Vanguard Group plans to spend more overall on advertising this year as it increases spending on targeted marketing online.
The Valley Forge, Pa., mutual fund company announced Monday that it had begun a multichannel ad campaign that encourages investors to "stop just investing and start Vanguarding."
Sean Hagerty, a principal at Vanguard and head of retail marketing and communications, said the ads will run in financial publications, mainstream newspapers and online. "This is not that different than places we have run ads in the past, but we have put a heavier emphasis in online," he said in an interview Monday. "More than half of our ads will run online."
The company would not disclose how much more it is spending on advertising this year, Hagerty said. The campaign is designed to better communicate how Vanguard is different from its competitors, he said.
"We are trying a new approach and taking the company's name and making it into a verb," he said. "Sometimes, it is hard to communicate our ownership structure in this world. We want to be able to explain how we are different."
Analysts said targeted marketing initiatives are the rage among financial services firms. Providers, including Charles Schwab Corp. and Fidelity Investments, are advertising to niche audiences through specialized Web sites.
Hagerty said Vanguard is trying to target marketing more to "mid-career accumulators and retirees."
"Our targeted audience is really anyone from their thirties to their sixties," he said. "We are looking for self-motivated investors that are interested in mutual fund investing."
Online marketing initiatives are "very trackable," Hagerty said. "Anything that we learn online can help us make offline decisions."