The holy grail of alternative asset management – tapping into the large and diverse investor base of wealthy individuals – is finally becoming a reality. The technical challenges, around structuring a scalable investment vehicle that can invest in less liquid assets without the restrictions and complexities of traditional funds, are being solved. But this is just the beginning.
The big challenge is how to connect with this vast and disparate pool of wealthy individuals in a way that maximises opportunity and minimises risks.
Answering these questions will help to lay the groundwork for your future outreach.
1. Is your culture and brand truly integrated?
This a market where even the largest alternatives brands are all-but unknown and the investment strategies unfamiliar. Successful prosecution of a mass-market strategy will result in high visibility for your brand. If it’s not truly reflective of your culture, you will be found out.
Everything you say and do from this moment onwards needs to be viewed in the context of this new market. This only happens with a commitment and clear intent from the executive leadership.
Consider conducting a thorough review of your values – as a brand and a business – in the context of this new customer base.
2. Does your brand ethos speak to the future customer?
This culture and values work will lay the ground for your brand ethos. Again, this is not necessarily an exercise in reinvention, but rather viewing what has gone before through a new prism – in this case from the institutional to the individual.
When a product moves from niche and artisan to mainstream and scalable, keeping control of the brand becomes increasingly complex, and building a firm foundation of values and ethos is an essential investment.
3. Understand how you are seen
A mass-marketing strategy devised by arm-chair experts will not survive one second in the wild unless it has been informed by real-world input. What does your target market already understand about your market, your competitors, your brand? How do they perceive such opportunities and what type of approaches are most likely to succeed? These questions must be answered for every region you intend to market within.
4. Refine your brand, messages and market positioning
Ideally, your messaging would be internationally coherent but regionally tailored, according to local perceptions, customs and regulation.
These outputs will be applied across a wide range of media and channels (almost of all of which will be very ‘short form’ while constrained by compliance) and so these brand assets must be available to internal stakeholders in a way that is both flexible but crystal clear as to their application.
5. Identify channels to market
At the same, you should map out your routes to market. The easiest method in this context – using investment intermediaries – is also the most expensive and least attractive in the long-term. By taking the time to develop direct proprietary marketing channels will mean you ‘own’ the relationship for the long-term.
Channels include media buying and advertising; paid social; media placement and earned outreach.
6. Develop a campaign strategy
Set realistic goals and timeframes. You won’t know what works until you try it, but breaking a new market takes time and therefore patience. How much are you going to commit to success and how long are you willing to tolerate failure?
A successful marketing campaign requires momentum, and this requires a plan.
Prioritise markets and customer sub-segments.
Consider starting small and testing your messaging in specific local markets.
Time your media channels: do you want to go ‘all in’, for example with TV advertising, newspaper and magazine advertising, billboards, social, earned coverage, and proactive PR; or stagger your channels to build momentum and increase your brand awareness over a certain time period?
7. Execute, learn, repeat
Executing an international quasi-retail campaign is an operationally complex undertaking. Setting up clear, regular reporting mechanisms and channels are essential to learning what is working and where to fine-tune messaging and re-allocate resources.
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