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Alternative Market Briefing

The unknown journey and the changing face of the investor: a marketing challenge

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Paul Das
B. G., Opalesque Geneva:

Paul Das runs a funds digital marketing firm in London called ProFundCom. A veteran in the field, his expertise could not be more relevant as it is this year when face-to-face meetings have taken a back seat and the search for assets is moving to the digital world.

He speaks to Opalesque about the digital marketing challenges and the changing landscape where the fund investor journey has become unknown and the face of the investor is metamorphosing.

Paul Das will be presenting in the upcoming two-part webinar workshop called, Eight ways investment managers should be using digital marketing right now, taking place next week.

Opalesque: What are the challenges in digital marketing?

Paul Das: I suppose, with digital marketing, that the challenge is really that the investor journey is completely digital now.

In the past, you would go to fund forums, to GAIM, to your Rolodex, send out a few emails, have a few conversations, meet at the polo club… that was the way selling was being done. But the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital marketing.

Opalesque: You also say that the investor journey is totally unknown. Can you elaborate?

Paul Das: Are investors coming via the website, are they coming via social posts, are they attending a webinar, are they attending a one-to-one meeting, are they part of an inbound or outbound marketing campaign, are they engaging with emails, with fact sheets. We just don't know. And it's almost at the point where even due diligence will be on a digital channel. Ultimately, that is the challenge people are facing.

Opalesque: The other challenge, you say, is that the investor has changed.

Paul Das: The investor is now potentially faceless - you don't know where they are coming in from. Furthermore, the investor is more complex - they may be more interested in outcomes than benchmarks; the investor is more demanding - they are used to digital commerce for example; the investor is busier - they may have less staff for selection and building and monitoring; and the investor is diverse, so one size won't fit everybody. Finally, the investor journey is non-linear.

These two elements are really challenging - the investor journey that is unknown, and the investor who has changed - if you are in fund marketing.

Opalesque: So what can managers do?

Paul Das: Most managers say, 'what we will do is double our sales team, double our marketing team because if we do that, we will get more assets through the door.' What actually happens is that they do not double their AuM. What they do is increase costs and lose profitability.

When we talk to managers, the question we ask them is, 'how many of you are using digital analytics within your CRM to help your sales.' Only 17% are. The marketing team has the data somewhere but they don't know what to do with it.

Furthermore, as this famous quote says, 'you can't out-Blackrock Blackrock'. The money will go to the big managers anyway. So ultimately, we're fighting for crumbs.

Opalesque: How do you stay relevant, how do you not get left behind?

Paul Das: A more important question is, how do you have the best processes to pull all this information together.

The four pillars of information that are critical for a manager are, one, what is your low-hanging fruit - that is, who are the people who are actively engaged with you that you haven't spoken to.

The next pillar of information is, what are your cross-selling opportunities. Who are the investors in one fund that are looking at the information of another fund.

The third pillar is what we call marketing alpha. It is what is done in the last thirty days that have made people who have not engaged with you suddenly start engaging with you.

And finally, what is your redemption risk. Which investors have stopped accessing fact-sheets and the investor portal. That is my view on the world of digital marketing.

Opalesque: You've run your digital marketing company for 17 years. Have you seen an uptick in customer requests lately?

Paul Das: Absolutely. It is understanding that more and more managers have realised their solutions are just not fit for purpose. They only work across one channel such as Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Constant Contact; it only gives them one dimension of data. And because the investor journey is so diverse, they just don't have the time, the skill, the resources, and tools to process that information in a way that does not take them from their day job. The risk is, you end up becoming a programmer. That's where we come in.

Upcoming webinars:

Eight ways investment managers should be using digital marketing right now
Part I: Monday, Dec. 7th at 10.30 a.m. EST
Part II: Thursday, Dec. 10th at 10.30 a.m. EST
REGISTER (free) HERE: www.opalesque.com/webinar/

Related article:
19.Nov.2020 Opalesque Exclusive: Eight ways investment managers should be using digital marketing right now

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