Marketing departments of asset management firms are less data-driven and less digitally savvy than those at technology firms, research by Fundamental Media has found.
For this research we have studied technology companies and found that firms like LinkedIn and Salesforce are representative for understanding the marketing skill sets at technology driven firms. These companies display a high level of client-led, result-driven and data-driven marketing skill. This is in line with our philosophy of outcome-oriented planning.
We classified the marketing skills of the asset management marketers working at ten leading asset managers in different categories in September 2020. We identified 2,755 different skills of which 40% can be classified as marketing skills.
In order to compare the skills of marketers in asset management we studied two leading technology firms, Salesforce and LinkedIn. We selected Salesforce as our benchmark and carried out the same exercise among the profiles of the European marketers working for Salesforce during October 2020. We collected 3,379 different skills of which 41% have been classified as marketing skills.
We found that marketers working at technology firms have more skills on average than asset management marketers. Asset management marketers report an average of 10.4 marketing skills compared to 13.4 for Salesforce marketers. In an age where there's a lot of talk about the requirement for experienced marketers to combine deep specialism, e.g. digital with broad relevant marketing knowledge and thorough industry experience, it seems that marketers in asset management are trailing behind. We will not make the case that all asset management marketers are lagging behind and we do see big differences among asset management marketers. However, it's fair to say that marketers in B2B technology firms collectively report more and more contemporary skill.
The B2B tech firm marketers report especially more skills when it comes to marketing strategy, online & digital marketing, and tools & data analytics. The above graph also shows that asset management marketers have more skills in communication, while the difference in advertising skill is insignificant. Overall, this seems to indicate that asset management marketers only display more skill when it comes to communication. However, when it comes to marketing strategy, which influences the course of the firm and fundamentally contributes to the company's profit and loss, asset management marketers could and probably should get more involved. Asset management marketers are also trailing the tech firm marketers when it comes to the new fields of marketing, namely digital marketing and data analytics. So, there's work to do.
When we delve deeper into each category, we can see where the differences lie exactly. Asset management marketers have more skills in all communication sub-categories as well as in media buying & planning, a subcategory of advertising. But when it comes to two other important sub-categories of advertising – direct marketing and events – Salesforce marketers have more skills than their asset management counterparts.
Within tools & data analytics, we see major differences between asset management marketers and their Salesforce peers. As Salesforce is a firm focused on marketing automation, we do not put much weight to the difference within this sub-category, but we do see major differences within analytics tools, online tracking and machine learning/AI.
We observe something similar within online & digital marketing. Salesforce marketers are more skilled in digital marketing, social media, SEO & SEM, website design & management, and mobile marketing.
So, what does this all mean?
When we combine these findings with our philosophy of outcome-oriented planning we can deduce that the Salesforce marketing function – which is representative for client-led, result- and data-driven marketing – could serve as inspiration for ambitious asset management marketers. Too often we come across siloed marketing functions in asset management marketing teams, whereas leading tech firms such as Salesforce have aligned their marketing function around the sales funnel. Their marketing output is therefore data-driven and focused on using various metrics to optimise for the desired outcomes.
When we look at the correlation between the skills of the marketers at the ten asset managers, we see a high correlation, meaning that no company is really standing out. If they want to differentiate themselves from their competitors, asset management marketers could have a look at their counterparts at technology firms like Salesforce for inspiration and start to develop more data, digital and technological skills.
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