In 2012, digital marketing initiatives composed just 24.4% of the average industry marketing budget. This year, digital marketing is up to 30.4% according to Ignites Distribution Research's proprietary survey of fund managers.

 This trend is likely to continue next year and in 2014, marketing executives estimate that digital initiatives will comprise 35.4% of total marketing budgets. The key strength of digital media use is the ability to track online behavior, which allows fund firms to better track the effect of marketing efforts.

 While most direct fund providers have mastered digital engagement, many intermediary-distributed fund providers still struggle with adapting to this trend as they have historically relied on wholesaler interaction.

"The move to digital signals that marketers are becoming progressively more adept at using technology to reach customers, but more importantly, to engage with customers online," said Jesse Mark, a senior research analyst at Ignites Distribution Research in a statement. "Measuring results is easier with digital than with traditional marketing, and that's crucial as fund companies expect a clearer return on marketing investment." 

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