Fund marketing is notably different from marketing more broadly; your author has worked in FinTech marketing for 15 years and has not once picked up the phone to have a sales conversation. In most business-to-business industries (including FinTech) marketing sits at the top of the funnel; generating awareness and educating a wide audience on the offering. At the point where a potential opportunity arises, the “lead” is handed over to the sales team which continues with a one-to-one sales conversation, discusses commercials, and closes the deal.
Not so for fund marketing. In the hedge fund industry, the fund marketing team often owns the entire funnel, from first awareness right through to closing the deal. This makes for a broad spectrum of activities requiring a variety of technologies.
Let’s take a look at the full fund marketing funnel.
The fund marketing funnel
Awareness and curiosity
This is the first time your prospective investor becomes aware you exist. This could be at an industry conference or it could be via social media or a search engine query. Although the target audience is limited, this first step is technically accessible to others – which crucially for hedge funds restricts the information that can be conveyed for regulatory reasons. This is your public presence.
Education and persuasion
Once someone is aware of your fund, you need to establish what it means to them. This includes education on your strategy and past performance. Just as important though, you also need to build a perception and a feeling of who you are. In order to dive deeper into your offering, you will need to control who can enter this stage of the funnel. This is your protected presence.
Trust and commitment
This is where marketing morphs into sales. You are still focused on education and persuasion, but on a one-to-one basis. It is much more manual, involving meetings, phone calls and individual emails, and must focus on those leads that actually warrant this level of interaction. It should always build on past engagement and be highly tailored to the individual. This is relationship management.
The dotted line
You’ve done it; they know who you are, they care who you are, they trust you and they want to invest in your fund. Hedge fund sales are complex, involving no small amount of due diligence and transactional communication. Management of this information flow – which is confidential to the prospective investor – is a vital component of the fund marketing funnel. Even where the documentation involved is highly standardised, the process can vary greatly in terms of efficiency for both the fund manager and the potential investor. This is closing.
In our recent paper – “The modern fund marketing technology stack” – we consider the technology and platforms that support each level of the fund marketing funnel. We examine the varying degrees of sophistication available, and offer suggestions for hedge funds at all stages of development. Read the paper now.