Every mutual fund and ETF manager needs a strategy to either enter into or expand in the fast growing $2.6 trillion global ETF industry. This raises the question of what marketing and product strategies may be most effective for providers in growing and retaining assets.

The risk for an ETF provider is that its marketing strategy can get diluted over time into a grab-bag of marketing tactics (e.g. tweaking social media campaigns or adjusting conference sponsorship schedules) that don't achieve broader business goals. An analysis of ETF market share data shows that the biggest gains go to firms that can win at two levels: At the product level when they maximize "product-environment" fit, and at the franchise level when they have a distinct "calling card."

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