I recently attended the Opal Emerging Manager Summit, because I wanted to hear what successful managers are thinking about building relationships. Opal's virtual format made it easy to listen to session speakers, drop by exhibits, and meet new people.
The #1 reason I tune into managers is the skill with which they deliver their thoughts. What about you?
In working with investment managers and advisors, I’ve come to see common traits to success. In particular, a manager's investment in purpose, people, and pitch is the difference between success and failure.
Purpose. What do you believe in?
For me, it’s compelling when firms explain their reason for existing and those dots connect. I think investment managers can move mountains when their purpose is part of the firm culture and investment philosophy.
Our purpose is personal — Blackrock's home page hero copy. That’s powerful.
Let's face it, creating a differentiating proposition is important — especially in an industry where the “what” is similar if not identical. The “why” is going to set you apart.
Pitch. How are you communicating your edge?
Your pitch deck helps to provide a good composite picture of your corporate character, as well as your fund’s performance and risk characteristics.
And of course, preparation matters.
Firms that effectively communicate what their firm is all about will differentiate their offering and gain the attention of allocators.
Tip 1: Keep it simple
Today, investors want succinct information to understand the value your fund or service delivers to the marketplace. Easily understood messaging can help them understand the purpose of the offering. We live in a swipe-left economy and investors want simple, easy ways to save, plan, and invest.
Tip 2: Focus on quality
A fund's pitch is an “always on”, work-in-progress. Established firms, such as TD Ameritrade and Blackstone are spectacular brand evolutionists with a relentless focus on quality.
People. Do you realize thought leadership is personal?
Thoughts are the foundation of any investment firm’s marketing strategy.
Your knowledge base and how you approach investment problems is what you’re selling. But it’s your dialogue with your audience that matters. Your critical thinking is addressing the problems your clients seek to resolve.
As your thought leadership library increases, so do your number of touch points (opportunities for engagement) and reach.
One of my mentors taught me that this business is about people. I used to try to get my ideas across before I built the relationship. Now, I build the relationship first and it's much easier to get my ideas across.
Investment firms face a significant challenge in differentiating themselves from the pack — and that task is exacerbated since the industry is populated with thought leaders. Is your pitch deck accurately reflecting the “wow” you offer investors, or is it more ho-hum?
I'm committed to supporting investment managers, advisors, and forums that desire to rise above the ordinary and communicate in an exceptional and compelling way.