Looking at the Trump campaign, I wanted to find marketing tips for hedge fund managers and here they are:
- Be authentic
- Make your story essential to a targeted audience
- Create an emotional connection with your audience.
- Use joined up communication to tell your story.
- Be David.
Whether you like him or not you feel that you know what Trump stands for, every shocking thing he said just seemed to fuel the belief that he was speaking the truth, that he stands for something. He is memorable rather than bland, he sounded like he was saying what he believes, not focus grouped, not watered down, and, importantly, not trying to appeal to everyone.
And the lesson for managers – you have got to communicate your real edge. You’ve got to trust yourself. You’ve got to trust your value and don’t try to appeal to everyone. Be true to your brand.
Be relevant, essential to a targeted audience:
Trump understood the fundamental tenet of marketing: know your customers, what they care about, what will make them act. He spoke with acute awareness to the thoughts and fears of ordinary people. The success of the Trump campaign is knowing his audience.
So how do managers do this? Make sure that you’re not speaking in a vacuum. Speak to your investors ‘hot buttons’, speak to their concerns and make sure that you’re on top of how these concerns and hot buttons are evolving and changing. Develop powerful clear consistent messages which play to key concerns / issues and with a powerful slogan to sum it all up.
Create an emotional connection with your audience:
It is of course a controversial point that we have moved into an era where emotion trumps rationality. This was a major driver of the Trump campaign and it was echoed in Gove’s comment during the EU referendum campaign, ‘People have had enough of experts.’
But what does this mean for hedge fund managers? You’ve got to connect emotionally with your audience. Your design, visuals and what you’re saying has to resonate, it has to be pushing their buttons. You can no longer rely on just the pure rational and your great ideas just coming through and people taking the time to read them. You have got to be able to connect at an emotional level. Think words + pictures + actions, i.e the way that your present your story in person or via video. Words and rational arguments are not enough.
Use joined up communication to tell your story:
The Trump campaign made effective, and often free use, of all channels, he dominated the media, he was willing to take a stand on an issue and be controversial, he has over 5 million Twitter followers, 5 million likes on his Facebook page, and has passed the 750,000 mark on Instagram.
What can hedge funds do: Use multi-channel communications, email, PR, website, social media, digital ads and events to communicate insights. When you’ve got your piece of content, deliver it through email, through your website, through social media, through events, have something to say, have real insight and use all of the different channels to communicate it.
And finally, be David:
The David versus Goliath trick. Trump positioned himself as David versus the horrific, powerful all corrupt Goliath of entrenched elites and politics, and it worked.
Alpha managers don’t tell this story successfully. They are adventuring off-piste, searching for and uncovering hidden, hard to find value in many different places. They are not Goliath. They are not part of the old order. They are Davids.
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