Last updated: 10:05 / Monday, 5 October 2015
Cerulli Associates

Effective Communication is European Asset Managers' Greatest Challenge

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Effective Communication is European Asset Managers' Greatest Challenge
  • Managers want to offer fresh perspectives and solutions to help the wider audience which they hope will give them an edge as competition and regulatory pressures intensify
  • A total of 94% of European asset managers use thought leadership initiatives to target institutional investors; Almost two-thirds of managers to develop a rapport with consultants, and 55.6% use to target private banks and wealth managers
  • "The written word alone is not enough and the variety of message is much wider, quirkier, and colorful. It is also sophisticated and fast moving: videos and podcasts are used as a matter of course"
  • Financial marketers spend between 10% and 20% of their total budget on their content marketing in the United Kingdom alone
  • 80% of managers surveyed by Cerulli measure the impact of thought leadership campaigns by counting the hits on their digital and social media sites

Of all challenges facing asset managers -compliance, competition, volatile markets- Cerulli Associates believes that effective communication is the toughest. Managers are keen to restore trust and confidence in an industry tainted by the 2008 financial crisis by targeting a variety of audiences with thought leadership initiatives -sharing knowledge, developing sustained rapport- via multiple channels, finds a new report from the firm entitled European Sales and Markeging Organizations 2015.

Managers said hat they want to offer fresh perspectives and solutions to help the wider audience -some of it new to investments- which they hope will give them an edge as competition and regulatory pressures intensify. 

A total of 94% of European asset managers said that they use thought leadership initiatives to target institutional investors. And almost two-thirds of managers use thought leadership strategies to develop a rapport with consultants, while 55.6% use such initiatives to target private banks and wealth managers. And about a third of managers surveyed are focusing on platforms. A further 22.2% of managers are targeting independent financial advisors. 

But thought leadership is not about the hard sell, say managers. They want their content to be informative and educational and a softer, more discerning part of the marketing machine.

"The written word alone is not enough and the variety of message is much wider, quirkier, and colorful. It is also sophisticated and fast moving: videos and podcasts are used as a matter of course," says Barbara Wall, European research director at Cerulli. "Training for thought leaders has also evolved as fund managers go to greater lengths to develop talent, either through third-party experts or by developing internal know-how," she adds.

Financial marketers spend between 10% and 20% of their total budget on their content marketing in the United Kingdom alone. And Cerulli's interviewees have also allocated logistics and time to establishing internal systems while also involving third-party expertise, such as professional copywriters and respected academics. And in return for this commitment, fund managers want effective two-way communication.

"Feedback -any reaction, in fact- is meaningful because it shows that the message that caused it was incisive and engaging enough to warrant a response,"says Angelos Gousios, senior analyst at Cerulli. "This shows that the industry is growing more open and democratic, moving away from the one-sided information mode that has characterized it for so long," he adds.

Meanwhile, managers are developing ways to measure the success of thought leadership initiatives, including external speaking requests and press coverage. A total of 80% of managers surveyed by Cerulli measure the impact of thought leadership campaigns by counting the hits on their digital and social media sites.

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