Survey of Marketing Executives Reveals Top Opportunities and Challenges for Building Investment Management Brands

June 16, 2015

97% say building a strong brand is important;
89% say content marketing is most effective approach, and 78% plan to increase spending on content marketing

A new survey of marketing executives reveals the most pressing opportunities and challenges facing investment management firms amid the increasingly competitive environment and evolving media landscape. The study, conducted by financial services marketing and public relations consulting firm BackBay Communications and Osney Buy-Side, the leading organizer of premier investmentmanagement events, found that investment management marketing professionals are focused on building strong brands to differentiate their firms and highlight their competitive advantages. They see content marketing as their most effective means to build and reinforce brand reputation, and more than 78% of those polled are planning to increase spending on content marketing in the next 12 months.

In the survey, an overwhelming 97% of investment management marketing executives said developing a strong brand is either “very important” or “somewhat important” given the current competitive landscape. The majority of those polled identified “expertise,” “investment returns,” “thought leadership,” and “clearly articulated firm positioning” as the key attributes that contribute most to a strong investment management brand.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents said “content marketing/thought leadership” is among the most effective means of communicating brand strength, matching the response rate of those citing “personal meetings” as the most effective strategy. Other top effective communication tools and strategies identified include “marketing collateral,” “conference speaking,” and “media relations.”

For content marketing initiatives, among those polled, 92% identified white papers as the most popular medium, while 84% cited “market commentary” as their preferred content. Over half also cited webinars and video, while just over a quarter of those polled also incorporate blogs as part of their content strategy. Moreover, 79% anticipate producing more white papers and research over the next 12 months.

It follows that the two leading areas in which marketing executives at investment management firms plan to increase expenditures in the next 12 months are content marketing (78%) and website development (72%).

“There is a growing recognition among investment management firms that they need to develop a strong, trusted and clearly articulated brand, and they see content marketing as playing a key role in demonstrating their unique expertise, insights and approach,” said Bill Haynes, President & CEO, BackBay Communications. “Building a strong, differentiated brand should be supported by solid research, shaped around a firm’s competitive strengths, and then carried forward through an integrated, content-driven marketing communications program that draws on an array of complementary communications tools. These tools increasingly include traditional media relations as well as videos, mobile-friendly websites, social media, blogs, email marketing, webinars, events and bylined articles, which together can deliver greater consistency and efficiency of message dissemination than ever before, and provides a catalyst for client and prospect engagement.”

Investment management marketing executives say the biggest hurdles to developing a strong brand are developing a differentiated brand message, budget constraints, and senior management buy-in.

Investment management firms are not very active on social media, with only 8% of those polled saying they love it and use it regularly. Interestingly, nearly half, or 42%, have a social media presence but do not use it regularly.

Survey Methodology
BackBay Communications and Osney Buy-Side conducted an online survey of investment management sales and marketing executives in May 2015. The survey was completed by 33 respondents, who represented institutional investment managers (67%), mutual funds (18%), hedge funds (6%), RIAs (3%), consultants (3%), and other (3%). Eighty-two percent of respondents were from North America, and 18% were from Europe. In terms of assets under management, 12% had AUM of $500 billion or more, 21% had AUM of $201 billion to $500 billion, 6% had AUM of $100 billion to $200 billion, 9% had $50 billion to $100 billion, 9% had $25 billion to $50 billion, 3% had 10 billion to $25 billion, 24% had $1 billion to $24 billion, and 15% had less than $1 billion.

About BackBay Communications
BackBay Communications is an integrated branding, marketing, advertising and public relations firm focused on content-driven communications for the financial services sector including asset managers, investment advisors, private equity firms, financial technology companies and banks. BackBay takes a brand-centric approach to developing messaging and building integrated communications programs, featuring content marketing and digital delivery. BackBay offers a unique combination of content and creativity. BackBay’s services include public relations, branding, marketing plans and materials, videos, digital and print advertising, website development, and social media. BackBay is highly regarded for thought leadership initiatives and relationships with the major business media. For more information, please visit

About Osney Buy-Side
Osney Buy-Side is the investment management division of OsneyMedia, whose products cater to investment management practitioners responsible for Technology, Operations, Data Management, Performance Measurement, Investment Risk, Client Reporting & Communications, Marketing and OTC Derivative Operations. Through a combination of live events, bespoke training courses and the membership-based Performance and Risk Association, our products reach hundreds of buy-side practitioners across the globe. Our dedication to providing this community with first-hand, business-critical information makes all of our products leading edge. For more information, please visit

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Press Contacts:
For media inquiries please contact:

BackBay Communications
Kheli Chevalier
(617) 556-9982, ext. 228

Osney Media
Lee Allen
Head of Marketing
+44 (0)20 7336 4600