The market may be slowing down in 2023, but leading firms are forging ahead and putting this "down time" to good use. One of the best ways to position themselves for post-slowdown success is to establish an investment banking marketing strategy.
Post-transaction marketing occurs when investment banks use recent wins to showcase their success, prove their expertise, and garner the attention of other companies and private equity firms they would also like to do business with. It offers banks more opportunities to create an influx of quality leads and fill their pipelines on a consistent basis.
However, today's firms are faced with a tremendous amount of competition from other investment banks as well as private equity firms. So if you want to get a leg up, you'll need to adopt the latest investment banking tools, tactics, and technologies "and fast.
In this article, we're giving firms a fresh perspective on the power of investment banking marketing as well as some actionable lessons and insider tips on maximizing ROI.
In the past, much of what we considered investment banking marketing centered around who we knew "and who they knew. Opportunities were dependent on relationships that were painstakingly cultivated over months or years. Even building strong reputations has been slow-moving, often taking decades to solidify in the public consciousness.
And while building relationships, growing personal networks, and cultivating renowned reputations are still vital components of any successful post-transaction marketing plan, they're simply not enough. In today's fast-paced digital landscape, firms must find ways to gain direct access to relevant opportunities earlier in their life cycles and reach them in faster, more personalized ways.
Fortunately, recent advancements in data and technology are reshaping investment banking marketing strategy. Rather than relying entirely on chance referrals and word-of-mouth to find deals, investment bankers can now efficiently cast a wider net by sending targeted marketing messages to relevant companies and firms at scale.
Let's dive into the four main tenets involved in a modern data- and technology-driven investment banking marketing strategy.
Companies today are in search of more than capital "they also require domain expertise from their investment partners. In turn, private equity firms have begun zeroing in and focusing on specific market sectors. This makes post-transaction marketing a much more targeted exercise for investment banks.
Rather than simply alerting networks of diverse connections about won deals, banks must find businesses in the same or similar segments as those that were recently closed on the sell-side. The same goes for identifying buy-side private equity firms. In other words, banks will have higher marketing conversion rates if they promote a healthcare company investment to other healthcare businesses and PE firms that invest in this industry.
In the past, hunting down companies with similar profiles and finding their contact information would have been an excruciatingly manual and time-consuming task with sub-par results. This is especially true for uncovering pre-transacted businesses, which are the hardest to pin down but represent the greatest number of proprietary opportunities.
Now, technologies exist that accelerate market mapping processes by automatically surfacing key data signals on private companies, companies with similar profiles, as well as highly accurate contact information for their owners and operators. These same private company intelligence solutions also make it easy to investigate recent private equity investments and firms' existing portfolio companies. This allows banks to effectively identify and market directly to highly relevant, investment-ready buy- and sell-side opportunities.
Touting a recent win can feel awkward and uncomfortable. Rather than simply publishing or reaching out with facts about a recent win, try showcasing a short case study on the deal process, or a blog Q&A with the client. "If you do it from a storytelling perspective versus from a conceptual perspective, it hits home a lot more," says Tricia Forbes, MiddleM Creative's VP of Marketing.
A similar strategy is to let someone from either the buy- or sell-side of the deal speak for you, either through direct outreach or by incorporating their testimonials across marketing touchpoints. Referrals like these have been known to generate 70% higher success rates!
Research shows that personalization is also extremely important in investment banking marketing. While there isn't enough time to meticulously craft every single message, a few personal touches, such as using someone's first name, can go a long way. Mentioning a company's recent industry award win or dropping a few PE portfolio company names are great ways to grab prospects' attention before breaking down a recent win.
While it may be tempting to highlight wins the second they happen, it's more effective to time post-transaction marketing efforts to coincide with a compelling firm- or company-related event. Consider the following examples:
For PE Firms:
Top deal sourcing platforms not only give banks access to these and other key signals, but they can also send automatic alerts when they occur.
Responding to a compelling event is a highly effective form of personalization that makes targets more receptive to hearing about recent wins by showing you're paying close attention and care about their business. What's more, these events are often indicators of investment-readiness which, if acted on promptly, can help banks reach promising opportunities much earlier than the competition. At the very least, messages like these will help you build meaningful relationships with companies and nurture them until they're ready to transact post-slowdown.
In addition to taking advantage of key moments of influence, banks should find ways to consistently promote wins across broader, ongoing marketing activities. According to HubSpot, the top 4 marketing channels used by B2B and B2C companies alike are websites and blogs, email marketing, video marketing, and social media.
It's important for investment banks to actively showcase won deals across each of these channels. When it comes to social media specifically, MiddleM's Tricia Forbes encourages firms to pay special attention to LinkedIn.
Historically, one of the most effective marketing channels for investment banks has been conferences. However, rather than attending every major industry event in hopes of expanding their networks, modern firms are using data to pinpoint the trade shows where the highest concentration of the most relevant companies will be in attendance.
Banks can advertise recent wins at these shows in industry conference agendas, as well as schedule time with top targets to share deal details in person. Roaming exhibit halls with happy founders and firms and letting them speak with prospective opportunities on your behalf is an even more impactful investment banking marketing strategy.
Positioning themselves for post-slowdown success requires firms to revisit their post-transaction marketing strategy and begin incorporating the latest data and technologies. These four keys can help "but there are many more tools and tactics firms can use to find the right companies and firms, reach them with relevant information, and accelerate deal flow.
To learn more about investment banking marketing and beyond, download this free guide, Think and Grow Different: Dealmaking Strategies for Investment Banks.