Our thinking Quick reads In marketing, you can be too institutional
 
Fundraising, investor relations and marketing
May 2020
2 min read

In marketing, you can be too institutional

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The term “institutional” in the context of things like your operational infrastructure, financial controls and reporting, or risk management allows for very little discretion. There are very clear expectations about what is acceptable to an institutional LP in order for them to even consider an allocation to your fund.

When it comes to marketing, however, these same constraints don’t exist. While I acknowledge there is a perception about what is appropriate when it comes to how you describe or present your strategy that exists, we at Meyler strongly disagree. The industry has evolved.

Being “institutional” does not require being overly conservative, lacking in creativity, or being uninspiring.

Why?

Where in the rule book does it state that an asset manager can’t inspire?

Why do materials need to look the same as everyone else? Are there no other colors outside of blue and grey? Do non-descript, aged and poorly designed websites represent an elevated level of credibility and seriousness? I could go on.

My point, don’t let your quest to be seen as “institutional” negatively impact your marketing process. To attract the attention of even the largest allocator, your story still needs to be convincing. Differentiating yourself from your peers is still incredibly important.

Remember, you are marketing to the people within the institution, not the institution itself, and these people are no different than you or I. How enthused are you to engage in something you feel you have seen a thousand times?

And to be very clear, I am not recommending that you adopt retail or consumer facing marketing tactics. I am simply recommending that you bring life to your materials and build tools that are engaging, relevant and uniquely identifiable. Professional can be colorful. Dynamic and engaging websites are credible. There is nothing un-institutional about a well-produced video.

LPs are tired of seeing deck after deck after deck, all claiming to be “different,” but in the end, all saying the same thing. I can assure you that if you bring life, color and emotion into your marketing process, prospective LPs will welcome it and respond positively.

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