In my kick-off post back in April (the one in which I announced that DQCOMM was transitioning into a full service agency specializing in Inbound Marketing for investment managers), I quoted Brad Pitt from the film, "Moneyball”:
Adapt or die!
At the time, I was thinking solely about my firm and its next logical evolutionary step. But as things have progressed, I believe the principles behind "Moneyball" are as much, if not more, applicable to investment management marketing as well.
What is “Moneyball?”
Moneyball is a book written by Michael Lewis (later developed into the aforementioned Brad Pitt movie) that traced the adoption of Sabermetrics and advanced analytics by Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane.
Major League Baseball has essentially no revenue sharing or salary cap, so teams from major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, & Chicago (the Cubs’ history notwithstanding…) have a distinct advantage over smaller market teams, with smaller fan bases and more limited broadcasting and advertising revenues.
By adopting advanced analytics that looked at player performance through different statistics than had been traditionally used by MLB scouts, GMs, & front offices, the A’s were able to identify players whose strengths were undervalued by traditional statistical models.
The result was a playoff berth in 2002, with a payroll of $44 million. Though they lost in the first round that year, so did the New York Yankees, whose payroll was $125 million. Moneyball ushered in a new era in player evaluation and roster construction that has quickly become de rigeur for MLB front offices.
Moneyball for Investment Management Marketing
So what does this have to do with investment management marketing?
One of the key themes of the book is disruption, and how stakeholders in an old system react to new ideas and practices which threaten the status quo.
Inbound is the disruptor; the new way of leveraging technology and analytics in order to create a more effective marketing strategy.
The reality of the situation is that, irrespective of whether we are talking about institutional asset management, wealth management, hedge funds, private equity, or just about any subset of the investment management industry, Inbound hasn’t gained much traction.
And without social proof and familiarity, it has been tough for the decision makers at investment management firms to justify taking what amounts to a leap of faith required by Inbound Marketing at the outset.
It is so much easier to simply look at past performance and say, "We'll just stick with what we've always done." It is an understandable, yet terribly flawed reaction to modern marketing strategies, such as Inbound Marketing for investment managers.
(And interestingly, no portfolio manager would invest in a company whose management offered a similar response to changes in their industry. Just sayin'...)
Inbound has penetrated virtually every other industry, and has produced a sea-change in how companies attract, convert, close, and delight their clients and prospects.
Inbound is a different way of looking at marketing; one which employs novel ways of approaching clients and positioning a firm to its best effect.
It's Moneyball for marketing, and make no mistake, Inbound is coming to investment management.
It has to, given the extremely competitive nature of the industry and the value firms place on establishing differentiation from their peers.
True differentiation cannot be established simply by saying “we’re different” at an introductory meeting or conference call.
Differentiation is earned over the long term by generating content that helps your clients and prospects to solve the most pressing problems and issues they face in their professional lives on a day-to-day basis.
Because Inbound's cornerstone is the generation of content that is useful, thoughtful, creative, and relevant to clients and prospect, it would seem that Inbound Marketing and investment management marketing were made for each other.
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