scannable quick response (QR) feature in their print ads that enables smartphone users to access specific online content.”

Also revealed by the report was that many RIAS will search asset manager websites to gather information, because they are less responsive to outside wholesalers.

Thus, enhancing websites to provide additional data can be a valuable move. RIAs also, said LaFrance, seek honesty from wholesalers regarding performance and product capabilities. If poor performance periods are explained satisfactorily, the relationship can be strengthened rather than lost.