New Research Reveals State of Content Marketing Within Asset Management

May 4, 2016

82% of survey respondents cite engagement with prospective clients as the biggest opportunity for content marketing, while 50% view content as critical to brand building

Developing a strategy and producing content frequently enough are the two biggest challenges to initiate and sustain a content marketing program

Boston, MA, May 4, 2016
– Results of a new survey among asset management firms reveals that a significant number use content marketing as part of an integrated marketing strategy, but face challenges in developing a content strategy and producing enough content on a consistent and regular basis.

Report highlights were presented by BackBay Communications at the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA) Joint Product & Marketing Summit at the Charles Schwab campus in Lone Tree, Colorado. The research, conducted by BackBay and the MFEA, reveals that asset managers view content marketing as an opportunity to engage with new customers (82%), raise brand awareness (50%) and ultimately grow their business (46%).

This is reflected in the high adoption rates for a broad range of content marketing tactics, both at a brand and product level. White papers and videos (82%) are the most utilized tactics, with white papers cited as the most effective medium for content marketing (59%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, among those polled, those responsible for product management were more likely to see content marketing as an opportunity to raise awareness of products than their counterparts in the marketing team (50% compared to 21%).

“Content marketing among asset managers is still largely nascent with no one path to success,” said MFEA Marketing Council Chair Bill Finnegan, Chief Marketing Officer, AMG Funds. “This research points to a huge opportunity for firms who can define and execute a content strategy to increase brand perception, lead generation, loyalty and measurable ROI.”

Survey respondents say the primary challenge when it comes to content marketing is developing a content marketing strategy (64%). Producing content frequently enough (41%) and leveraging it to maximum effect (36%) are also identified as commonly encountered challenges.

“The study shows growing adoption of content marketing strategies, but also reveals that marketing and product teams are still trying to determine best practices in how they allocate resources to develop content efficiently and effectively,” said Bill Haynes, President & CEO of BackBay Communications, a financial services-focused public relations and content marketing firm. “In working closely with asset managers, we have found that content that speaks to timely economic or market themes, while still aligned with the firm’s brand and product sales goals, will generate the most interest and resonate best with a specified target audience. Moreover, to maximize the ROI, firms should understand all of the different content distribution models to fully leverage their efforts and ensure their content can be used in multiple complementary ways, from white papers and investor letters to bylined articles, videos and social media.”

Less that a quarter (23%) of survey respondents have built dedicated content creation teams in house, and less than one in five (18%) use external agencies or freelancers.

Evaluation is a sticking point, with campaign measurement cited as an issue by 36% of respondents. Most firms employ a variety of different evaluation methods, while 15% do not measure the effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns at all. Some marketing teams are well aligned with the sales and customer acquisition process with some 40% tying marketing campaigns back to sales.

Still, as more firms adopt content marketing strategies, the role of content marketing as part of an integrated marketing plan is only growing. And over half (59%) of respondents identified that they plan to dedicate more resources to it in the next 12 months.

Survey Methodology

BackBay Communications and MFEA polled members of the MFEA’s Product and Marketing councils between February 11 and March 17, 2016, using an online survey. The survey was taken by a total of 26 people; 11 respondents have a responsibility for product development/management, and 15 are responsible for marketing in their organization. Respondents represent boutique mutual fund firms with less than $1 billion of assets under management up to global investment managers with up to $1 trillion of assets under management, with 46% coming from firms with over $500 billion of assets under management. The majority, 78%, of respondents, work at firms based in North America with international operations.




About BackBay Communications

BackBay Communications is a strategic branding, content marketing and public relations firm focused on the financial services sector including investment management, private equity and financial technology. BackBay employs a brand-centric approach to developing messaging, compelling content, creative design and building integrated communications programs. BackBay offers a unique combination of content, creativity and multi-channel distribution. Services include public relations, thought leadership content marketing, branding, advertising, website development, marketing materials, videos and social media. BackBay is highly regarded for its thought leadership initiatives and relationships with the major business media. With offices in Boston, London and New York, and international agency partnerships, BackBay serves financial and professional services companies around the world.


Press Contacts:

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BackBay Communications
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Stephen Fishleigh
BackBay Communications
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MFEA | Mutual Fund Education Alliance
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