Even as they embrace social media to reach a new generation of investors online, asset managers are struggling with content marketing, according to a recent study.

Eighty-two percent of the survey’s respondents said initiating prospective client engagements was the biggest opportunity offered by content marketing, while 50 percent said that content was critical to building their brand, according to research by Boston-based public relations and marketing firm BackBay Communications and the Mutual Fund Education Alliance, a non-profit trade organization, but are unsure of how to implement a clear strategy and how to measure the success of their campaigns.

Content marketing involves creating useful, relevant and consistent material, like videos, podcasts, blogs and webinars, that is intended to be found by investors and advisors, to retain a dedicated audience and ultimately to drive consumer engagement.

When asked about the challenges encountered in content marketing, 64 percent of the respondents identified developing a strategy, 41 percent named producing frequent content and 36 percent said leveraging content to maximum effect. 

Many firms also struggle to evaluate the success of content marketing. According to the survey, 36 percent of the respondents cited difficulty with campaign measurement. While most firms reported using a variety of evaluation methods, 15 percent do not measure the effectiveness of their content marketing at all. Fewer than half of the surveyed asset managers try to tie their marketing campaigns back to sales.

Just 23 percent of the survey’s respondents had built dedicated in-house content creation teams, while 18 percent used external agencies or freelancers.

Despite the growing adoption of content marketing across the financial industry, less than half of the survey’s respondents, 46 percent, believed content marketing would ultimately grow their business. Nevertheless, 59 percent will dedicate more resources to content marketing in the next 12 months.

White papers and videos are the most utilized content marketing tactics, adopted by 82 percent of the asset managers surveyed. Most of the respondents, 59 percent, believe that white papers are the most effective medium for content marketing.

Asset managers responsible for product management were more likely to see content marketing as an opportunity to raise awareness of their products than those on marketing teams, 50 percent compared to 21 percent.

BackBay Communications and the MFEA polled members of the MFEA’s product and marketing councils in February and March using an online survey.