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Sonar marketing for alternative investment funds? Sounds interesting, but what is it?

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By Dami Oloidi, Meyler Capital

Sonar for ships: Sonar technology is used by ships to map the ocean floor. First, sound signals are sent out, via a transmitter, in the direction of the ocean bed. Secondly, the signals reach the ocean bed and bounce off whatever object they touch. Finally, they reflect back to a receiver to transform the sound signals into an image of the ocean bed.

Underwater features closer to the ship take less time to reflect back to the receiver, as opposed to features further away from the ship. This time differential is used to map the valleys and mountains ranges across the bottom of the ocean.

The concept of sonar isn’t too different from how capital raising should be done to uncover interest in an investment product. They both encompass the concept of data-driven discovery.

Sonar for alternative investments: First, investor-tailored content is sent to your database of prospective investors. Here, we need to be mindful of the need to constantly expand that database.

Secondly, the database of prospective investors interact with your content. Interactions come in the form of opens, clicks, video views, and sharing, among others. These interactions are a legitimate and accurate indicator of interest, and finally, they are reported back to you in the form of a ‘lead score’.

The same way in which sonar is used on ships to create images of the unseen, sonar is used in the capital raising process to profile interest among prospective investors.

Why does this matter? Managers have accepted the need to send out monthly updates, quarterly opinion pieces, and even host webinars. They’ve understood that investors do want a variety of opinions and valuable education on how their investments and the markets are performing. As a side note, this means that managers don’t have to reinvent the wheel when communicating with investors but can still offer investors valuable insight in relation to their portfolio decisions.

The problem, however, is that there is no real communication. The emails are sent, but:

  1. The manager doesn’t know who’s interacting with their material.
  2. The manager doesn’t call the right people. Prospective investors who are reading all of their emails.

There’s no follow-up process after an email has been sent, and that’s just not enough.

Part of that reason is because the manager doesn’t know which members of their database are most engaged.

Marketing like most aspects of the industry is heavily data-driven, there’s no doubt about that. However, for an industry obsessed with using data more effectively, it’s time to board the marketing ship.


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