We frequently speak to fund managers that have already been actively marketing for some time, but have yet to gain much traction. Every manager has their own set of challenges to overcome in their quest to raise more capital, but one of these challenges can be attributed to a self-inflicted problem: ‘going-to-market’ without a strategic marketing plan.
One can fall into that category by having a pitchbook that doesn’t communicate their value proposition or doesn’t speak to their audience’s value graphics (ask us what this means). Or having a half-done website that comes across as bland and unsophisticated.
Beyond a deficiency of collateral, a more common lack of a plan comes in the absence of a marketing calendar with for content (i.e. monthly letters, roadshows, attribution updates, PR, AGMs, etc.) geared towards each prospect’s stage in the pipeline. Which usually means that there aren’t proper channels of communication and an effective way to grow that list of 300 ‘friends and family’.
Perhaps the most self-inflicted: not forecasting a long-term budget for marketing efforts, and instead just approaching it week-by-week.
One can look to the restaurant industry, which ‘goes-to-market’ better than most.
Long before a restaurant’s grand opening, a great deal of planning gets put into the design of the dining area and the kitchen’s layout (yes – in order to increase productivity).
The menus are tested and measured for cost and ROI, and they keep changing – for seasonal or promotional reasons. The right permits and licenses are acquired, and consideration for renovations (costs, timeline, permits, etc.) are factored. The right restaurant management technology is ‘soft-tested’ too.
Finally, a grand opening is always held. Think: promotion. And this happens after all of the above has been set in stone.
Why? 2 main reasons:
1. Many restaurants fail and it’s well-documented. One can see it with their own eyes when storefronts keep changing. A budding restauranteur knows the risk going in.
2. The monthly lease is expensive! One can’t be paying a 5-digit lease for months while they put a plan in place.
What’s the cost for fund managers?
The failure rate for start-ups in our industry is also very high. ‘Going-to-market’ without a plan equates to lost opportunity. You only have one chance to make that first impression.
After you’ve made that first impression, pushing that prospect through the pipeline can often come down to proper nurturing and timing the close well. There are tools that can tell you when it is the optimal time to do so.
After you’ve got your strategic marketing plan set up, you can then worry about ad campaigns, landing pages, and even your classic wine-and-cheese function to tell your story to a handful of prospective investors.
And make sure you’ve got a calendar that plots out these events over the next 8-12 months.
By Alan Chu