Guest Post: Holly Singer, President of HS Marketing, a firm dedicated to helping firms in the alternative investment community achieve lasting impressions, contributes with to The Final Meeting with marketing advice for hedge fund managers and service providers.
Personal relationships with eye-to-eye contact may be considered so important to building trust that our clients often dismiss opportunities to use email and other forms of electronic investor communication. Your marketing tool kit may need a refresh or re-interpretation.
In this eletter we suggest ways to enhance your client relationship management — not by substituting electronic communication for human contact, but rather by enhancing your offline relationships with new tools. We are all constantly reminded that we live in “the digital age,” yet many firms in the funds management and the service provider space leave an opportunity on the table by failing to employ current, legitimate marketing technologies that complement and enhance brand building efforts. Eschewing emarketing today is as inefficient as calculating NAVs manually.
Our strategic partner Glenn C. Devitt, principal of Online&, offers tips, traps and trends surrounding this critical element of marketing communication objectives.
The Trend: Adapting to New Tools
We recognize that a certain portion of your investors and prospects may prefer personal contact exclusively. But as younger generations mature, managers and marketers who do not adopt new tools will be perceived as being out of touch and behind the times — an image you can ill afford. Don’t mistake stubbornness for tradition. Perhaps you haven’t tested whether new tools may help your marketing objectives, but it’s easy and inexpensive to do so.
Trap #1: Well known emarketing tools that we do not suggest for fund managers:
- Facebook (unprofessional)
- Twitter (frenetic and impersonal)
- Bulk mail to strangers (untargeted and noncompliant with industry regulations)
- Purchasing commercial marketing lists (unseemly and probably ineffective)
Trap #2: Popular eblast options may be abundant yet unsuitable.
Be careful about which of the many ecommunication platforms you choose. Some popular options are best suited to general, bulk email. These include ConstantContact, Emma, and MailChimp. We do not recommend them to our clients in the alternative investment industry, because they do not integrate well with specialized customer relationship management (CRM) database systems that support broader marketing goals. Which leads us to:
Tip #1: Employ targeted and selective email approaches.
- Send monthly email communication to clients and prospects. Even if you call each client regularly, you should also send them a brief email that reflects your firm’s branding elements, and contains links to your firm’s current performance information and investment commentary on your secure website. Many people receive email more quickly than voice messages, and will appreciate that you communicate with them in multiple ways to suit their schedule.
- Prepare occasional special messages to address hot topics, such as a sudden market shift or unusual performance factors. Making numerous phone calls to investors is very time-consuming; smart investment managers leverage technology to send important updates to a group of investors in a few seconds.
- Limit your emarketing to pre-qualified investors and prospects. Play it conservative to avoid running afoul of regulatory restrictions. Your email lists should only include people with whom you already have a documented relationship. Check with your legal/compliance advisor before proceeding.
- Grow your personal network via LinkedIn. With this service you can discover first- and second-degree links to people with whom you might want to do business, and find out who you know in common. However, be careful to avoid marketing specific investments or funds via LinkedIn and as noted above, avoid non-compliant use of social media.
Tip #2: Integrate your CRM system.
Adopt an ecommunication platform that will integrate with your existing CRM system. This avoids having multiple databases that must be maintained independently. Third-party service providers such as Backstop, PerTrac, and SalesForce provide differentiated services for integrating all of your CRM tasks.
We invite your inquiries about what solution can help you achieve better investor communication, take advantage of easily accessible marketing technologies, integrate your existing CRM system, and do it all at a cost that fits your firm’s budget. If you haven’t already taken advantage of some of these tips and opportunities to update your marketing tool kit, drop us an email. We’ve been in the marketing communications business, serving the alternative investment community, for almost two decades.
Holly Singer, President
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550 | tel. 609.275.1303