IMEA 2022: 5 Trends Shaping Asset Management Marketing
Soon after I founded Wentworth Financial Communications, people in my network encouraged me to get involved with the Investment Management Education Alliance (IMEA). I finally got an opportunity to attend an IMEA event this spring when the group hosted its first in-person event since the pandemic.
My colleagues Connor Martin and Craig Derbenwick joined me at the IMEA All-Council Summit in Chicago, along with CMOs, distribution leaders, and other marketing and sales professionals from across the asset management industry.
Based on our conversations at IMEA, here are five trends shaping the way asset managers are using content, distribution, and marketing strategy to reach their audiences:
- Education is the name of the alternatives marketing game. There is a massive push to bring alternative investments to high-net-worth investors. The winners of this land-grab are likely to be asset managers that can create engaging content that educates individual investors about the role that private equity, private credit, real estate, infrastructure, and other alternatives play in a goals-based portfolio. There is a huge internal education component as well. Asset managers need to educate their sales forces on how to engage with advisors on these more esoteric asset classes.
- Authenticity and accountability are paramount in ESG marketing. Regulators and investors have their guards up when it comes to greenwashing, and the scrutiny being applied to ESG-labeled products is greater than ever before. Asset managers need to validate their sustainable- and responsible-investing claims with both hard data and compelling case studies that bring claims to life. While the “show, don’t tell” principle has always ruled ESG marketing, the bar has been raised in terms of what qualifies as interesting, validating content.
- You can’t be all things to all advisors. As the wealth management channel becomes more complex and segmented, it’s tempting for asset managers to try to expand their marketing approaches to reach as many segments of the advisor universe as possible. But it’s impossible to provide content options that scratch all advisors—and their clients—wherever they might itch. In this fragmented market, it’s increasingly important for asset managers to be selective about which of their capabilities are truly differentiated and focus their efforts in areas where they have a real advantage. Trying to create something for everyone drains an asset manager’s resources and risks undermining credibility.
- There is still confusion about who the end reader is. One of the most common debates in intermediary marketing is whether content should be created for financial advisors to consume or for advisors to pass along to their clients—or both. This debate doesn’t look like it will be settled any time soon. In general, we believe that content that is interesting and consumable by either audience has a higher ROI for asset managers. But interesting and consumable don’t necessarily mean fewer words and more pictures. In fact, because individual investors have a lower knowledge base, they often won’t grasp the relevance of a chart or stat by itself. Marketers need to make sure they connect the dots for the reader, and sometimes this means a longer explanation.
- Data and distribution are inseparable. While the debate over whether marketing and sales should be unified at asset managers rages on, there is little debate that data science and distribution should be joined at the hip. Segmentation has become a cornerstone of successful asset management distribution; creating an effective segmentation strategy requires constant collaboration among the marketing, sales, and data
With inflation raging and a potential recession looming, it will be interesting to see how these trends evolve. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these trends and other forces shaping the asset management marketing landscape.
If you would like to chat about how to apply these trends to your marketing strategy, please contact us.
About the Author Scott Wentworth is the CEO at Wentworth Financial Communications. He collaborates with a team of writers and editors at Wentworth to help professionals across the financial services industry build their brands by creating investment-grade white papers, bylined articles, newsletters, blogs, social media posts, and other forms of content marketing.