A Little Marketing Secret That Every Alternative Fund Needs to Know

Here is a secret that most of the alternative fund marketing community fails to grasp: above all, content is king. The aesthetics of a presentation matter, but it has to say something meaningful as well. Marketing that falls into the category of “looks great but doesn’t do a thing for my income statement” is an unwise use of your valuable resources. Here is what your content strategy should do in order to be effective.

Reflect Cohesion

Good content is cohesive between all functions of the company. The three major functions in an alternative fund company that must join together are sales, marketing, and portfolio management. Sales represents the person who does the hand to hand combat of forming a relationship with the prospect. Marketing people produce the branded images and words that constitute the product’s commercial personality. Portfolio management is the product itself.

There has to be agreement in order for the presentation to be effective. For example, if your portfolio management is talking about investing in tobacco stocks because they generate great dividends and your marketing team is calling your firm the environmentally friendly hedge fund, that will be confusing for the prospect.

Any divergences between these groups and the messaging becomes scattered. This distracts the prospect and when that happens the result is hesitation, doubt, and uncertainty, all of which stall the deal.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Your content should reflect the opportunity at hand and should be as current as possible. In the present day, why is your fund the best possible place for their capital? Not in the past, not in the future, but today.

You have to be careful not to push this too much or you can trigger a compliance violation. Make sure you do not come off as trying to predict the future.

Show the investor what your vision of the future is and the circumstances that would lead up to the concept becoming reality. Express the likelihood that this will happen. Then explain why it makes sense to participate in the investment you are pitching at the current moment, and what the consequences of waiting may be.

Do Not Dump

Alternative funds tend to make the mistake of backing up the dump truck and piling all the information on the prospect at once in high volume. Yes, you are passionate about your long/short strategy, we get it, but do not expect the prospect to be interested in anything more than what it can do for them.

It will be too much work for them.

Give something time consuming to a busy allocator who is getting bombarded with phone calls and emails and they will never get through it. The list of things that need their attention is too long. Sorry to break it to you, but your fund is not that important to them.

Think of the most successful person you know. Are they verbose and rambling? Are they emailing attachments to you leftand right? No. The most successful people I know would communicate in two word sentences all day if they could.

The truth hurts, but the successful marketers understand that you have to get the most across in the littlest time, and they make it happen.

In other words, give them the summary version not the detailed version. If they want more information, they will ask.

I have seen sales people send the marketing deck, last 6 months of monthly commentary, private placement memorandum, limited partnership agreement, and the subscription documentation in the follow up email after the first meeting. Mistake! Way too much too soon.

Do you know how desperate this makes you look?

The hope that one particular message or detail will strike a chord with an investor is a mistake. Give them too many options, and they will feel overwhelmed and do nothing. Offer just enough information so that the prospect will feel compelled to learn more.

To make an analogy: this is a date, not a marriage, until they sign the contract. You would never want to tell your life story on the first date, so why would you do so on a sales call?

Throw the Competition Under the Bus, But Do It Nicely

Keep in mind that when investors talk to you, you are not the only alternative fund they are speaking with. Make it easy for them by outlining, very clearly, what makes you different from the competition. Never bash the competition by name but feel free to describe why your investment process may be more effective.

Clean Up Your Digital Footprint

Alternative funds have shunned social mediaas a matter of habit. This is all changing gradually over time, but at the present moment social media is overlooked and underutilized by the alternative fund industry.

That does not mean, however, that your social media should look like a chaotic mess. Your website, personal LinkedIn profile, company LinkedIn profile, and Twitter feed should all be consistently branded. And by the way, this should all be consistent with your email signature (highly overlooked) because this is what people see most frequently and many times is the first aspect of the company’s brand that a prospect experiences.

Is your LinkedIn profile updated, does it have a professional picture of you or is it you and your buddies hanging out in Cancun last spring? Does your website have broken links or obsolete news? There is nothing more telling that your website is a graveyard (and hence not worthy of much of the prospect’s attention) than old company news or outdated information. Does your personal Facebook page show unsavory photographs of you that were not intended for a professional audience? What happens if you Google search your own name?

If you do not pay much attention to your social media and website, do not expect a prospect to either. Even if you are not using it to actively solicit prospects, people do check you out once you get their attention. Take a little time and clean it up.


Do you feel like nobody is responding to your pitch books? Maybe one of the factors I have mentioned above has something to do with it. Comment below or email jessica@karmankreative.com for my opinion on what you may be doing wrong with your content.