Asset Management Marketing Guide for 2023
Best New Ways to Build Awareness & Relationships
Asset management marketing for mid-sized and large firms is undergoing a significant transformation. This shift is primarily driven by the evolving demands of both the advisors these firms collaborate with and the clients the advisors themselves cater to. In order to effectively attract and retain advisors, it is essential for asset managers to both re-evaluate the modern advisor’s requirements for an investment management partner, as well as gain new insight into the expectations of the end clients.
Although each group has distinct needs, the emergence of an increasingly apparent commonality between them has taken shape that requires insight into both to take full advantage of the new playing field. With the right brand strategies and content marketing in place, this clear connective thread can be leveraged to develop a variety of internal and external marketing strategies that engage top financial advisors.
To shed light on how to approach the new paradigm, this guide consists of 4 sections that will:
- Identify and deconstruct the key driver of perceived asset management quality across advisors and clients.
- View the current state of investing through the client perspective to better understand the needs of the end user and the advisors who serve them.
- Bring these two insights together to articulate what asset management firms need to attract the top advisors through marketing, communications and support.
- Provide new trends and key action items related to the brand creative and media content required for an asset manager to stand out in 2023 and beyond.
Our objective here is to establish a well-defined and all-encompassing framework for approaching and enhancing asset management marketing and communication best practices. By outlining the modern advisor and client experience, firms will gain the strategic foundation to attract financial advisors, generate future asset management growth and build long-term competitive advantage.
1. The New necessity of a Value Partnership
When considering the firm-advisor (and the advisor-client dynamic) of the future, the critical connector across it all is the value partnership. To fully understand this concept, it is important to analyze each component and its contextual significance.
Advisors and clients are requiring a higher and higher level of perceived functional value when it comes to what is provided in the relationship. In other words, they want a true value-added experience, where the stakeholders are provided with professional-grade resources, education and technology needed to stay confident, comfortable and prepared.
Establishing a strong sense of partnership is paramount as we enter a digital-first world, where the basic aspects of investing can be automated and executed with relative ease. While functional utility increases, the emotional connection falls, making the core relationship driving goal alignment and decision-making more important to client and advisor loyalty than ever before.
Value + PArtnership
When bringing these factors together in the context of asset management, a value partnership can now be defined as a collaborative techno-functional experience built on strong emotional connection and clear understanding of client needs and objectives.
This concept is absolutely vital for asset managers to keep pace with the increasing sophistication of both client investment acumen and advisor logistical capabilities.
2. Advisors & Clients: Greater Sophistication Creates Higher Standards
To better understand and cater to advisors they are looking to attract, firms must view what a true value partnership means from the end client’s perspective.
In short, the modern investor is a more informed one, and they expect more than just a transactional experience.
Unprecedented access to insights and information means they are leagues ahead of previous generations when it comes to base investment knowledge. As a result, they tend to ask better questions, and are more apt to inquire about complex concepts (like tax loss harvesting or active management, for example).
Investors also now have the capability to easily view markets and execute trades through technology, making them more sophisticated than ever before. Consequently, they require advisors who can offer a partnership that a robo-brokerage or AI portfolio-builder cannot.
To provide this, advisors must:
- Facilitate productive conversations that create understanding
- Provide comprehensive client education at each stage and touchpoint
- Implement methods to help filter out market noise and information overload
Modern investors seek collaboration and desire to be involved in the exciting fast-moving markets they witness daily, yet the vast majority also value (more than they realize) the ability to rely on their advisors to make the hard decisions on their behalf.
At an emotional level, they need to feel a sense of trust. These conversations and education are not only for their own enlightenment, but also to gauge their advisor’s ability, aptitude and integrity. The past few decades have been filled with examples of fiduciary malfeasance and overtly sales-oriented advisory, and investors, particularly millennial investors and those under the age of 40, are highly suspicious of those who manage their money. Advisors who are able to create a strong connection built on assurance and trust will have a much better relationship with their clients.
As you will see in the following section, there are clear parallels between an advisor’s clients, and the advisors that asset management firms are trying to attract. Understanding this need for value-added communication, capabilities and trust will allow asset management firms to position their advisor offerings in a way that demonstrates their own value partnership.
3. Firms & Advisors: Business Support + Independence
With the modern client foundation in place, it is a much easier route to advisor solutions. Investor clients are sophisticated and demand more from advisors….and the advisors want get value that from the investment management firms they work with.
When considering their options for who to align with when it comes to asset management capabilities, FA’s are seeking a value partner in the sense of someone who can effectively help them support their business and help them manage their home office goals, as well as the core needs of end clients we discussed above.
How do firms accomplish this? These are several of the keys:
A. BEING VIEWED AS A PARTNER VS SUPPLIER
There is a strong correlation between propensity to buy and viewing the asset manager as a partner versus just a product provider. It is critical in this case to not cave into the internal pressure to push product, but rather soft sell and provide real reasons to introduce products.
B. PROVIDING VALUE-ADDED AND EMPATHETIC SUPPORT
Just like the end clients, there needs to be a value-added exchange of information and support. This means substantial campaigns and content that equip advisors with content, resources and talking points they can bring back to those they serve. There is also a need to provide advice on helping them find new and effective ways of listening and addressing the real needs and fears of their clients. Knowing how to approach these conversations will naturally provide the advisors with the confirmation that you will also understand their needs.
C. HELPING DEFINE JOURNEYS AND IDENTIFY THE ROUTES
To effectively reach advisors, it is important to understand and map out their journey of sourcing information for products. By doing so, firms can position themselves optimally at multiple points in the process. Defining the journey starts with knowing who the market is, followed by figuring out how they get exposed to the firm, the brand, the content and the products.
This is not as simple as it seems, as the route to reach each audience has changed. It is not just about LinkedIn and email now, but rather a cyclical journey for product providers when it comes to providing the content itself. Firms must now consider an expanded universe—such as videos, webinars, and podcasts—as well as where each is exposed to intermediary and investor.
D. OFFERING MARTECH TOOLS & INFRASTRUCTURE
COVID changed the game in many ways, one of which was the new normal for digital marketing to step in to sustain B2B engagement and conversions. While borne of necessity, firms found that this digital focus actually helped increase engagement and conversions while reducing advisor effort.
Providing the infrastructure and tools for marketing enables advisors and firm to keep relationships warm, helping lead to better asset and client retention.
As a result, there has been a large increase in spend and dedication to MarTech in the form of CRM, digital integrations & multi-channel marketing platforms, requiring asset management firms to direct investment towards supporting these digital solutions.
KEEP IN MIND: AVOIDING INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION OVERLOAD
4. Asset Management Brand & Content Marketing Checklist
With the foundation for a value partnership established, it is time to look at the content marketing tactics needed to execute advisor acquisition campaigns. This begins at the highest level—the brand—followed by the media and content needed to bring it all together.
✓ Building a Strong Brand
The brand visibility and creative output of investment firms are aligned with the truths of digital marketing found in many seemingly dissimilar industries. It is all about finding the FA’s where they are, breaking through the noise, and making a real connection with them.
Advisors, particularly younger ones, are looking for a contemporary culture, so you might have to take stock in who you are and where you want to go, meaning a close inspection of your current culture and how it can be improved. There are also new measurement tactics to consider and analyze in your brand metrics.
✓ The latest asset management branding considerations
- A Fundamental Shift: The paradigm shift created by technology has led to consolidation. This is seen quite clearly in the reduction of firm sales forces. So, filling that sales gap through focused marketing and brand development can fill in to speak to these newly uncovered audiences
- A New Trend: There is a growing need and demand for the end investor to know the brand they are invested in—both who they are and what they stand for, even if they are simply an intermediary or DC plan. Brand messaging and website design and development are ideal avenues in telling your story in a memorable and compelling way.
✓ Creating The Right Content
Lastly, we will go over several content principles firms need to deploy with the modern advisor and investor. Remember to make things easier for the advisor and to support their business, their clients might also see the materials and content you develop, so consider both audiences in your messaging.
- Humanize Your Firm: Going back to the concept of trust, FAs trust thought leadership content more when it comes from a real person at the firm – put a name, face and personality if you can.
- Focus on Client Outcomes: Content should be outcome-based and solution-oriented, in addition to relevant, timely, short and entertaining if possible.
- Identify Differentiators: FAs need to differentiate their practices and be able to explain topics intelligently and effectively to their clients – content helps them do this.
- Provide Value-Added Insights: Think of the audience and where you are posting and tailor your content for the audience and the medium.
- Build Channel Diversification: When it comes to media and output, the rule is that audiences are now getting their information differently – media has to get the right place at the right time. To this end, you may need to consider new channels to reach your audience.
Asset managers and investment management firms need to create an end-to-end marketing and branding presence to both stand out in the market and attract advisors to even consider their strategies and funds.
This requires firms to understand the clients these advisors serve so that they are seen as a value partner who can help provide the services and products required to continue growing their practice. The modern client is more sophisticated than ever, consequently demanding more from their advisors, who look to your firm to help meet these expectations.
MBC Strategic has helped asset management firms of all sizes position their branding, marketing and communications in a way that better connects with their target audiences. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.