Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

ETF Issuers: How to Get Your Ducks in a Row for Launch Day

18 Oct 2017

As a new or existing ETF issuer, launch day is the day when all of your carefully-laid plans, all of your hard work, begin to bear fruit—at least in theory. Your fund is now out in the wild, available for investors to buy or sell as they please. If things go the way you’re hoping (and, fingers crossed, they will), your public relations and marketing blitz will go off without a hitch, your fund will begin to garner more and more assets, gain admission to wirehouse platforms, and before you know it you’ve got a cash flow-positive, profitable ETF on your hands!

But not so fast; you’ll need a plan first. Specifically, you’ll need a sales and marketing plan—the two go hand-in-hand. Although your ETF may very well be an incredible product, unfortunately it will not sell itself, especially in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Your marketing materials should be built to support your sales initiatives.

Ask yourself: who am I marketing to, and what will make them sit up and take notice?

By answering this question, you’ll begin to shape the overall “messaging” of your fund, which will inform the parameters of the rest of your marketing initiatives. If you’re marketing to a more sophisticated audience, perhaps they respond better to technical, highly-detailed whitepapers; if it’s a more “retail” audience, then you may be better off with infographics or animated videos. Materials produced in an educational tone tend to work best, as investors have become increasingly suspicious of overtly “salesy” collateral.

Related: Why ETF Issuers are Marketing Companies

You should also think carefully about where your marketing materials will “live.” Will they be primarily available in online format, will they accompany your sales people to meetings with financial advisors, or will they be handed out at industry conferences? Perhaps the answer is “all of the above.” If this is the case, it’s possible to repurpose an existing marketing project for different settings, leveraging some of the upfront creative work you’ve already done.

As launch day approaches, your marketing materials should be written, designed, and compliance-approved. A last minute scramble to complete a project is usually not a recipe for a high-quality final product.

In the final month before launch, there are a few key items that should be on your radar. Chief among them is your fund site’s data feed. Your data feed is key to launch day success, as a faulty one can delay an IPO. This should be tested and re-tested multiple times before launch day, so your launch goes off without a hitch.

You should also let Google, Yahoo, and Bloomberg know about your ticker so they can add it to their respective databases and/or terminals. This small detail can be critical to gaining momentum on launch day.

If you’ve done everything right: gotten your marketing materials in order, coordinated with your sales team, double and triple-checked your data feed, and notified the various databases of your ticker’s impending debut, there’s just one thing left to do. It may sound obvious, but on launch day, be sure to get into the office early. If any of your careful preparations failed to identify a problem, it’s better to deal with it an hour before launch, instead of five minutes.