Fresh off earning kudos from advisors for its impressive business-building ideas, American Funds
racked up further praise from advisors in the second part of the Financial Research Corporation
's 2009 Advisor Insight Study
, released on Tuesday.
This time, American Funds topped the list of the "10 top asset manager marketers." Franklin Templeton
, Fidelity Advisors
, and John Hancock
followed the California asset manager, rounding out the top five.
What do these firms' marketing campaigns have in common? Quite a lot, according to the study.
“While firms do look to differentiate themselves in terms of business strategy, reputation, and other criteria, for the most part, successful firms have adopted a relatively similar marketing strategy,” stated Amy Strong
, research analyst at FRC and a co-author of the study. “This may be in large part due to the fact that firms have tried many different marketing strategies, and it is also in part because firms are quick to adopt the successful strategies of their peers. This is particularly true for larger firms.”
The report revealed that advisors deem the quality and relevance of marketing materials the most crucial component of a broader marketing effort, succeeded in importance by simplicity, and frequency of contact.
“Advisors also expressed the idea of quality and relevance of information in a number of different ways, but most found it important to be able to present the same information to clients in a number of different ways, often starting with a fact sheet and then boiling down to the details in a prospectus,” stated Christopher Yeomans
, FRC research analyst and co-author of the report.
Still, advisors lamented that asset manager support has been lackluster this year and firms continue to send the bulk of marketing materials via mail rather than the preferred method of in-person delivery via wholesaler.
Another area ripe for improvement were asset manager's advisor-oriented websites. Despite an increase in reported usage of websites, advisors expressed less satisfaction with the sites this year compared to last.
Data for the study, which is part of a series of reports on marketing effectiveness, was compiled from a survey of 1,361 financial advisors and 130 branch managers. Findings are designed to reflect both firm-specific assessments for the top-30 asset management firms as well as advisor preferences about a range of topics including: marketing programs, materials, Advisor-oriented websites, and delivery methods.
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