Fundamental Media speaks to James Budden, director of marketing and distribution at Baillie Gifford, about the potential lasting effects of COVID-19 on asset management marketing

Budden James

What communication lessons have you learned in the last couple of months during Covid-19 and what impact will these have on your marketing approach going forward?

Unsurprisingly the provision of information to existing clients has taken precedence over promotional activity. Unless we hit another wave of volatility in markets, we may move into a more promotional mode given the relative strength of our offerings. This approach is going to be digital given the lack of scope for physical and OOH activity.

Have the new ways of engaging with your clients changed the way you work internally with the different stakeholders?

It is too early to tell. Both ourselves and clients and prospects have been bound to work from home. So we are in a situation which has been forced on us and not one that we should extrapolate too much from as to the shape of future marketing mixes. Nevertheless, virtual engagement is here to stay both in terms of colleague interaction, client service and promotion to prospects.

Digital platforms have allowed clients to have a very immediate and personal response from you. How will you build on that?

Amongst professional investors we always expect to have immediate and personal response. This has not changed. However, in the D2C market we have seen considerable engagement and feedback at scale which will guide our thoughts. There are considerable opportunities to build our databases amongst this group in conjunction with third parties.

A lot of people believe that once the crisis is over, many aspects of life will no longer be as they were before the crisis. Will there be a ‘new normal’ asset management marketing and what will it look like?

Some things will change and some will remain the same. It won’t be the death of non-digital such as print and events, but it may accelerate the change towards digital. Face-to-face will remain important as it cannot be wholly replicated online. People will still read real newspapers and magazines. But virtual engagement will form a greater channel. However, marketers will have to think how best to attract the right audience in a market which will offer huge choice for participation.

If you could give one advice to your peers, what would that be?

Don’t give up. Keep marketing through the downtimes. Hang on to your people and budgets.

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