Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why CMOs at Asset Managers Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media

As a Chief Marketing Officer in the investment management industry, do not delay using social media. As a graduate student at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, I have been studying this topic and have found two articles that you might find interesting.

Mark Kitchen's (Twitter @HedgeweekMark) article “SEC allows broader use of social media for investment manager advertising” shows that even the SEC knows that investment managers will need to move into social media marketing. The SEC has issued guidance for marketing on social media, and it leaves room for firms to leverage these tools. Specifically, managers are prohibited from using client testimonies for marketing purposes, but now the SEC may permit testimonials on independent social media if the manager has no influence over public commentary, and viewing and updating are done in real-time. This is a large step forward for the SEC. Don’t think that because there is some regulation that there is nothing worthwhile you can do.

Photo credit: London Thomson-Thurm (2014)

In "Asset managers embrace #socialmedia marketing", Maha Khan Phillips (Twitter @MahaKhanPhillip) shows how asset managers are currently using social media. Approximately 50% of U.S. asset managers surveyed for a recent Cerulli Associates’ Social Media Survey are using social media for marketing purposes, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn. Asset managers such as PIMCO (130,000 Twitter followers @PIMCO) and Fidelity (64,000 Twitter followers @Fidelity) are using social media to communicate information about new products, educational information and tools, access to experts, recruiting, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Asset managers who started social media initiatives 3-4 years ago have been steadily building their audience on these channels. LinkedIn is by far the most commonly used, since it is considered to be the most professionally oriented social media site. Currently many asset managers and their clients are still relying on traditional communication methods and channels, but given the goals of improving and increasing direct communication, social media is a natural next step for firms looking to deepen their interaction with customers.

As a result of studying these two articles and my work in business and marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, I recommend that you consider these 3 action items:

1) Keep Current on Government Regulations – Regulations continue to evolve and they may be less restrictive than you think.

2) Watch Your Competition - Look at how other investment managers are using social media

3) Brainstorm New Ways to Engage – Think creatively about how your firm can use social media to engage with your target audiences.

By taking these three actions, you will put yourself in a much better position to get ahead of the curve in marketing on social media. Social media is too important to ignore – start getting ahead of the curve today.

London Thomson-Thurm, CFA
I am an MBA student at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, graduating in June 2015. My deep passion for creative marketing combined with the CFA® designation will help me to transform how the finance industry approaches marketing. Building on my 8 years of experience in investment management marketing and sales, this summer I will be doing content marketing creation at a large asset manager.

Questions or Comments? Tell me on Twitter @LondonThurmCFA or through LinkedIn at

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