10 Do's & Don'ts of Alternative Marketing

By Peter Murrugarra
Co-Founder, Cadena Investments
Co-Founder, ClearVest Advisers

Founder, Inti Capital

Peter Murrugarra is the Founder & Managing Member of Westport, CT-based Inti Capital, LLC, an investments & due diligence advisory group.  A sought-after expert on matters regarding investment & operational due diligence, portfolio construction, and the evolution of accepted best practices for emerging managers, Peter has worked with clients ranging from institutional risk management consulting groups and fund of funds to select emerging managers.  Peter continues to engage the community and is sought after in publications such as the CFA Journal and various panels & speaking engagements at industry conferences.  Peter is also Co-Founder & Head of Due Diligence of ClearVest Advisors, LLC, an alternative investment platform leveraging technology to ease the process around accessing alternative investments for independent wealth managers & their high net worth clients. A unique fiduciary construct allows for advisors to benefit from the expertise & experience of the highly regarded senior team, addressing issues around sourcing, due diligence & research, compliance & regulatory concerns, an electronic subscription process, and delivery of investments in a singular manager access format or bespoke diversified alternative investment portfolios.  Peter’s unique background blends hands on experience with the evolution of the alternative investment industry, financial technology, and the unique problems & applications in how they apply to established & emerging managers, and different investor groups.  As the industry evolves, Peter continues to engage at the forefront of alternative investments -  as an advisor to Atilma Group Consulting and BitBull Capital, in addition to being an advisor & mentor to Fairfield University’s StartUp program and Boston University’s BUild lab.

1

Do

Consider as part of your marketing, transparency and trust are of utmost importance, whether you are an emerging manager or an established bellwether manager.  Increasingly, investors want to know what their funds are investing in.  In some cases, they are even investing side by side on select deals.  This still fits in line with keeping elements of the “secret sauce” secret, but fosters a path to identifying investors that may also be partners in some select, but increasingly more common scenarios.

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2

Do Not

Leave a 10-minute voicemail going over the highlights of your strategy, performance and so on.  An allocator’s time is increasingly compromised.  A quick soundbite is all that is needed with your contact details.

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3

Do

Thought Leadership. Take action on building your web presence here.  Private investments are generally restricted to qualifying investors prior to sending out materials.  This is a different way to get awareness of your existence out there. Find your messaging niche and have it available on your website and/available on LinkedIn.  But don’t overdo it, manage your exposure effectively.

 
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4

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5

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6

Do Not

Once you get the opportunity to connect with an allocator, do not ask about “my email I sent last Tuesday at 8:32am which shows that you opened and read it”.  Facilitate and be friendly with gentle reminder.  Over 1000 new funds launch in any given year in hedge funds alone, an allocator may get anywhere from 2-400 emails a day.  It may not be true in theory, but an allocator can easily move on to the next opportunity.

Do

Craft your story. Find your story that you can connect your audience with.  Are you another Long/Short Equity manager who focuses on “GARP” or a “Warren Buffet” style approach to equity investing?  There are over 5000 other funds that have the same message.  Why are you different?  How are you different?  

Do Not

Take up significant time when having the opportunity to meet an allocator at a networking event.  I have personally seen and experienced where a salesperson is pitching their fund later on at night, with the allocator simply looking to exit the conversation.  Tell the story in a brief manner, tie in some personal banter, whether it is about yourself “My kids would have loved to be here in Florida with me, do you have kids?” and then end the conversation after exchanging cards.

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7

Do

Consider the kind of assets that are coming into your strategy/fund.  Not all assets are the same, and may exit at the first sight of a drawdown.  Also, consider what kind of questions you may have to answer one year, three years and five years down the road.  Anything that takes away significant time from the message and strategy you are marketing, even if it’s only ten minutes, is ten minutes taken away from your story  

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8

Do not

Reach out to an allocator during the weekend, especially if it’s their mobile, unless you are actually good friends with them.  This has happened many times over the years, I have both experienced and heard of these stories.  They never paint the salesperson, and by default, the fund in a good light.

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9

Do

Public relations continue to be an under-utilized area by alternative asset management firms.  Why not make yourself stand out as an extension of your messaging, whether it’s a new thought piece, key new hire, and so forth?  Make sure you work with a PR group that is tuned into your target audience

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10

Do Not

Assume that your strategy is the ideal fit for every allocator.  Allocators are fiduciaries to their end clients, and need to ensure that the portfolios they construct meet the goals of their underlying clients.  But this can lead to a DO.  Learn what they are interested in, you may have a friend in your network that fits what this investor is looking for.  Benefits of such a relationship may not end in a direct allocation right away, but it could lead to an investor introduction to a group who may be looking for your strategy right now.