Give us your toughest questions on how to market your fund. We'll give you no-nonsense opinions and insights to help build your brand and grow AUM.
About February's Question
Is your fund prepared to acknowledge that brand perceptions are at least as important as its track record? Then you’re half-way toward the goal of competing effectively against better known funds. Your quest to be considered a “safe choice” by allocators involves thinking and acting exactly like your most successful competitors, in terms of marketing communications.
Gordon G. Andrew
Andrew + Selikoff Partners
West Port, CT
- A well-articulated value proposition: Until you have a clear understanding of why and how your fund is of value to investors, and are able to express that in a clear, concise manner, don’t invest in any marketing tools or tactics.
- An effective website: As the mother ship of your brand, and the most important public-facing expression of your fund’s value proposition, your website needs to go beyond “what we do” and “who we are.” It must also provide insights into “what we believe,” “how we think,” “how we operate” and “who validates our credibility.”
- Bona fide thought leadership: This self-generated content showcases your fund’s intellectual capital, which builds confidence in its potential to succeed. Bona fide thought leadership does not promote the firm, or include a rehash of performance results.
- Inherent third-party endorsements: These credibility tools can take many forms, ranging from published articles in respected publications, to speaking engagements at industry conferences. The quality of these types of indirect endorsement are more important than frequency.
- Top-of-mind awareness: To maintain familiarity with your brand in the marketplace, your fund will need to pro-actively reach out to its current and prospective investors and referral sources, ideally on a quarterly basis. The information you send to those target audiences must be relevant and of interest to them.
Associate with Established / Trusted Brands
If your fund has little or no brand stature, one of the quickest and most effective ways to change that dynamic is to directly associate your brand with specific firms or individuals who already possess the market credibility and respect that you’re seeking. There are a number of tactics you can apply to benefit from this brand-related “halo effect.”
For example, your quarterly outreach to target audiences (referenced above) might feature interviews with respected investors, or with well-known subject matter experts. Or your fund might host a series of by-invitation-only webinars, or in-person roundtable discussions, featuring recognized authorities in a particular asset class or investment style.
Regardless of the specific halo effect tactic(s) you apply, the underlying strategy remains the same: to create an editorial product or host an event that enables your fund’s brand reputation to be positioned – in the minds of others – as being in the same league as the well-established third-party brand(s) that you are promoting.
Many funds possess some of the marketing assets outlined here, and few funds possess all of them. An extremely small number of funds are able to apply these tactics in a consistent manner, or view marketing as an ongoing business discipline, rather than a list of items to be checked off.
Those funds that understand the human dynamics of decision-making, and apply marketing to build its brand stature, are capable of competing at any level, and often do not remain small very long.
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