Marketing Bingo – Unfortunately, You Might Be Playing And Not Even Know It

A seasoned institutional investor introduced me to a fun game they play called marketing bingo.

During marketing presentations, if a manager says ‘top quartile’, the investors touch their nose, ‘operating experience’, a subtle cough. Each of these clichés corresponds to a pre-determined signal. It’s all harmless and done in good spirit, but it speaks to just how poorly most managers present, and to a deeper underlying breakdown in the marketing process.

The investor I was speaking with also noted that after hundreds if not thousands of meetings with managers, he’d never met with any that weren’t ‘top quartile.’ Have you ever considered that in saying you are ‘top quartile’ you might actually be hurting your credibility? (My guess, no.)  Marketing is like anything else: if you don’t account for the environment you are in, you will eventually ‘be the industry.’  Not good.

As it relates to marketing, managers need to work form the outside in and not the inside out. Start with a macro analysis before you start building your internal pitch.  If you run a long / short strategy, how many others exist in the market (thousands), and what are those people saying to investors? (Hint: it’s probably the same thing you are about to say.)

In building from the outside in, your marketing message will be entirely different than if you build inside out. Managers need to consider the industry they are in, and the fact that investors see hundreds if not thousands of managers a year. It’s critical to take this into account.

The fact that “marketing bingo” exists confirms my belief that managers need to re-think the marketing process in its entirety.  Investors are bored and uninspired. Change the game, be different, saying something different, and you will get a lot further.

By Kyle Dunn

MarketingKyle Dunn