Marketing: A Solution, Not A Task

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“Allocators don’t look at websites”

 

“Performance is all that matters”

 

“We don’t have time to create content”

I was speaking with the principal of a fund the other day and I was immediately confronted by all the normal platitudes above. It went on and on.

I just don’t understand the industry’s defensiveness when it comes to marketing.

You can keep doing what you are doing. If you are not achieving the AUM growth you desire, one could argue that doing the same thing you have always done is not a strong strategy. Of course, there is that “small tweak to the strategy that will dramatically improve performance.” Oh, you don’t have one? Damn, sorry.

And the “Let’s give it a bit more time, maybe the market will do exactly what we need it to do for the strategy to perform.” You get the point.

 

Embracing the marketing process really is the only thing most managers can do to proactively change their predicament. Is it really worth expending so much effort to push it away?

You don’t need to start writing a daily blog, or go out and hire Lebron James. You just need to keep an open mind to opportunities for quick wins. If you have an old website, try to improve it. If you aren’t managing prospects well, maybe look at a CRM tool. If your pitches are falling flat, there are techniques to become more persuasive.

Competition is fierce. There is over- saturation across most strategies; it is getting harder and harder to break through the noise and capture the attention of allocators. These things are simply representative of the fact that the industry is evolving. Marketing is an opportunity, not an obstacle. Did Henry Ford need to worry as much about marketing in 1927 as Ford does now? Exactly. But their marketing focus has kept pace with the demands of the marketplace – and they’re still a dominant player today.

Back to the conversation I mentioned earlier. The principal I was speaking to is not dissimilar to many within the industry. In my opinion, the challenge for his firm – and others like it – is not the industry’s lack of attention to the impact of marketing. Rather, it is the dismissal of the marketing process and the lack of recognition that every industry evolves. The ideas and tactics that worked yesterday won’t necessarily work tomorrow. Evolve and adapt, using some contemporary marketing tools – or join the list of organisms that have become extinct.

 

By Kyle Dunn

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