Digital marketing has been around since the dawn of the Internet, and two months ago I argued that asset managers were still in “batting practice” mode when it came to implementing this practice.
That is not to say that asset managers have not been marketers at all. Quite the contrary. Like any other business, they collectively spend billions a year on staffing, conferences, proprietary events, advertising, collateral, and sponsorships.
But in an environment where fundraising is as competitive as ever, more and more managers are becoming full-time publishers to attract and retain assets. Harvest has over 70,000 pieces of content in its library, so we see what managers are producing each day and how they’re reaching their audiences. Below I outline in journalistic fashion the 5 Ws of asset management publishing.
Investors are increasingly demanding knowledge sharing with their managers outside of their formal mandates. The best managers know that in order to strengthen client relationships, they have to provide more than just financial returns and the requisite performance updates. In addition, with the growth of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, managers can get a better sense of which content is being read and by whom.
One could argue that Bridgewater Associates started this trend decades ago with its Daily Observations note to clients. Only a handful of these notes are made public each year, though Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio has begun sharing his thoughts more frequently on LinkedIn. On Harvest’s platform, we are fortunate to have some of the biggest brands in asset management sharing their content with our readers: BlackRock, Fidelity, PIMCO, KKR, AllianceBernstein, and Legg Mason, to name a few. We also host many specialist managers who seek to build similarly big brands for themselves over time.
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Managers publish blog posts and videos for public consumption, byline articles in trade publications, and private/secure correspondences via an IR portal. Topics include anything their clients and prospects would possibly be interested in whether there is a relevant product to steer them to or not. These include asset class analyses, macroeconomic forecasts, politics, and thoughts on the housing market.
As their customers spend more of their time in the digital world, Asset Managers are publishing more frequently on platforms like Harvest and LinkedIn. Marketing departments increasingly want data and feedback from their efforts, and the best way to do so is digitally.
The frequency with which asset managers distribute their content is a function of their internal resources, willingness to do so and ability to track content creation and its relationship with business development objectives. On Harvest’s platform, some managers publish content nearly every day. Others do so once a week, quarterly or semi-annually. The advantage to more frequent publication is that it generates more data for analysis. Other firms might only publish in-depth research, which takes longer to prepare, so they distribute it less frequently. The impact can be just as strong either way. While there is no one right way to publish, there is one wrong way: not publishing at all.