I recently ran across an article in COO Magazine that quoted a hedge fund manager who was not a big fan of public relations. The manager, who worked for a sub-$250 million fund, thought PR should be only used by large hedge funds which had the financial wherewithal to pay a PR agency’s fees. He added that the costs involved in hiring a PR agency was an “unnecessary expense” particularly for start-up funds which don’t have money to blow on high-priced PR firms.
The hedge fund manager didn’t pull any punches on his past involvement with PR. “My experience with PR is that it is a waste of time. We used a PR (agency) and got a few press releases written and an introduction to a journalist atEuroMoney, and that was it. I could have drafted the press release and Googled the contact details of the journalist and rung them myself without the PR by my side.”
I definitely see why the hedge fund executive had a less-than-satisfying experience with the PR agency. I don’t have all the facts, but based on the manager’s account, the PR agency was pretty much worthless if all it did was crank out some press releases and make an appointment with a reporter to meet with its client – all for a small fortune.
But public relations is about building a brand, not just PR folks writing press releases and begging journalists to write something about their clients. PR practitioners must offer a consistent and creative communications strategy that makes consumers want to know about and buy products or services from their clients. Media relations, which would include writing press releases and arranging journalist meet-ups, is just one tool in the PR toolbox needed for building business-generating attention. Other services might include positioning and message development, reputational audits, social media and SEO strategies, special events, media and presentation training, and thought leadership campaign to name a few.
However, I disagree with the fund manager’s idea that only big hedge funds could afford or need the services of a PR firm. As a matter of fact, I believe that smaller funds need all the PR help they can muster, giving them a fighting chance to compete with their larger counterparts in luring new investors.
If all goes according to plan, more hedge funds will be able to use PR and other ways to promote themselves when the SEC officially lifts a decades-old rule that has prohibited hedge funds and other investment advisory firms from marketing their funds to investors.
While funds will be able to only promote themselves among a limited pool of investors, the lifting of the marketing ban will enable all funds —big and small-to cast a wider net for investors through the use of PR/marketing strategies. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, hedge funds are facing a more difficult environment in raising capital. If used correctly, PR can help many of these funds build their own unique brand and ultimately a successful business.
About the Author
The author is Marc Weinstein, CEO of Spotlight Financial Marketing (www.spotlightfm.com), a NY-based marketing/public relations agency specializing in creating results-driven communications for financial services and financial technology companies.
About Spotlight Financial Marketing
It’s that time of the year again when industry conferences are all the rage. This year, Spotlight Financial Marketing will enter the fray with its own event
Spotlight will be bringing together the best of financial services and technology for its daylong event “Spotlight on Tech in the City”, held at Hogan Lovells LLP London offices on November 26th. The event’s focus will be on financial technology with broader coverage across emerging technologies in payments, fund technology, regulation and fintech sector performance. The event will be of interest to those currently serving, in one form or another, the technical, regulatory and operational side within financial markets. The event is free of charge.
Facilitating topics, among many others, covered at the event will be:
- “How is fintech evolving as a sector to support rapidly changing demands?”
- “New finance, an emerging and effective business model”
- “Understanding regulatory needs, as key drivers to overcoming the technological challenges of an evolving regulatory environment”.
To join his event, please register here: http://linkd.in/SvTgpO
For more information on Spotlight Financial Marketing: www.spotlightfm.com
For details on the event, contact Simone Reid, UK MD, Spotlight Financial Marketing:firstname.lastname@example.org