Asset management firms are always looking for ways to build better relationships with their advisors. To achieve this goal, many firms are upping their marketing budgets and funding new content marketing initiatives.
A recent study by the asset management market researchers at Cerulli Associates highlighted this trend. The study showed that 78% of small and mid-sized asset managers (with AUM under $100B) were increasing their 2015 marketing budgets, with a lot of the additional spending going to new content marketing initiatives. Although fewer large firms reported increasing their marketing budgets, many of them did cite a greater focus on content marketing.
Content That Elevates Advisor Conversations
Asset managers want to produce fewer pieces of traditional content like fund fact sheets and corporate brochures. Instead, they want to create materials on broader topics – such asset classes, market sectors and risk management strategies – that will help them to elevate conversations with advisors. Effective deliverables include case studies, how-to guides, articles, infographics and videos.
However, there’s more to content marketing than just the content. Successful content marketing programs often rely heavily on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs. Content is the fuel and social media tools are the engines that drive these programs. The problem for many asset management firms is that their current social media ‘engines’ don’t have the horsepower for the job at hand.
Three years ago, the SEC issued a warning about financial services firms’ use of social media. There also are unclear rules about who can say what to whom, for example, and in which circumstance employees are communicating on behalf of their companies or themselves. With fuzzy rules and high risks, it’s no surprise that the use of content marketing and social media in financial services lags well behind other industries.
But industry watchers at the Huffington Post and elsewhere are noticing a sea change with social media usage in financial services firms. Competitive pressure and demographic shifts are forcing the issue. So what can firms do to get caught up and do content marketing right?
Getting It Right: Active & Energetic but Managed & Compliant
Producing thought-leadership materials is just one of several key steps asset managers must take to take to succeed with their content marketing and social media initiatives. To shape and support the flow of all their great new content, asset managers need a comprehensive social media policy that establishes accountability, ensures brand consistency, and minimizes compliance risks. Lots of groups need to weigh in on this process, including distribution, marketing, compliance, legal, HR, and even IT. Once the policy is developed, it must be communicated effectively to all employees.
Next come the steps asset management firms can take to strengthen and fine-tune their programs, including:
- Establishing editorial guidelines, including topics to focus on or avoid
- Equipping relationship managers with tools that help them identify the best, most relevant content for particular advisors, and how to share it efficiently
- Building in monitoring tools that let relationship managers see in real time how advisors are interacting with the content provided
- Incorporating resources such as libraries of pre-approved templates and materials that ensure all materials are fully compliant with regulatory requirements
- Encouraging employees to be actively involved by building recognition and reward programs
Content marketing and social media are great ways for asset managers to establish stronger, more active relationships. Through more frequent and productive interactions with clients, asset managers can build trust with advisors and stay top of mind with them when they’re meeting with their clients.
A well-thought out policy backed by up-to-date tools are all that stand in the way of asset managers leveraging their employees’ intelligence and energy to take their advisor communication to a whole new level.
In financial services, the content management train is finally leaving the station. Smart firms will make sure they’re on it.