Over the course of my career, I used to be surprised by how often I encountered investment management firms with inconsistent messaging across their library of client service and marketing materials.
Upon reflection, though, I realized that I shouldn’t be all that surprised - maintaining consistency is actually a deceptively difficult task for many reasons.
For many firms in business for a decade or more, their pitch book, RFPs, website content, and other ancillary materials have likely undergone multiple revisions. This is a good thing - thoughtful revision always makes for a stronger finished product.
The problem is, unless all materials are revised simultaneously, over time inconsistencies will naturally develop, as the creative process provides writers with new insights and fresher perspectives on how best to describe the various aspects of their business. Unless those updated insights are incorporated into all marketing and client service materials across the board, the aforementioned inconsistencies will develop.
It isn’t uncommon to see verbiage on the website that is distinctly different from that in the RFP and pitchbook, for example. I think that’s why, when I start working with a new client, realigning their messaging is usually among the first projects with which I’m tasked.
Whether it is true or not, those small inconsistencies can undermine a firm’s credibility for quality thinking. For example, if the same investment process is described differently on the website than it is in the pitchbook, is it unreasonable for a prospect to wonder whether or not a firm really has a firm grasp on its business?
Investment managers cannot afford to consider each of their marketing and client service products in isolation. Revising one product must lead to a revision of all, lest the firm’s message lose its clarity and focus.