While a face-to-face meeting can never be replaced by an online video call, it is imperative that we all embrace the move to the digital world. Grace Reyes, CEO at The Investment Diversity Exchange (TIDE) and speaker at SuperInvestor 2020, shares her tips to making digital work for the private capital industry.
“I’m a digital girl living in a digital world...” - Madonna
Well, those weren’t her exact words but if Madonna were to recreate the song “Material Girl” she would definitely sing it that way.
The shift to digital is inevitable and COVID has only accelerated the investment industry’s need to transition. While there are many aspects in our industry that have been disrupted, one aspect in particular is the marketing, fundraising, business development...[insert what gives the funds the lifeline to invest].
As such, it’s important for firms to accelerate their efforts to transition to digital or get left behind.
Let’s think back to how marketing was done pre-COVID. The last major in-person industry event right before the world shutdown was SuperReturn in Berlin. As one of the largest, if not THE largest LP/GP event, SuperReturn attracts a full spectrum of funds and prestigious LP’s.
While the content presented during the sessions is valuable, the interaction in-person is the main draw for attendees (and who can say no to having front row access to watch Usher grace the stage at one of the side events?)
This live experience - digital can never replace.
Fortunately, that for which digital can’t replace can be addressed and here are three ways our industry can make digital work for us.
1. Take best practices of other industries and apply it to ours
Ken McCray, Managing Director at Nuveen and a highly regarded business development professional, points out, “Industries like online dating and video streaming are great examples of industries that have figured out how to navigate the digital world. Online dating apps suggest matches that fit your target profile in the same way video streaming services recommend movies and shows based on your interest. They’ve mapped the market for you and segmented suggestions based on interest.”
Cue in SuperReturn and The Investment Diversity Exchange (TIDE), which have mastered the art of digitally creating a highly curated network of engaged LP’s who are interested in learning more about high performing funds and strategies. By getting involved with companies that are innovating and trailblazing within our industry, like SuperReturn and TIDE (subtle self-promotion here), you can get ahead of the curve.
2. Be intentional and create a strategy
Karim Simplis, Senior Product Strategist of Franklin Templeton, lives and breathes strategy. He states, “Investment firms must incorporate a digital strategy or risk leaving money at the table. Companies must adapt and leverage the toolbox of innovations that are at their disposal. Without a strategy, firms are leaving their business to chance.” No strategy - no bueno.*
3. Think long term
The relationships I have built with the most highly regarded LP’s didn’t happen overnight. It takes years and years of interaction to connect with them at a level where you’re trusted and regarded as not only a colleague in the industry, but also a friend. People want to do business with people they like. The first virtual meeting will most likely not get you the allocation that you’re hoping for, nor will the second or third meeting. Focus on establishing a long-term relationship instead of just going through the motions.
Human connection is the core of our industry. No algorithms or code can ever replace that. However, it’s imperative that funds embrace the digital world to succeed in this new environment. A shift to digital doesn’t have to 180 degrees or 90 degrees. Even a 10-degree digital shift, when done correctly, can change the trajectory of your business by 1000%.
*I’m currently in Tulum writing this article on my digital phone hence, the Spanish. Hasta luego!