Third Party Marketers: What They Are Not Telling You
So, I’m talking to a friend from the UK the other day when we stumble onto the topic of sports. Every time the word, "football" crosses my lips, he visibly cringes.
"Football? You mean that game that you play with your hands? Tell me, JD, how often during a football game does anyone but the kicker actually ever touch the ball with his foot?"
So, I’m talking to a friend from the UK the other day when we stumble onto the topic of sports. Every time the word, "football" crosses my lips, he visibly cringes. "Football? You mean that game that you play with your hands? Tell me, JD, how often during a football game does anyone but the kicker actually ever touch the ball with his foot?"
Yeah - this argument is not new...football will always mean something different to Americans than everyone else in the world. But it made me wonder the same thing about our business.
Why is it that capital placement agents refer to themselves as "Third Party Marketers"? Does this mean something different to people in these roles than it should to everyone else?
Let's call a spade a spade - there is about as much marketing happening in this industry as "footballing" in the American sport. Sure - there is lots of relationship management happening and certainly plenty of overt selling. But marketing? Not really...
Why is that? Across every other industry, marketing involves brand building and creating engagement. It is not just what information is presented, but how it is packaged. In this industry, the term marketing typically refers to delivering unremarkable, text heavy PDFs to existing relationships. The kind of stuff that looks just like the other guy's stuff. The trouble in this industry is that there is A WHOLE LOT of "other guys".
Consider the auto business - at best, there are a dozen legitimate competitors globally. Despite that, GM spends BILLIONS on marketing and advertising each year to support name recognition and enhance its brand, most in our industry spend next to nothing but yet somehow expect to stand out among 10,000 competitors.
It does this by affiliating with people named Shaquille O’Neal and Peyton Manning. People that its target audience aspire to be like. Just saying their names in the same sentence as automobiles and most people immediately know the reference to Buick. I am not at all suggesting that your third party marketer go out and make commercials – what works for one industry is not necessarily appropriate for another. But the key is to find a way to be memorable (in a positive way, of course).
The next time you look to hire an agent to raise capital on your behalf, ask how they distinguish between selling and marketing. Anyone can pick-up the phone - the trick is ensuring the prospective investor remembers you the moment the phone is put back down.
By JD David