Hiring an external marketing firm can be a big decision, especially for smaller asset managers or marketing departments with limited budgets. As to-dos and projects-in-progress gradually pile up, day after day, week after week, it may not be immediately obvious that additional bandwidth—in the form of outside marketing help—is needed to allow your team to focus on its core competencies. Without further ado, here are three signs it may be time to hire an external marketing firm:
1. There’s a major marketing initiative that you just can’t seem to “get around to”
It may be a revamp of the company website, a new PR campaign, an updated set of investor education materials, a blog that never seems to get updated, or some other pesky project that you just can’t seem to bring across the finish line. Whatever it is, if it’s been stuck in your inbox for months taking up valuable mental real estate, it’s probably time to get outside help. Since you’re hiring them for a specific task, external marketing firms can help bring focus and a renewed sense of urgency to stalled projects that have stubbornly resisted your team’s efforts to move them to completion. An external marketing team can also bring some much-needed accountability to overdue projects in the form of friendly nudges and self-imposed deadlines. Perhaps most importantly, external marketing firms can in many cases take the entire project “off your plate” and get going on it while you focus on more pressing, higher priority action items.
Be sure to also read Key Questions to Ask for a Successful Marketing Plan
2. Reporters aren’t returning your emails
For some reason, although you’ve been sending out press releases and reaching out to reporters on a weekly basis, there’s been very little interest from the financial press. What gives? In many cases, the answer is simple: your specialty is in asset management, not marketing and public relations. With most marketing initiatives, it can be very helpful to get a third-party perspective, but when it comes to PR this outside perspective becomes essential. In short, what is important to you as an ETF issuer or asset manager is not necessarily all that important or notable to a financial journalist. It takes experience, insights, and regular communication with the financial press to know what pitches are going to prove relevant and helpful to journalists and which ones will not. Moreover, press releases and pitches often are taken more seriously by journalists when they are sent out by PR firms, rather than the potential sources themselves.
See also The Right and Wrong Way to Create a Press Release
3. Clients/prospects have trouble understanding your marketing materials
It happens with some regularity: at the end of a presentation you’re greeted with quizzical glances and basic questions that you feel have already been addressed. Why? It’s possible that you’ve put together your entire marketing materials without having a pair of impartial eyes look them over. A common problem in the financial services industry is that asset managers are frequently too close to their own products or funds to be able to put themselves “in the shoes” of investors who have never heard of them before or may not grasp certain esoteric financial concepts. This is where an external marketing firm comes in. Marketing firms specialize in “translating” financial insider information into packages that are more easily digestible by the general investing public.
Ultimately, the decision to hire an external marketing firm comes down to bandwidth. Does your company have a dedicated marketing team that simply needs help with a specific project? Has your firm outgrown its own in-house capabilities? Great news: there are experts dedicated to financial marketing who can help take some of the stress and responsibilities off your plate. Recognizing the problem is the first step.