Communications and Marketing companies
Venture capital firms have been investing in marketing and communications with their time and management fees for years, but recently even more are coming on board. Some even stand out as they invest aggressively in public relations for their firms and portfolio companies by hiring experienced communications professionals and well-known journalists.
Bringing on board star journalists to capture ink and airtime for both the firm and the portfolio companies could pay big dividends, boosting the firm’s brand which they can leverage in their next investment but also generating interest in its portfolio company and hopefully demand for the company’s products and eventually the company itself in a future round of financing.
Not every VC firm will be able to hire 1) the beat reporter who covered the firm for the past several years or 2) the industry reporter who knows all the startups the VC’s portfolio company competes with. So how should you maximize your marketing and communications plan if you have a modest budget and you’re relying on in-house staff to manage and maximize a marketing plan?
One of the best marketing investments VCs can make
One of the strategic marketing decisions VCs can make is to tell their story. But many firms misunderstand this by trying to impress rather than inform. Many venture capitalists who eschew any marketing at all, claim to prioritize their portfolio companies rather than themselves.
What these VCs are really saying is that the headline-grabbing style of PR is not for them. The truth is they have to be known, understood and respected to attract and make deals. That’s a strategic choice, but it doesn’t have to be a choice to go dark.
Competition for deal flow has increased, in part from increased marketing efforts from investment firms, but also from the breadth and variety of financing options available to innovative companies from pre-seed, to ad-hoc Angel Syndicates to Series-A to Mezzanine. Carefully choosing targeted media, analysts and influencers to work with, selecting the appropriate speaking and networking events and crafting the most helpful content will help firms tell their story when, where and to whom they want to, without stealing the spotlight from their investments. Having a reputation for being entrepreneurial-friendly, smart and insightful about a particular sector has much less of an impact if few of the up-and-coming entrepreneurs know this to be true, your colleagues with whom you hope to syndicate deals rarely hear about it, and LPs only get a glimpse once a year.
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