Top Five Year-End Marketing Considerations
The period after Labor Day is rife with opportunity to reflect on the year to date and take steps to set yourself for success at the end of the year. After a (hopefully) refreshing summer, post-Labor Day is usually when you start preparing for reviews, thinking about your bonus pools, considering whether your investment pacing is up to scratch and mapping out your forward pipeline. Some of you may be ramping up for a big year-end push at your portfolio companies or planning your AGMs in the coming few months.
Post-Labor Day is also a good time to assess your LP engagement and rationalize your strategy. Take the time to measure your successes or shortcomings to date and identify areas for course correction. Below, I have listed my Top 5 recommendations for a year-end LP engagement push:
- Annual Review: One of the things we like to do at Sixpoint is to conduct an “Annual Report” of LP engagement by mapping out touchpoints, meetings, engagement with our portfolio of GPs, and a whole host of other metrics. Go beyond simply tracking activity and organize the data in a way that is actionable. Work with an advisor to create a report that analyzes both the quantity and quality of LP interactions in order to reveal strategic insights, taking your LP engagement to the next level. Use this analysis to understand which LP types or geographies you should be focusing on more. Design your analysis to determine LP interest and fit based on the LPs program, timing, ticket size, constraints (fees, co-invest, etc.) so you can find the ideal targets.
- Forward Calendar: Following the analysis above, create a tailored strategy that breaks LP targets into tiers and assigns target dates for engagement. For example, you may have identified three foundations that you want to target before Thanksgiving and an additional four through the Spring. I would recommend identifying a minimum of 30 high value LPs that you want to build a closer relationship with before you begin fundraising. Plan your calendar months in advance and lock up an “investor relations” schedule for the Fall with different types of meetings and events (more on this below). Office visits, attending conferences and social events can all help build a broad relationship with multiple members of the LP’s team. I cannot stress enough how accretive this network effect will be when you turn your attention to fundraising. The halo effect from multiple team members being familiar with you and vouching for you can move the needle for an LP that is conflicted about whether or not to commit.
- Europe: As we have discussed in prior posts, Europe provides an attractive source of capital to GPs who know how to navigate the regulatory environment. This is a great time to turn your attention across the pond if you haven’t already. Two big conferences to focus on in the next few months – SuperInvestor in Amsterdam and SuperReturn in Berlin – can jump start your European engagement and help you get your feet wet in a new market. These conferences can also help you manage AIFMD issues that sometimes cause foot-faults among non-EU GPs. I would be happy to discuss Europe in greater depth with any readers interested in learning more.
- Marquee Event: I’ll skip the lecture on T&E and focus on this – successful engagement with LPs happens as much outside the conference room as inside it. Put your firm on the map and give yourself a truly institutional flavor by having an annual event that LPs look forward to attending (this can be planned around your AGM). These events can be flexible and calibrated based on how broad of a group you want to have attend. Golf outings, day-long cruises or shooting events are a good starting point but differentiate yourself by planning these events around unique attractions that your city has to offer.
- Timeline for Fundraising: Create a list of reasonable milestones that you want to hit before you begin fundraising, even if it is a ways away. A word of warning, however – don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Too many GPs wait for the “perfect” moment to launch their next fund, whether that be more realizations, better marks, or outsized co-investment opportunities. The bottom line: set realistic expectations so you don’t wait too long and hit the market late. Controlling the narrative while transitioning from an investor relations to full fundraising is critical and make sure you manage this properly, with or without the help of an advisor with an ear to the market.
Finally, here is a bonus tip for those of you that made it this far: Have fun. Marketing does not have to be a chore and with proper planning you can make it an enjoyable experience for the LP and for your team. Be yourself, be a real and trustworthy partner. Hit the ground running this coming Fall. I always welcome direct outreach if you have any comments or questions on the above. Have a great weekend!
Sixpoint Partners, LLC, is a registered broker/dealer, member FINRA (http://www.finra.org) and SIPC (http://www.sipc.org). Sixpoint Partners Asia Limited is licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission (http://www.sfc.hk).