Cogent Syndicated: Digital Media Isn’t the Answer for Institutional Prospecting

April 20, 2021

Even during pandemic-induced isolation, 32% of pension investors and 40% of non-profit investors still say in-person meetings are most effective for evaluating and selecting new asset managers. Like most other industries, social distancing and work-from-home mandates have caused communication tactics in the institutional market to shift to more digital media. However, this clear preference for in-person contact is proof asset managers should resist the temptation to over-leverage technology when trying to reach and win new clients. These and other findings are included in the Cogent Syndicated US Institutional Investor Brandscape study by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

“In the throes of the global pandemic, many of the common approaches for business-to-business engagement were abruptly halted. The institutional asset management world adapted quickly, leveraging technology like never before for virtual meetings and a plethora of digital communication,” says Linda York, SVP at Escalent and lead author of the report.

Understandably, institutional investors report a substantial increase in their use of videoconferencing over the past year along with a dramatic decrease in in-person meetings, yet it’s reasonable to assume that this trend will shift as face-to-face interactions resume. However, more than half (55%) of pension investors and two-thirds (68%) of non-profits report their use of webinars/podcasts have increased over the past year. This along with 50% increasing use of email and 51% more frequently attending virtual conferences or other virtual events suggests that digital mediums are poised to play a more prominent role in communication in the institutional market going forward.

Cogent Syndicated found that while institutional investors clearly prefer email for staying in touch with current managers, emails and phone calls are far less effective for introductory purposes. “This explains why so many asset managers struggled to earn new business in 2020, and presents an ongoing challenge for prospecting in the near future,” continues York. “The best thing asset managers can leverage digital media for is delivering useful content that helps their current institutional clients do their jobs. Perspectives on global markets, economic outlooks, risk-management strategies and new investment opportunities go a long way in strengthening institutional relationships—and building strong relationships is what this business is all about.”

Join Linda York on Wednesday, April 21 at 12:20 pm ET for a complimentary webinar sharing more insights from the full report. You can register here.

About US Institutional Investor Brandscape®

Cogent Syndicated conducted an online survey from October 15, 2020 to January 7, 2021 of a representative cross section of 394 investors managing an aggregate total of $923 billion. In order to qualify for this study, survey participants were required to be managing institutional assets of at least $100 million and play a direct role in the evaluation and selection of investments or asset managers within their organization. In determining the sampling frame for this study, Cogent relied upon the Standard & Poor’s Money Market Directories (MMD) database of institutional investors. To ensure the population for this research was representative of the universe of institutional investors, strict quotas were established based on a nested classification of institutional investor category and size of assets. Minimal weighting was applied to adjust for purposeful deviations from the actual marketplace distribution. The data have a margin of error of ±4.94% at the 95% confidence level. Cogent Syndicated will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.


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