At the start of any sales process you are competing for time.
It’s reached that point. Brain share is the most precious commodity of all. It doesn’t matter what you are selling. In most situations there are four to five immediate substitutes. If you can get the consumer to spend more “time” focused on you, there is greater likelihood they will buy what you are selling.
Time is a currency. People don’t like throwing it away.
Asset managers tend to overlook this phenomenon. Their approach is structured around proving their legitimacy, which tends to require a lot of words. Unfortunately they rarely have the opportunity to use them all. Long dissertations (marketing decks) aren’t designed to grab someone’s attention.
In a world of emails, text messages, conference calls, soccer practices, work out routines, etc., your approach needs to be fast and impactful. People are de-sensitized. It used to be unusual to see a video of a crocodile fighting a lion.
The Importance of Attention
If you are going to be successful competing for time you need to build tools that capture and hold your target audiences’ attention just long enough to get your point across.
Asset managers need to acknowledge that the industry has matured, and to a certain extent, evolved. Everyone needs to dial back the stiffness. We all get it. You are serious folk good at what you do. But relax and appreciate that your marketing is pretty uninspiring. It’s not routine breaking stuff. As such you don’t get the “time” you probably deserve.
You need to get people to act out of curiosity and self-interest. And I can assure you, tossing around performance won’t get it done. I can throw a rock and hit a hundred managers “claiming” to deliver risk-adjusted returns in excess of 10%. My point is further emphasized by the fact you are now saying to yourself, “but look at my Sharpe, or my volatility, or my correlation, or my whatever.” Investors are thinking the same thing and that’s why they don’t stop to listen. Your materials look, sound and feel like the last twenty five people that have walked in the door, and they don’t have the energy or time to conduct the analysis to put the 10% in the appropriate context.
Yes, things will get serious, however, if you don’t get someone’s attention on the front end, it doesn’t matter that you spent the last twenty years honing your skills at Goldman.
Below is an example of an asset manager employing smarter marketing to elicit engagement. It features a women attacked by a great white shark. (And you can’t say that it isn’t “institutional.” The production value and professionalism far exceeds industry standard.)
If you are looking to talk to people you don’t already know, is there greater likelihood that they will dig into a deck or click on the shark attack?
This is where I respectfully put the microphone on the floor and walk off the stage.
By Kyle Dunn