Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

Important Questions for ETF Marketing Success

22 Dec 2020

Successful marketing plans aren’t rocket science—or even complex financial engineering, for that matter—but that doesn’t mean they don’t require some serious critical thinking. If you really want to your ETFs in front of the right people, you need to ask yourself a number of important questions in order to better focus your efforts. You don’t want vaguely-defined goals, a murky sense of target audience, or inadequate tools for the job. So read on for the key questions your marketing team should be asking to get your ETF marketing plan ready for launch day and beyond.


What, exactly, is our goal here?

Unfortunately, a common feature of unsuccessful ETF marketing plans is that the planners leap ahead to the medium itself before deciding on the goal of the campaign. You may find yourself (for example) absolutely certain that you need to put together a whitepaper or a ten minute animated video, and then work backwards from those media to the goal of the campaign. Instead, the goal needs to come first, which then dictates the medium.

In the Natural Planning Method, first described by David Allen in Getting Things Done, his famous productivity book, the idea is to visualize wild success and then move from that to concrete next actions. So it’s important to ask yourselves: what does wild success look like for your ETF marketing plan? Of course ultimately all ETF issuers want growing AUM, but beyond that, what is the step that leads to that outcome? Is it a huge amount of investors reading your whitepaper and deciding to make an allocation? Is it a large number of prestigious media placements that drum up investor interest?

Clearly visualizing wild success enables you to then carefully select the correct tools for the job. For example, if you’d like a large number of media appearances to drive investor interest, then you’ll probably want to think more seriously about the tools that enable such media appearances, namely a killer press release and—perhaps even more importantly—a complete go-to-market PR campaign that includes media outreach and media contacts.

See our Q&A about ETF PR here for more ideas on the subject.


Who is our target audience?

This question is of course inextricably bound up with the preceding question, but it merits its own considerations. All-too-often, we hear ETF issuers saying they want to market to “everybody” but of course your messaging loses its effectiveness and its meaning is diluted if you are marketing to everyone at once. By focusing on one or two target audiences (such as retail investors worried about inflation, or financial advisors interested in factor investing) you stand a much better chance of your materials actually resonating with your target audience, and moving your potential investors towards an allocation.


What tools are we going to use?

Only once you’ve identified a goal and target audience does it make sense to hone in on the tools you plan on using for your marketing campaign. The goal and the target audience in many ways dictate the tools you choose to utilize. For example, a retail investor is much more likely to respond well to simple messaging delivered via an animated video, while an institutional investor is much more likely to want to dig into the methodology of an ETF through lengthier whitepapers or blog articles.


The bottom line

No two ETF marketing plans are alike. By identifying the goals of your campaign, the target audience, and the tools you’ll use to reach them, you’ll be positioning your ETFs for boosted AUM and longevity as a successful financial product.