Why should asset and wealth management firms be worried about their brand positioning and marketing strategy?

Why should AWM firms prioritize brand positioning and marketing?

The asset and wealth management (AWM) industry is rapidly evolving, with innovative investment products and strategies reshaping the landscape. Firms need to reassess their marketing strategies and differentiate themselves to stay competitive and relevant.

Clear communication of the value proposition is crucial to attract and retain investors. However, with so many firms vying for the same pool of investors, it can be challenging to stand out. This is where differentiation becomes a crucial factor. Differentiation helps establish leadership and appeal to investors seeking something unique. Understanding competitors' brand and market positioning is essential for developing a successful differentiation strategy. Continuous monitoring of competitors' strategies allows for timely adjustments.

Here are some best practices to structure and modify marketing strategies for AWM firms in this competitive landscape.

1. Protecting brand differentiation and preventing competitors from hijacking it

A strong value proposition is essential for an AWM firm to communicate its key benefits and brand positioning. Firms typically emphasize six aspects: low cost, trusted brand, performance, client experience, convenience, and personalization. These aspects vary in importance depending on the firm's core philosophies. The brand value consists of a core proposition, which is consistently associated with the brand, and a complementary proposition, which is selectively used in marketing messages based on the target audience. Clear and consistent communication of the value proposition across channels establishes the firm's brand reputation.

  • For instance, one of the top players, such as Fidelity, is known for offering exceptional client experience as it provides solutions for all stages of life for clients, along with complementary aspects such as low cost and client convenience.
  • Charles Schwab, on the other hand, has a strong brand association around client experience as it promotes a client satisfaction guarantee, along with complementary aspects such as low cost, trusted brand, and convenience.
  • Vanguard is primarily known for its low-cost offerings and is seen as a transparent, trusted, and reliable brand which puts interests of its clients first. Performance is seen as a complementary value.

Differentiation strategies play a vital role in defining brand positioning and shaping marketing messaging for firms. Analyzing competitors' brand associations helps identify potential threats and maintain brand differentiation. Understanding customer perception and ensuring consistent messaging are equally important. Market research and third-party reports validate brand positioning. Continuous monitoring of the competitive landscape allows assessment of marketing initiatives and their impact on brand differentiation. This ensures that the brand image remains strong and protected from any dilution or damage.

2. Implementing focused marketing initiatives by leveraging insights from recent market trends

Industry players need to stay abreast of the latest market trends and customer preferences to catch signals of any upcoming opportunity. AWM firms’ brand and marketing teams can leverage these opportunities to create a focused campaign that can help them to position themselves as a leader in the industry or strengthen their brand image.

For instance, during the uncertain market conditions last year, industry players, such as Fidelity, were quick to launch campaigns ideating on how to manage these turbulent times. On similar lines, addressing evolving customer preferences can help earn traction by launching targeted campaigns on time. BlackRock launched a campaign to promote its one-stop-shop solution. Fidelity launched a campaign to help customers save on fees. Both campaigns helped the respective firms to strengthen their core brand values for customers.

Here are some details about these campaigns and how these marketing moves helped boost the brand images of these firms.

Addressing inflation and economic downturns: Investors have been increasingly concerned about navigating economic downturns and managing inflation. As their target audience seeks stability and long-term growth, aligning marketing efforts with strategies that directly tackle these challenges becomes imperative.

For example, during the period of heightened inflation concerns, Fidelity successfully launched a comprehensive campaign, Be Proactive, Not Reactive.

  • This campaign emphasized the company’s risk management strategies, diversified investment portfolios, and disciplined approach to safeguarding clients’ assets during economic downturns.
  • By reassuring clients that their investments were secure, the messaging fostered trust and positioned the firm as a reliable partner in uncertain markets.

One-stop solution for clients’ diverse financial needs: Clients expect AWM firms to offer more than just investment management. They actively seek comprehensive planning tools and expert advisory services that can empower them to make informed decisions. By highlighting sophisticated planning tools and personalized advisory services, firms can establish themselves as trusted partners.

For example, BlackRock recognized the increasing demand for holistic financial planning tools and advisory services.

  • The company responded by launching a digital platform that offered interactive retirement calculators, a tax evaluator tool, personalized investment planning resources, and direct access to expert advisors.
  • Its compelling marketing campaign, Get your share of progress, effectively communicated the value of these tools and services, positioning the firm as a one-stop solution for clients’ diverse financial needs.

Cost-effective solutions: Cost-efficiency plays a pivotal role in the clients’ decision-making. Investors are keen on minimizing fees while maximizing returns. To address this preference, demonstrating a firm commitment to competitive pricing and transparent fee structures is essential. By showing low-cost solutions, firms can position themselves as an appealing choice for cost-conscious investors without compromising service quality.

Consider the example of Fidelity, which successfully introduced a series of low-cost investment products featuring transparent fee structures.

  • The company’s marketing campaign, Free Yourself from Fees, highlighted the undeniable benefits of their cost-effective solutions.
  • Through comparative cost analyses, Fidelity demonstrated how their fees were lower than the industry average, thereby effectively attracting price-sensitive investors.

To stay competitive, its critical to monitor industry developments and competitors, and launch timely campaigns with tailored messages that resonate with the target audience. Success depends on message alignment and how accurately it resonates with the target audience.

3. Tracking marketing spend, recent developments, and seasonality impacts on campaigns effectiveness

Monitoring the success of paid media spending can provide valuable insights into what is the most effective means of communication with the target audience. To get a comparative view, analyzing the same metrics for close competitors could unveil critical insights into how aggressively they are promoting their campaigns through high-visibility channels such as print, digital, radio, TV, and social media.

Let us look at why tracking media spending is an important part of a firm’s marketing monitoring activity.

Analyzing promotional intensity: By comparing and examining highly promoted campaigns, clients can identify resonating themes and messages for their target audience. For example, a particular advertising campaign focusing on sustainable investing might have received significant traction.

  • Analyzing its messaging and content can help to better structure future campaigns
  • Seasonality in marketing spend can help to better adapt messaging, products, and channels based on audience preferences and behaviors throughout the year

Evaluating competitor investments: Understanding where competitors allocate their marketing budgets is crucial. By analyzing their marketing spend across various campaigns, clients can uncover valuable trends and identify channels and tactics they prioritize.

For example, a comprehensive competitive analysis revealed that one of the main competitors heavily invested in content marketing, producing educational videos, and hosting webinars.

Tracking marketing spend: Examining marketing spend provides valuable insights into investment patterns and trends over time. By comparing data and monitoring changes, clients can identify shifts in competitors’ marketing priorities and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Implementing data-driven decisions will help clients to achieve impactful results. By leveraging these insights, clients can refine their marketing strategies, seize market opportunities, and forge meaningful connections with the target audience.

4. Marketing performance assessment for future campaign planning

A marketing performance assessment helps measure the success of a marketing activity or campaign against the stated goal. It helps determine whether the marketing activity can be improved in the future. For instance, an AWM firm could be running three different campaigns to target a client segment, which would be different for retail, financial advisors, and institutions.

  • One of these campaigns can be aimed at increasing inbound leads, and the other at increasing awareness.
  • As a result, the performance measurement criteria for each campaign vary depending on the outcome expected from it.

Defining marketing metrics helps teams understand costs, campaign effectiveness, and profitable channels. Clear key performance indicators (KPIs) must be defined to assess campaign success. Without KPIs, the marketing strategy's effectiveness remains unclear. It is crucial to measure and analyze both internal and competitor performance to create benchmarks. Though limited, competitor data provides valuable insights for comparison.

Here are examples of some of the most tracked metrics by AWM firms, which help them gain strong visibility into the effectiveness of their campaigns:

  • Website: Visitor traffic, new customers, returning customers, time spent on web pages, and clicks on specific content pages
  • Social media: Impressions, likes, comments, follower count, and reposts
  • Email marketing: An email open rate, click rate, forwards, and unsubscribes
  • Content marketing: Blog impressions, the volume of content pieces, and content downloads

Different metrics provide valuable insights: email open and click rates indicate engagement, unsubscribe rate gauges interest and content relevance, and social media impressions measure campaign reach. These insights help marketing teams assess goal achievement, lead generation, customer outreach, awareness, engagement, and ROI. They also act as an early warning system for underperforming campaigns, enabling real-time adjustments.

In conclusion, Rethinking strategies and brand positioning allows AWM firms to differentiate, attract new investors, retain clients, and thrive. Brand identity, competitor understanding, targeted campaigns, and data-driven decision-making are key. Embracing differentiation and adapting to industry changes ensure long-term success.

How can Evalueserve help?

Evalueserve is the largest analytics, research, and AI firm, enabling clients to make business decisions effectively and efficiently. We work with some of the largest financial services clients, including top asset management players. Evalueserve's expertise in market and competitor intelligence can help clients to gain timely access to relevant and actionable insights, which can help them to strengthen their brand positioning and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Here's how Evalueserve can assist clients in these areas:

  • Market research: Evalueserve conducts comprehensive market research to collect insights into customer preferences, market trends, and the competitive landscape. It helps clients understand their target audience, identify market opportunities, and develop effective marketing strategies.
  • Developing targeted marketing strategies: Competitor intelligence provides insights into competitor marketing strategies, campaigns, and channels, which help clients identify their improvement areas. It can empower them to effectively communicate their brand messages and differentiate themselves from competitors.
  • Identifying unique value proposition: By analyzing competitor offerings, messaging, and positioning, clients can identify gaps in the market where their brands can offer a unique value proposition.
  • Marketing effectiveness evaluation: Competitor intelligence allows clients to track competitor performance and benchmark their success. It helps clients to identify their improvement areas. Clients can refine their brand and marketing strategies by continuously monitoring and analyzing competitor performance.
Pankaj Aggarwal
Associate Director, Asset & Wealth Management Posts
Rohit Kirar
Manager, Asset & Wealth Management Posts

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