By John Tobin
Growing up a millennial I always felt like I had an acute understanding of the power of the computer and its potential use for me and as an extension, society.
As I got older I watched the computer revolutionize industry after industry but marketing and capital raising has failed to embrace this trend. So when I learned how to code I had some wild ideas about how to program my way to success in marketing alternatives and raising capital.
Sitting in the front of my mind was the thought of writing an AI similar to that of the one in Spike Jonze’s movie “Her”, except that instead of offering a lonely man companionship, this AI would reach out to investors and raise money for alternative investments. Of course we are still miles away from anything close to “Her” but the premise of using computer science to help marketers and capital raisers build relationships is very real.
As a computer scientist I constantly try to view problems algorithmically. This approach works well for some problems but catastrophically fails for others. It’s impossible to break up a client relationship into something like
1 LinkedIn request + 3 emails + 2 conference calls + 4 in-house meetings = Success.
So how could I then apply my computer science skills in a productive way? The answer is with data analytics and code that helps marketers and capital raisers build relationships smarter and more effectively.
Once you have gathered enough data you can search for patterns in the data that are indicative of the interest of potential clients.
One click in ten days? Probably not interested.
Five clicks, three video views, and three blog posts read? Strong signs of interest.
Picture this: you are an alternatives manager looking to raise money for your fund. Standing in front of you is a line of eager allocators stretching over the horizon, each one begging for the chance to invest in your fund. While this fantasy may seem like just that, a fantasy, in reality big data and computer science are creating a world where it is possible to gauge the interest of allocators and aim your capital raising efforts at them.
The large amounts of money involved in investing will always create a trust factor – so its hard to see the need for human interaction between fund manager and allocator going away, but it can be augmented with data and analytics.
A few years ago the slick capital raiser and the nerdy programmer would have seemed like unlikely allies but we are moving towards an age where they work hand in hand. Going forward there is nothing that leads me to think the role of human interaction in marketing and capital raising will ever go away. That being said, computers and programmers have tremendous amounts of potential in the capital raising and alternatives marketing space and are already changing the industry.