Content, Technology, and Partnerships Are Dominating European Asset Managers’ Sales and Marketing Strategies
November 17, 2020 — London
Managers are increasing their communication with clients and embracing new tools in response to the coronavirus pandemic
Cerulli Associates’ latest report, European Marketing and Sales Organizations 2020: Keeping Ahead of Rapid Change, shows that asset managers throughout Europe are increasing their communication with clients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are also providing more educational content for clients and prospects and increasing their use of technology across their sales and marketing functions.
Over half (52%) of the managers Cerulli surveyed for the report have substantially increased their communication with banks and wealth managers in response to COVID-19. In addition, 38% have increased their communication with pension schemes during the crisis—only 6% of respondents had previously contacted the latter group daily. Of the managers we surveyed, 44% have significantly increased the production of written content such as blogs and 40% have substantially increased the number of video conferences they conduct for client.
“The majority of the asset managers we spoke to are planning to produce more video content for clients—and 33% have already substantially increased their production of such content in response to COVID-19,” says Fabrizio Zumbo, associate director in Cerulli’s European asset and wealth management research team and lead author of the report. “Our research shows that nearly three-quarters of respondents to our survey expect to increase their use of video. Managers intend to increase their production of video more than any other form of social media content over the next two years.”
Many managers see technology as key to their future progress—68% expect to increase their spending on sales-related technology over the next 12 months. Respondents expect big data to be an important enabler of enhanced sales generation (60%) and also to recruit more people with data science and IT expertise (58%).
“Forming partnerships with distributors is also becoming an important way of enabling new sales,” adds Zumbo. “This approach is especially crucial in Germany and the UK, where 56% and 54% of the asset managers we surveyed respectively said it has become very important.”
Fee pressure is still the most significant problem that the managers Cerulli surveyed face: 50% of respondents identified it as a challenge. However, only 4% plan to modify their fees in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Other major challenges include increased investment screening/due diligence by fund selectors (46%) and product differentiation (42%).
Looking ahead to 2021, 56% of the asset managers Cerulli surveyed expect their marketing budgets to remain unchanged and 21% anticipate a decline of between 1% and 5%. Although asset managers’ total marketing budgets may not change too much in 2021, the mix is likely to evolve. For example, 29% of the managers we surveyed expect their budget for social media marketing to increase. In addition, 21% of the managers we surveyed expect to allocate more budget to design and branding; 8% believe that the available spend in this area will increase by more than 10%.
INTERVIEWS AND SURVEYS:
The report’s analysis centers on proprietary research, including 32 interviews with large, well established international asset managers’ sales, marketing, social media, and thought leadership specialists in Europe. Cerulli also conducted two surveys:
A total of 50 asset managers representing €3.5 trillion (US$4.1 trillion) of European mutual fund assets under management (AUM) as of July 2020 completed a survey on their evolving sales strategies and approaches, use of sales technology, and the number of salespeople, sales support staff, and product specialists they field in selected European markets.
A total of 52 asset managers representing €2.8 trillion of European mutual fund AUM as of July 2020 completed a survey on marketing and social media strategies, development of thought leadership content, and use of marketing technology.