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Marketing Management Project Management

The Power of the Pivot

Your fund just closed and you expected it to be open for six more months.

Your marketing plan is out the window.

So what do you do next?

This is where the power of the pivot in business comes into play.

Changing Direction Quickly

In marketing, we love to create project plans, line up our content calendar, schedule campaigns and set everything in motion.

We have this ideal set out on how everything’s going to go. Your fund is launched, it’s live, your sales team is raising capital and your firm is planning on selling it until it reaches $X in capital or as of a certain date. But then your sales team raises capital faster than you expected.

All your marketing plans are out the window. What do you do next? The sales team doesn’t get time off until the next offering. And the next fund launch is likely months away.

This is where strategy comes into play. And your ability to change on demand. Especially in a volatile market. It’s important to prep yourself mentally and with strategy to quickly change direction. 

Develop Your Next Steps

First, bring the entire marketing team into what is happening and the pivot your firm and your team need to make. Sketch out the situation, which marketing programs are now obsolete, what advisors’ information needs will be around the business event that just occurred and what they will need to know going forward as you launch a new fund.

When you have a gap between funds, a great place to focus is on brand awareness. Just because your fund is closed, doesn’t mean your brand’s gone. Your sales team works hard to establish relationships with financial advisors…part of your job is to help them keep those relationships intact even if you don’t have a product in the market. Miss this as a marketer, and capital raising will be slow going at the start of your next offering as you try to make up for lost time in maintaining a presence in the minds of advisors.

For example, advisors are looking for education – on alternative investments, on your asset class, on lifestyle trends affecting commercial real estate. Focus on that between offerings. You can also distribute content from third parties and note how the information relates to your firm. And keep featuring your management team on webinars to provide advisors with updates or insights.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you plan for the pivot, reach out to us today.

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Marketing Management Marketing Team

Hiring the Right Marketing Agency

How is hiring a marketing agency like prom?

I know you’re probably thinking, “I haven’t been to prom in so long, I don’t remember.” For me, I never enjoyed prom. There was the buildup to the event…getting your dress, your shoes, figuring out what you’re going to do with your hair. But then you get there, and it wasn’t what you expected. I know I felt disappointed with my prom experience.

When I was working in corporate marketing, that’s the exact feeling I had anytime we had the need to hire an outside marketing firm.

Few Marketing Firms Truly Understand Alts

You’ve been searching and you finally find a marketing firm that looks like they’re going to be amazing. They have great work on their website, they look like they’re creative and fun to work with, they have experience…but you quickly learn that they don’t have the experience you need.

Financial services marketing – and even more so alternative investments marketing – is truly unique and requires a specific marketing skill set that balances being detailed oriented and analytical with creativity. It requires an understanding of financial products and more importantly, a deep understanding of the target audiences of advisors and investors.

A challenge in the alternative investment industry is that few marketing firms understand the ins and outs of commercial real estate offerings, the compliance requirements and how to explain offerings to advisors.

Marketing Intent Has Decades of Alts Marketing Experience

When we started Marketing Intent in early 2020, we did so with the goal of bringing a firm to the alternative investments industry we wished we’d had in our corporate lives. A firm that understands the industry, the lingo, the requirements. A firm that can balance the analytical with the creative. A firm that helps its clients produce and distribute marketing that generates sales activity.

We have decades of experience, not only financial services, but alternative investments as well. We understand your offerings, we understand the compliance requirements, and we understand how to talk to financial advisors in a way that helps them engage with your sales team. We partner with our clients to help elevate their marketing and stand out among a growing number of alternative investment offerings.

Nothing Happens Until Something is Sold

At Marketing Intent, our mantra is that nothing happens until something is sold. Raising capital is at the heart of your business. That’s why our approach centers around making sure your sales team has what they need to bring capital in the door.

We start by identifying the gaps between marketing and the needs of your sales team. Next, we prioritize where marketing can generate the most activity—and streamline the sales process. Then, we bring marketing in alignment with sales.

Need help avoiding the disappointment of hiring an outside marketing firm? Do you want to work with a firm that understands your industry, the needs of your sales team, your target audience, your product and your compliance requirements? Marketing Intent will help you avoid the “prom disappointment”. Contact us today to set up a meeting.

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Marketing Management

Trends in Marketing

Knowing which trends are popping up in marketing and which trends are outdated is a way to remain relevant and engaged with your audience.

In – Dynamic Personal Voice
Out – Bland, Third Person Voice

First, let’s talk about using your voice. Try to avoid a bland, third-person voice. Use the words “us”, “we” and “our” to make your materials personal. People tend to gravitate toward the human element and will continue wanting to hear more and ask questions or read more.

In – Simplicity
Out – Deciphering What You’re Saying

The second focus is to keep it simple. We tend to compact so much into one piece or into meetings and conversations. And we often use a lot of jargon. Keep it simple – and keep them wanting more by being clear, concise, and making it simple for your target audience. Creating a compelling teaser will keep them interested and wanting to carry the conversation further.

In – White Space
Out – Cramming It All In

The next trend that we are seeing is white space. Don’t fill it up! Maintaining white space on your fact sheets, your white papers, or your website makes it cleaner, professional, and more inviting to the eye. A design that is aired out attracts more attention and conveys a sense of organization.

When you have a jumbled mess of content or its extremely cluttered, people equate that to what you’re doing on the backend – it’s a mental stumbling block. So, utilize white space appropriately to keep your readers engaged.

Thing’s Don’t Have to be Perfect

Marketing doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try. There’s going to be multiple iterations. We see a lot of asset managers hold onto papers, fact sheets or emails because they want to get their wording exactly perfect.

Now, do the facts need to be correct? Of course. But that first iteration doesn’t need to be perfect. The important thing is to get that first draft out there – and iterate over time based on feedback. Having a couple other people chime in on what they think may sound better, or some questions that came up when the first draft was used is what’s going to help drive it to eventually being perfect.

Would you like more insights about what’s working for asset manager marketing and what’s not? Contact us today at info@marketingintent.com.

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Marketing Management

Participating and Planning

How great does it feel to be asked to participate in a task force to plan an industry conference?

Pretty darn great.

Planning the Summit Conference

That’s how Cherie felt when Stacy Chitty from Blue Vault, asked her to participate in the task force to plan the upcoming Blue Vault Bowman Alts Summit 2023. This conference is focused on alternative investments.

We’ve been hearing for a long time that the 60/40 portfolio is no longer working. Alternative investments are the way to help the financial industry break out of that mold…although it’s been a bit slow moving to do it.

A Wide Range of Alternative Investments

What we’re doing on the Alts Summit task force is looking at the different types of content that advisors need to know to understand alternative investments. This includes making sure that a wide range of product sponsors are present at the conference. It also includes making sure that whether an advisor is new to alts or has been offering them for some time, there are educational opportunities for everyone.

In addition to product sponsors, we’ll be hearing from industry experts on topics like technology, compliance, and marketing in relation to alternatives, as well as advisor practice management. 

Register Today

If you haven’t registered yet, plan on joining us in Atlanta, March 6th through March 8th for the Blue Vault Bowman 2023 Alts Summit.

We look forward to seeing you there and helping you learn more about how you can incorporate alternative investments in your practice. Register now.

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Marketing Management Marketing Team

Is It Time to Outsource Your Marketing?

Marketing can be a pain point for many asset managers because there’s a lack of understanding, time, and resources. As a result, marketing is commonly one of the first things to get pushed to the end of the list or to cobble together.

In this article, we’ll discuss a few key indicators that it’s time to outsource marketing.

#1 – You Don’t Thoroughly Understand Your Audience

The first sign is that your marketing team doesn’t have a good grasp of your target audience. Maybe they are new to the industry, new to the distribution channel or don’t understand what your audience needs in terms of information. If you are not able to understand your target, you can’t produce the marketing needed to help you raise capital efficiently. A deep knowledge of who you’re speaking to and how to communicate with them is essential to effective marketing.

#2 – Your Marketing Team Doesn’t Understand the Sales Process

The second sign that it’s time to outsource marketing is when your marketing team doesn’t understand the sales process. Maybe it’s because they don’t have relevant experience or maybe you have a junior marketing team. You may have people that have come from outside the industry, and they don’t understand what goes into the day-to-day of the sales process.

A lack of understanding of the sales process leads to marketing not asking the right questions of the sales team to make the sales job easier. If you’re not fostering a feedback loop with your sales team and understanding the reception of the marketing materials out in the field, you’re missing the opportunity to facilitate conversations with advisors for your sales team.

For optimal capital raising, sales and marketing should be aligned. And that responsibility often falls heavier on marketing teams to accomplish.

At Marketing Intent, we help you align your marketing and sales teams for a unified capital raising effort and a relationship that benefits both departments. Contact us today.

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Marketing Management

Your Marketing Strategy

According to a recent survey from LC Kirk & Company, twelve to eighteen months is the amount of time it takes an advisor to learn about your offering before they make an allocation to it. For some sponsors, especially new ones in the commercial real estate and alternative investment space, that can seem like a very long time.

How can we shorten that long sales cycle? The answer – sync up your sales and marketing.

Shortening the Cycle

A lot of times marketing operates in a vacuum, and they don’t understand what the sales team is seeing in the field, the objections they’re facing, and the questions they’re getting from advisors. So, it’s important to open the communication channels between marketing and sales to help shorten that sales cycle and bridge the gap between what sales actually needs and what marketing is delivering.

Brand Awareness

Next, you should focus on brand awareness. Make sure everything is synced up across the board from email, to what you’re doing at conferences and how you’re helping advisors understand what you’re doing. Some firms feel hesitant about emailing, but email is a great way to increase brand awareness about your firm and offering. Building a strong brand helps build trust and break down barriers for advisors in looking at and completing due diligence on your firm.

Boil Down Your Story

It also helps shorten the sales cycle when you communicate what you do and the details of your offering in a simple way. Get away from complicated jargon. Advisors are not going to dig into what you’re doing if they don’t understand it immediately. Make sure you’re boiling down your story into digestible chunks, so it’s easily understood. That could be anything from the demand drivers behind your commercial real estate assets or lifestyle trends that are driving demand, and what supply looks like.

If you need help syncing marketing and sales, raising brand awareness, and boiling your story down into something that’s easily understandable, contact us at Marketing Intent. We’d be happy to help you shorten your sales cycle.

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Marketing Management

Planning your 2023 Budget

Our team likes annual budget time – that special time! We know that’s not the case for everybody.

Taking time to create your budget for the next year helps you decide what you’re going to focus on and how to help your company reach its goals.

Let Us Help You Plan Your Budget

One of the most time-consuming parts of budgeting is figuring out how much these great ideas are going to cost. At Marketing Intent, whether you’re our client or you’re not our client yet, we are happy to help you plan for your budgeting for 2023.

Understanding our Packages

We have several programs that are off the shelf. If you are launching a fund, we can look at it and explain some of the small, medium, and large packages for how you want to market. You can then understand what those costs are, going into 2023.

How Long is This Going to Take to Execute?

If you have a new idea that you want to explore, like geotargeting, or even bringing direct mail back to your marketing plan, we can help with that.  We can give you a sense for how long it takes to plan and execute a program, and how much it might cost you.

Please reach out to us and we’d be happy to help you with your marketing plans and budgeting for 2023.

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Marketing Management Time Management

Overcoming Obstacles When Managing Marketing and Delegating

You’re short staffed, buried in work and you know you should delegate to get out from underneath it and get caught up on your marketing tasks, but you’re not. Why aren’t you delegating? Even seasoned marketing managers fall victim to the “I can do everything myself” or “I can do it better myself” mentality.

Let’s discuss ways to overcome some of the obstacles we feel when managing marketing and delegating – as well as opportunities to potentially outsource delegation to an outside marketing firm.

Some managers fear delegation because it hasn’t worked out well for them in the past. In my 25+ years of managing marketing teams, I have found that it comes down to delegating to the right people.

There are four different personality traits that I found are critical when you’re choosing who you’re delegating to. 

Strong Sense of Responsibility

First is a strong sense of responsibility and a commitment to the company. You want somebody who is dedicated and interested in their career growth, as well as the mission of the company and feels excited about it. That energy then translates into wanting to accept the additional responsibility of delegation.

Intuitive Communication Skills

Next is intuitive communication skills. I always think of this as understanding the communication needs of the target audience, which in this case is myself, or you, if you’re the manager. You want to make sure that the person you’re delegating to understands what you need to know and when you need to know it. They need to give you updates that make you feel comfortable, without feeling like you have to pry for information, or that you aren’t getting what you need.

Strong Project Management Skills

The next is really strong project management skills. It’s important for whoever you’re delegating to, to understand the overall project and how to move it along. I like to know that the person understands “Plan A,” but that they also have a “Plan B” and even a “Plan C” at times, in their back pocket. They can then keep the project going and moving along if they encounter any obstacles.

Confident Individuals

Next are individuals who are confident in themselves. You want to make sure that you have a team or a person you’re delegating to that is solutions oriented. They need to be trying to solve a problem that comes up versus coming to you as a safety net when things get hard.  They figure out how to address red flags and put projects back on track. This is somebody who feels comfortable and confident in challenging situations, but also makes solutions a reality.

Self Reflection

Let’s move on to our next topic – which can be harder because it requires self-reflection. Oftentimes managers want to take credit for everything the team does, and they feel like in order to do that, they have to do all of the work. They take more of an “I” approach to managing marketing than a “WE” approach.

What I found in my career is that a “WE” approach is much more effective in motivating a team, as well as lightening your own workload, so you can dedicate your time to the tasks and projects that require your attention. If you think about how to motivate your team and elevate each member to work to their maximum potential, there’s much more that a marketing team can accomplish, than if everyone is working on their own.

Delegation to an Outside Firm

When it comes to delegation, marketing managers don’t often think about using an outside marketing resource. Consider projects you just aren’t getting to, or projects that you need help with to push them across the finish line. These are great areas where an outside marketing resource can help. 

An outside marketing firm can also help fill in areas that aren’t your strong suit.

If you’re not an organized person, try to find a marketing firm that is. If you’re looking for a little bit more creativity, then make it criteria to select a firm. Once you have that alignment, you can start out with a small project to make sure you’re developing trust, and then you can move on to delegating out bigger projects.

If you’re finding yourself underwater and need help managing your marketing load, we at Marketing Intent would be happy to explore delegation to us, with you.

Let’s have a conversation.

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Marketing Management Marketing Team

Marketing Teams Aren’t Immune to Inflation

Inflation – it’s all across our economy and affecting almost every part of our lives, including our marketing teams. If you’ve been searching for marketing candidates, you’ve probably noticed a demand for increased salaries, but you may not be getting qualified candidates applying for your positions or the hiring process is draining your team resources.

Let’s talk about how an outside marketing firm can help take work off your shoulders by tackling shorter and longer-range marketing projects.

The Sprint Project

The “sprint” marketing project is a short project where you might already have content developed and you just need it developed into an email, flier or a social media campaign. That’s where an outside marketing firm can step in quickly, especially one who knows your industry. They will help you push the project to the finish line.

The Half Marathon Project

Next, let’s talk about the “half marathon.” This is a project you may already have started and know it’s going to take some time to complete. You may need help with strategy, planning, writing or designing some deliverables. Again, an outside marketing firm can step in, accelerate the project and see it through to completion.

The Marathon Project

Then there’s the “marathon.” These projects can last multiple months. We often see these projects as the ones that firms have started, but don’t have the time to dedicate to them. An outside marketing firm can help you with planning, making sure everything stays on track over the months, as well as creating the deliverables. Examples of marathon projects are fund launches, series of videos, and automating email marketing.

Reallocating FTE Dollars to Outside Resources

Regardless of how in-depth your marketing project is, from that short sprint to a long marathon, taking the dollars you have earmarked for full-time employees (FTE) when you just can’t fill those roles, and dedicating them to an outside marketing resource can go a long way in helping you reach your marketing goals.

Contact Us to Fill in the Gaps

If you need help, as you’re looking to fill marketing roles and just aren’t finding the right candidates, reach out to us and we’d be happy to fill the gaps.

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Marketing Management Sales Support

Is Marketing Ready for a Hybrid Sales Model?

The sales process changed tremendously this year as wholesalers learned to build relationships and trust with advisors remotely.

As the pandemic continues so will virtual sales, with many firms planning to adopt a hybrid sales model even when our lives return to normal. Which means marketing has to change too.

A Marketing Metamorphosis

Marketing has started taking a bigger role at the front end of the sales process. According to Discovery Data, advisors now make it 57% of the way through the buying process before they engage with someone from your firm. With less involvement from a wholesaler at the critical early stages of the sales process, marketing has to morph its approach to attract advisors and keep them engaged.

Attract Attention

Think about how your firm can get noticed in the sea of product sponsors marketing to the same advisors you are. Competing products typically offer the same or similar portfolio benefits yours do.

Make a positive first impression by ditching your product pitch and focusing on how you can help advisors do their job. What problem do you solve for their clients?

Keep your messaging clear and brief. Give advisors key information so they engage with your firm.

Create a Positive Experience

Once marketers have successfully attracted advisors’ attention, it’s important to focus on creating a positive experience. Much of which centers around your website. Use it to make a powerful impression on advisors – not simply as a place to post your latest marketing material.

Evaluate your site to make sure it’s easy to quickly understand what your firm does without jargon. And create a clear information path for advisors. This is particularly important when your website is designed to appeal to multiple audiences.

Check to be sure your site functions properly with all links and PDFs current. An outdated website can give a negative impression of your firm’s ability to provide ongoing updates to advisors and their clients.

Build Trust

Part of marketing’s job is to build trust and credibility with advisors in the digital realm. Provide the opportunity for them to learn about your management team and track record.

Show advisors you’re interested in them beyond an investment. Educate them. Deliver thoughtful and meaningful insights to help them make the right choice for their clients. Act as their partner in building their business and serving their clients.

We’ll Help You Differentiate Your Firm

You can differentiate your firm by creating a positive advisor experience. Schedule a time to learn how to start that process with website improvements.

Move advisors from researching your firm to investing in it.

Schedule a time for more information.