Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to review and consult on numerous investment management pitchbooks.
Most are professional, highly serviceable pieces of marketing that do what they should, and are what any potential client would expect to see in a presentation from an asset manager.
In other words, most are, at best, unremarkable; at worst, forgettable.
Investment management pitchbooks are an aid for what is, in essence, a job interview. And when an interviewer says, “Tell us a bit about yourself,” he or she doesn’t want your biography. The question really means:
Those are the questions investment management pitchbooks must address.
What are their needs, concerns, and difficulties, and how does the firm’s business help to solve those issues?
For example, does the pitchbook:
- Spell out how the firm's way of doing business adds value beyond portfolio returns?
- Does the pitchbook address any problems/issues/ philosophical misconceptions/misplaced faith in the conventional wisdom that the investment process or business philosophy solves? If so,
- Is it explicitly highlighted and discussed, or is it simply another bullet point on a page?
Based on my reading, most investment management pitchbooks fall into each of these traps, to varying degrees. But how is the best way to re-conceptualize the pitchbook to better serve the interests of the prospect?
Investment management firms must ask themselves several vital questions:
- What are some general challenges facing investors?
- What issues are specific to the type of client with whom you are meeting?
- Who is your competition and how can you differentiate yourself?
- Why are you there today? What’s the reason for your prospect’s interest? Are they diversifying? Is there an issue with the current manager? Is it “new money?”
- What sorts of issues/conflicts have they had (if any) with their money manager in the past? Have they felt neglected or disappointed by either returns or underwhelming client service?
The pitchbook should then address how the firm’s philosophy and process solve the prospect’s problems specifically and the concerns of investors generally.
Create Context, Demonstrate Self-Awareness
As I’ve noted in my writing on content marketing for investment managers and inbound marketing for investment managers, investment management firms are best served when solving problems and helping clients and prospects overcome challenges in their everyday professional lives.
Turning the tables like that can be difficult, as nearly all investment professionals are highly educated and accomplished, and thus find the temptation to talk exclusively about their past performance, philosophy, process, and so on a difficult one to resist.
But what often gets lost is the important context surrounding how they arrived at their beliefs. What challenges have they overcome and how have those experiences affected the development of those processes and philosophies?
In other words, investment management firms should be actively promoting the notion that their business, to a large degree, is based upon self-awareness and reflection.
Adhering to your discipline through thick and thin can be a great asset, but a reflexive rigidity can be myopic.
Clients need to know that their money managers are thinking about issues and concerns that perhaps even they have yet to consider. An approach such as this demonstrates a level of engagement with, and philosophical deliberation about, a firm's business that is highly uncommon in the industry.
As always, there is no shortage of places for investors to go with their money, but precious few where real value exists beyond portfolio returns.
Investment managers must thus ensure that every measure of its “value-add” is brought forth when meeting with potential clients. And one of the most important places to find these value-adds is the firm's pitchbook.
Interested in talking more about your firm's pitchbook, or looking for a complimentary critique? Give me a shout.