The Placement Industry’s Infatuation with Conservatism – Good, Bad, and Ugly of Marketing

“The asset managers we work with don’t want any of the frills.”“We need to shoot straight up the center in terms of our materials, or people won’t take us seriously.”

“Institutional investors only want to receive information in a traditional form.”

The comments above all appear to be logical and appropriate.  Some would argue extremely accurate.

Consider, however, the fact that “good” marketing is anything but frilly or gimmicky.  This is what the industry as a whole is misinterpreting. The result? A built-in excuse to take short cuts, build shoddy materials, and execute poor strategies.  Good marketing isn't about making your materials flashy or flowery. It's about removing the distractions that keep your message from being heard. Give marketers some credit, because they know more about “bad” marketing than most fund managers, I can assure you of that.

Yes, a manager doesn’t want a deck with pink elephants in it; however, a manager certainly wants a deck that will impress.  People need to think beyond performance and recognize that everything matters, the language, the look, the design, etc.  Simply “having” a deck, isn’t enough.   It is death by 1000 cuts.  If you impress someone in 100 subtle ways, the overall impact is significant.   (There are 100 funds out there that are performing.  What else do you have that sets you apart from them?).

The bottom-line is: managers need to stop using “conservatism” as an excuse to be poor marketers.

A well-produced, animated video demonstrates far more sophistication than does any form of power point presentation.  KFL’s latest video is a great example.   A solid diligence platform will win you more accolades from investors than anything else.  Modern tools and intelligent designs have always been the pillars of strong marketing programs.  They will be well received by even the largest institutions.

Good marketing is simply that – good marketing.   Don’t try to convince yourself otherwise.

By Kyle Dunn