How Institutional Investors React to Marketing

May 10, 2017

Asset managers trying to get the attention of institutional investors must go beyond the typical marketing plan. Getting the attention of institutional investors takes place on a completely different playing field.

In contrast to financial advisors, institutional investors are not being bombarded with as many marketing materials, so in theory getting their attention should be easier. However, institutional investors’ marketing consumption behavior is generally confined to the asset managers they are already doing business with or potential managers they are considering when conducting an RFP. This demands an entirely different element of strategy for asset managers when creating their marketing plan, as the challenge for unknown firms to break through to this audience is incredibly difficult.

  • If I don’t recognize the brand or the name … then I probably wouldn’t even look twice at it.” Benefits Director, $750M DC/DB, NYC
  • “I don’t get that much to be honest with you, but I don’t really look at things from providers that we’re not using.” CFO, $20M Endowment, NYC

In general, institutional investors are quick to dismiss or ignore content from unknown managers. Even during the RFP process, they aren’t actively exploring new providers on their own, but relying on consultant recommendations instead. And rarely do institutional investors proactively search provider sites to read materials without being prompted by an email or hyperlink. The best opportunity for firms not already on an institutional investor’s radar to make their mark is to partner with consultants, board members or institutional industry peers. Utilizing trusted sources and cultivating peer-to-peer networks are key.

  • “The best way to get on our radar screen is to have it come from our consultant.” CFO, $100M+ Foundation, NYC
  • I also get stuff from my board members, my committee members that you then need to respond to. You’re talking about significant donors to your organization that sit on a board or sit on a committee. … You can’t ignore that pile. That’s not job jeopardy, but I have to read it.” CFO, $100M+ Foundation, NYC

Our qualitative research underscores the vast complexity within the institutional marketplace and outlines the unique needs of each institutional segment along with specific opportunities asset managers have to engage with each audience. Through our research, we’ll provide specific direction to maximize reach across a wide variety of institutions—from DC plans vying to boost enrollment to DB plans seeking the latest LDI strategy, to endowments and foundations aspiring for altruistic investing options, and to investment consultants seeking timely insights and data they can repackage and present to clients.

Contact us for more information about the full report and how it can help your firm refine its institutional marketing campaigns.

Sonia Sharigian
Senior Product Director, Cogent Syndicated

Sonia is a senior product director for Cogent Syndicated with more than 12 years of market research experience. She has managed numerous qualitative and quantitative studies in financial services industry research, as well as the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and retail sectors. Prior to Escalent, Sonia served as a community manager for C Space, a public relations specialist for Putnam Investments and as a staff reporter for Community Newspaper Company. Sonia earned an MBA from Boston University School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Simmons College. She’s a proud finisher of the rainiest Boston Marathon on record (2018), but truly enjoys triathlon training and outdoor adventures with her black lab.

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