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Friday, November 13, 2009

Social Media Lures Asset Managers

Reported by Patricia Kelly

A lot of ink has been spilled documenting the ascent of social media and social networking in shaping the way we communicate. This raises the question –- has the asset management community embraced new media or rather, turned a blind eye in favor of conventional communication and marketing practices?

The answer, according to a new report from Cerulli, lies somewhere in the middle. For sure, a greater number of asset managers are beginning to explore social media and networking sites as an untapped means of standing out amongst competition, effectively bolstering marketing and advertising initiatives, and as a tool for education and communication. However, according to the authors of the report, asset managers are just beginning to make inroads in utilizing these new technologies.

Social media and networking sites can be a powerful means of leveraging a firm's brand and recognition. According to the report's authors, the financial crisis heightened advisors' need for information regarding investments and market conditions. This information can be made readily accessible by these new technologies. As technology becomes more complex and user-friendly, advisors and investors indicated that they will be increasingly open to new methods of receiving information and education.

Advertising is another area that is being transformed by social media, particularly in regards to marketing a firm's image and services.

“Social networking sites such as Twitter enable firms to 'advertise' without purchasing space,” the report reveals.

This prospect has not fallen on deaf ears, Cerulli found, as approximately 60 percent of asset managers surveyed noted plans to increase internet spending while cutting back on spending for consumer print.

Although some obstacles, such as compliance and transparency, can make the road to realizing a firm's full social media and networking potential rocky at times, today's shifting marketing and communication landscape combined with financial uncertainty and down markets are making new media less of a novelty and more of a necessity. 

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