Private equity marketing services encompass a broad range of activities that include but extend beyond traditional advertising and promotion. Gone are the days of hiring a marketing agency and hoping they have everything under control. Why? Because in an economic climate like ours in 2023, investors cannot afford to hire agencies on auto-pilot and expect them to "bring in the customers". Now's the time for more accountability for marketers and investors, so PE companies can "make more with less".
This article is brought to you by the team behind HireCMO - marketers who care way too much about private equity firms and the companies they acquire. Anyways, let's dive in.
Private equity marketing services are tailored to meet the distinct requirements of the PE sector and its diverse audience, which includes investors, portfolio companies and other parties.
A key task in private equity marketing is designing persuasive investor presentations, which are crucial for attracting and retaining investors. These presentations need to clearly convey the value proposition of the investment opportunity, backed by reliable data and compelling narratives.
Other tasks include producing thought leadership content, which involves creating insightful articles, reports, or whitepapers that highlight the firm's expertise and industry knowledge, thereby enhancing its credibility in the market. This is tougher than it sounds. For the average PE firm, this means bringing together the PE partners and encouraging them to promote their thinking on their Twitters, Substacks and LinkedIn articles - and this isn't everyone's cup of team.
Yes. Not everyone wants to be an influencer, even in 2023. Surprise. And so it's up to PE firms to be creative about still getting the word out about the firm does, their thesis, the kind of companies they love to acquire, all the while keeping their brand strategy aligned.
But you can relax a bit. There's tactics that don't involve your venture capital investors / partners needing to be influencers.
Private equity marketing services also involve search engine optimization (SEO), where the aim is to increase the visibility of a company's website content in organic search on major search engines like Google. This is critical for inbound leads.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on online platforms can be an effective avenue for lead and revenue generation, particularly for businesses with e-commerce models or powerful offers to drive inquiries. But please don't go blindly publishing ads on social media with extremely high CPCs (cost per click). My team at HireCMO will take care of you - in fact, if you're part of a venture capital or private equity firm, we'll do a free-of-charge 60-min consultation just for you! Just book a call with us directly or just head over to our homepage and submit your email - whatever's your style.
Email marketing is another tactic that's used to generate leads or revenue, as well as to strengthen customer relationships and build brand awareness. But obviously you'd want to be mindful of who you're emailing, and what value (every PE firm's favourite word) you're really providing. So if you have an email list for investors, maybe they want to hear more about your thesis, investment memos and startup investing / acquisition trends they should keep in mind. Send that same email to a $50M AAR SaaS, and you might never hear back haha. Kidding. Point is, the value you provide must target what the recipient cares about.
Retargeting, a form of online advertising, targets people who have visited a portfolio company’s website, leading to high conversion rates due to the existing interest of these individuals. This is highly caveated, and if you're an analyst at your PE firm, honestly just call us. You're much more likely to lose money on subpar results, if you try venturing (pun intended) out on your own!
Offline marketing services, such as creating high-quality printed materials and trade show graphics, can also be an important part of the marketing strategy. But you'll want to be where your target audience is. So are you trying to attract founders whose companies you want to acquire? Or are you trying to be where your investors spend the most time, so you can gain their trust and show off your chops. Lots to think about.
But as my favourite quote from Abraham Lincoln goes:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
When choosing a private equity marketing agency, it's important to find a partner that combines marketing expertise with a deep understanding of the private equity landscape.
(Ahem. Us. HireCMO.)
The agency or partner should be familiar with the nuances of your PE business, the challenges it faces, and the solutions it provides. Nothing new here. But your PE firm is different from a B2B SaaS company and so are the incentives/motivations of the different parties within your firm. Just make sure your marketing partner-in-crime appreciates the depth of this.
A wide range of services, including branding, digital marketing, content creation, and investor relations, should be on offer. Moreover, the marketing agency (or fractional marketing partner who are more effective) should have a track record of successful private equity marketing campaigns and a ready-to-go team that can align with your firm's vision and objectives.
Services offered by them may include advertising strategy and development, alternative investment marketing, corporate identity development, investment branding strategy, public relations, publications, sales and marketing materials creation, web design and development, and economic and investment commentary. The list goes on, but you need to decide with their help - what strategies should you test/deploy, and what objectives should they drive?
Let's flip the table around and talk about the other side. Say you're working in the private equity space and you want to take a gander and maybe just do marketing for PE firms full-time.
I mean, why wouldn't you want it? With your months (hopefully years) of experience running private equity firms and seeing the good, the bad and the ugly, you might just have an edge! The big, big, big problem is this though.
You might know the technicalities and the art of how PE firms function. But that only helps you fully (very nicely) nail down the basics of marketing (who's it for, who are we attracting, what are we selling, what's our objective). But marketing itself is its own beast!
Careers in private equity marketing present a unique blend of challenges and rewards, requiring a balanced mix of financial acumen, marketing creativity, and interpersonal skills. Roles range from the marketing director, who shapes the firm's brand strategy, to the content specialist, who crafts compelling investment narratives.
These positions offer the opportunity to work at the forefront of financial innovation, contributing to the growth of firms that drive businesses across multiple sectors. And so you'll have to figure out your path forward. Some questions to ask yourself:
Terribly short list haha. But please be mindful that it does take a while to get good at marketing. We know because we built HireCMO.
An effective private equity marketing strategy should serve as the foundation of whatever you're trying to accomplish at your PE firm. My mom always said, if you're failing to plan then you're planning to fail. Fancy way of saying, don't walk blind. Follow a path.
This strategy should include a clear definition of your target audience, a well-articulated unique value proposition, explicit goals and KPIs, a thoughtful content strategy, and appropriate selection of marketing channels.
The most successful private equity marketing strategies are data-driven, customer-centric, and adaptable, ready to pivot in response to the ever-changing financial environment. But you already knew this!
They focus on building credibility, fostering trust, and ensuring the right message is conveyed to the right audience at the most suitable time.
That being said, we've still provided some bullet points for you to get started. This is by no means a comprehence list.
As with any marketing strategy, the first step is defining your unique selling proposition. What sets your firm apart from the rest? It could be your investment philosophy, your team's expertise, or your successful track record. This USP should form the core of your marketing message.
Remember, it's not just about differentiating yourself; it's about making a compelling case for why an investor should choose your firm over others.
In private equity marketing, knowing your audience is critical.
Develop comprehensive investor personas based on your target investors' demographics, interests, investment goals, risk tolerance, and more. This data will help you tailor your marketing message, choose the right channels, and create content that resonates with your target audience. And as you know, at its core, private equity is a relationship business. Building and maintaining strong relationships with investors, advisors, and industry peers is vital. These relationships can be nurtured through regular communication, personalized outreach, and providing value beyond the investment itself.
Throughout my entire career, I've noticed that founders go where investors are, and investors go where founders are. And so if you do not have a strong digital presence, why would anyone or care about you? Especially, if you haven't had a track record?
Considering the contents of the first half of this article (if you have been reading hah) you must ask yourself which marketing acquisition channel is best fit for how YOUR firm is positioned.
Taking an example from the VC world, HustleFund has a very specific image on Twitter. They are funny, happy and always glowing with enthusiasm. And with their recent contributions to Angel Squad, they leverage content marketing better than most in the VC space.
But the question is, does your brand align with their happy personality? Are your investor partners all over 50 years old and prefer to be more discreet? Hmm, then maybe content marketing and twitter posting shouldn't be your style. Perhaps you're more of the old-school "lets have lunch and do trade shows". And that's fine. But make sure to stay accountable to your KPIs. Or just ask your marketing partner.
Finally, remember that marketing is an iterative process.
As a competent marketer, you must measure the effectiveness of your plans on a regular basis and make improvements as needed. This is true for both you and the marketers you hire. Nobody can get away from this!
This feedback loop will allow you to fine-tune your strategy, optimize your marketing budget (fancy way of saying you'll get better at spending less dollars and getting more out of it), and ensure that your marketing activities are aligned with the objectives you want to drive (e.g., more funding, more acquisitions).
And lastly, remember, private equity marketing isn't about selling—it's about storytelling. It's about crafting a narrative that encapsulates your firm's vision and values, and sharing that story with the world so that investors and founders gravitate towards you, rather than the other way around. It's literally called inbound marketing haha.
So - tell your story, engage your audience, and build the trust and credibility that are the cornerstone of success in the private equity world.
In the words of Peter Drucker,
"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself."
So, embrace the challenge, dive deep into your audience's needs and desires, and let your firm's value proposition shine. Happy marketing! And oh btw, drop a line anytime. We love private equity folks :)