Why Raising Capital is more like Politics than War

This musing is from someone who thinks too much about marketing as a mental process.

Here’s why.

Ninety five percent of the managers we encounter (and we encounter a lot), established and / or emerging tend to think of marketing as warfare not politics. This is a mistake.

It starts with a budget.  Nobody has enough to fight an all out shock and awe type of battle, where winning is pretty much guaranteed. Instead they hire a small team of ex Navy Seals / Capital Mercenaries to go get the job done. And budgets only allow for one primary strike.  These ex-Seals / Mercenaries don’t come cheap.

Unfortunately, it very rarely works.  Allocators don’t make decisions in the midst of a bunch of flash-bang grenades. Rather the opposite. They retract into the corners, shaking in fear. No matter how good your numbers are, how professional the Seals are, how much money you have thrown at operations – or any other flash-bang grenade you throw into the room – a fast insertion operation isn’t going to work.

The money runs out, the Seals go home, and you’re done – or the ROI attached to the initiative is 0.

Now, let's focus on a political route.

You don’t start tossing flash-bang grenades into dark rooms. You pick up the ball yourself, which saves you a ton of money, giving you staying power.

Being political, you may happen to “accidentally” bump into an allocator in a Starbucks … you say hi.  A voicemail is left, nothing that requires a call back. An email goes out, again creating greater familiarity.

Six months go by. Your efforts don’t stop.  (And appreciate the technology that exists which allows you to do this stuff without absorbing all your bandwidth.)

If done right (and present day politics is a perfect example of what not to do), you play into the allocators hand perfectly. You are not intimidating, the allocator feels they “know you,” and they are open to a conversation. And it is these conversations that translate into capital.

The long of it, build a plan around a drawn out, consistent campaign. Don’t overwhelm allocators - build presence, build awareness, build familiarity. 

Interesting, in raising capital, a small town Politician will outperform a highly trained, cocksure Navy Seal.

By Kyle Dunn