There are more things in common with managing a marketing campaign and an investment portfolio than is typically first perceived.
To excel at either, one needs to be well versed in data, analytics and deriving the optimal action insights—not just on a high level, but where the rubber meets the road. Execution that is data-driven is key to success, and even more so, swift success, a key factor of differentiation in marketing and investing.
Another shared trait is qualitative observation and analysis. This must be performed with intellectual honesty to remove the “focus group of one” effect. Marketers and portfolio managers are products of their demographics and psychographics and must be aware that not everyone thinks as they do. The ability to perceive and understand the motivations of others is a key facet of success for both.
Vision, to see what is coming, not necessity years from now, but around the corner, so as not to be locked into the present, is needed. The markets do not move the same way week to week, month to month or year to year. Yes, there are patterns, but to assume repeats is as flawed thinking as “this time will be different” which can lead to failure in marketing or investment management.
Creativity is required for both. Creative thinking is frankly required for all professions at top levels today. So much of this overlaps from the visual display of quantitative information as being able to explain complex concepts simply. My design team loves financial services as much as our mobile gaming, recycling and media clients.
Being open to constant change is crucial. In this area, I will highlight technology and data in targeting, trading, planning and placement, measurement, optimization and finally ROI. Should I present an investment example as well or do they sound enough alike?
Resource allocation comes next. When it comes to people, in investment management, one has a predictable cycle of 12 busy weeks (earnings season), followed by 12 weeks of catching up. In agency life, the ebbs and flows are more challenging. In both, the markets can change everything in a day. One real difference is that it is a lot easier to deploy new capital in liquid strategies than it is to onboard a new agency client.
Happiness, for me, is the deciding factor. I am happier structuring campaigns and bringing a new marketing and client acquisition mindset to clients than I was managing equity portfolios. I loved it (see my track record in institutional performance databases, Clear Asset Management) and eventually returned to my roots in marketing and advertising. Today, I run campaigns with the similar discipline and creativity I invested with—methodically, with great process, data, software, creativity, a measurable ROI to exceed, and with the knowledge, that the markets can throw at us at any time.
For both professions in marketing versus investment management, a quick win is essential, and having steady returns is what keeps clients for the long-term. Lastly, a positive move over one standard deviation creates a winning reputation that attracts many more clients.
We are blessed that we can turn away prospects where we do not believe we will fulfill all three. In every one in which we dive in, we say, bring on the challenge!