Product differentiation is a top marketing and distribution challenge among mutual fund and ETF providers, who battle for advisor face time. How can providers overcome this hurdle?

According to the Investment Company Institute, by the end of 2013 there were more than 1,200 ETFs traded in the U.S. alone. For indexed products, brand strategies and distribution will be critical, says Carol Hartman, executive vice president and North American financial services practice leader at DHR International, a global executive search firm. With so many mutual fund and ETF products to choose from, financial advisors and consumers can have a hard time narrowing their choices.

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