Planning for “Scary” Shifts Ahead:

Private Markets, ESG Realism, and AI’s Maturation 

Q3 2023 U.S. Investment Marketing Trends Report

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This October, U.S. investment marketers may have felt spooked by more than just their neighborhood’s Halloween decorations. 

After a decade of largely linear growth in the industry, it can feel like the only constant to today’s landscape is change – and like a horror movie’s jump scares, unpredictable change is scary. 

In the latest edition of our quarterly U.S. trends report, experts from White Marble Consulting came together to analyze three major shifts in the industry that will likely impact firms’ marketing efforts and operations – and how marketers can best prepare: 

Trend #1: Private markets’ growth underscores the importance of the fundamentals. 

Though the market is rocky, signs are pointing to a continued emphasis on private markets as interest grows and firms seek their compelling revenue opportunities. Boston Consulting Group predicts alternative assets to represent 55% of global revenue by 2027, up from 50% in 2022 and only 31% in 2005. 

While succeeding in private markets doesn’t necessarily require fundamentally different marketing approaches, it does require that investment marketers reevaluate and truly understand their target customers, their offerings, and what their firm brings to the table. This is the essential foundation for the relationship-driven playing field of private markets; investors need to have strong confidence in your brand and deep trust in your ability to take advantage of the right opportunities. Learn more in our first trend. 

Trend #2: ESG faces new pressure for realism and returns. 

Marketers may have seen multiple headlines about the “death” of ESG. Is this actually what's happening? 

It's true that ESG’s growth is slowing and it’s facing intense political polarization in the U.S. If we step back, though, today’s shift is more about a maturation and evolution of ESG than a death knell. 

Overall, many investors still support the fundamental ethos behind ESG, but they also want a realistic perspective, and they want returns. Given this, marketers need to be sure they are taking a holistic approach to responsible investing messaging and emphasizing the outcomes and metrics that investors truly care about. And they need to think of ESG as one input in the broader investment process, not an output in and of itself. Learn more in our second trend.

Trend #3: AI matures from shiny new toy to everyday tool  

On Gartner’s technology hype cycle, generative AI is now at the top of “inflated expectations.” It’s been the oft-discussed shiny new toy, but as those expectations level out, we are starting to see many marketers begin to think more strategically about the tactical, secure ways in which AI can be used for marketing operations. 

AI presents remarkable opportunities for marketers in asset management to create more personalized content, refine campaigns, and improve client engagements. However, this wealth of potential is matched by significant challenges and risks, including issues related to data privacy, ethics, and regulatory compliance. Learn more in our third trend. 

Spotlight on digital performance

Finally, we share an update from White Marble’s digital benchmarking tool, Beacon, where we found a decline in social media engagement rates and indications of overall content fatigue. However, data points to bright spots for social media, including focusing on new channels like YouTube and the content that performs best, such as “people posts.” 

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