How to Effectively Market A Complex Financial Concept: Engagement to Diligence (Part 1 – Engagement)

Adhering to our own general rule, you need to make the complex, un-complex.

You need to do three things:

1.)    Engage your audience

2.)    Create intrigue

3.)    Get buy-in


There are two steps that supersede everything:

1.)    You need to identify an audience.

2.)    You need to acknowledge that the current practice of pushing around a 30-page deck doesn’t work.  (You will never fix something you don’t believe is broken).

Now let’s examine why pushing around a deck doesn’t work anymore.

Recognize that the average professional receives and sends 122 work related emails a day.* Now layer on personal emails, scheduled meetings, un-scheduled meetings, text messages, LinkedIn, etc., you get the point.

In marketing a complex financial product it is critical to understand that people don’t have the time to give you the attention you probably deserve… they are busy.

Therefore the first step in engaging an audience is to stop believing that people will care about you based on the legitimacy of what you do.

In theory, it should work that way. In reality, it doesn’t.

At the outset you aren’t trying to convince them of the merits of your investment strategy. You are trying to get their attention.  These are two very different things. Yes, there is no doubt that people would be genuinely interested in what you do if they were to stop and listen… but they aren’t stopping to listen. Which leads to the next logical question, “How do you get them to stop?” The trick, you don’t. You get them to look.

In order to get the attention of a sophisticated investor, you need to flash in front of them somewhere between 10 and 15 times.  Seriously, sending your deck, that’s one, 14 more to go.

People tend to overthink this stage. Yes, of course, everything you do needs to be credible, however, consistency is equally important.

The subject lines of the emails you send probably have more influence over your ability to raise capital than the legitimacy of your investment thesis. 

Makes you think doesn’t it.  You can’t raise money if you are talking to yourself. People spend 7,000 hours laboring over page 25 of their deck, and 30 seconds thinking about the subject line of the email they are going to send. At this stage, best reverse that.

Now let’s focus on mobile functionality and video. I know, you are tired of hearing this, but it’s important. Yes, there are 100s of legitimate reasons why mobile functionality and video are important, however, let me make it really easy for you.

Can you legitimately review a 30 page marketing deck bouncing around a cab in Manhattan? No?

Can you listen to and watch a 2-minute video? Yes!

“Yeah, I get it, but why is this so damn important?”

This is why. People look at “new” things while in transition.  That person you have been trying to get a hold of for 2 years, good chance that the first time they look at your stuff will be while standing in line at Starbucks.  Are you designing your materials accordingly?

By Kyle Dunn

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