Marketing an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for brokers – Guest Editorial

By Bart Burggraaf, Managing Director and Partner, MediaGroup London

A broker planning to do an IPO has many things to consider to ensure everything goes smoothly, not the least of which are marketing and communication around, during and after the event. Not communicating effectively can ensure less interest from shareholders as well as not fully utilizing the potential client acquisition benefits that an IPO offers.

So to jump right in, when it comes to the IPO, a broker has two audiences from a marketing point of view; shareholders and potential clients. For the purpose of this article we will focus on the advertising/marketing side of things and leave day to day Investor Relations and the Roadshow out of it, but suffice it to say that’s a whole other world of communications that needs to be looked at by companies looking to IPO.

So how to make the best of an IPO from a marketing perspective?

As mentioned, the goal of IPO marketing is to influence potential shareholders and clients. We want to convince potential shareholders the company is worth investing in, and we want to leverage the IPO to increase client acquisition.

While the ‘Dog and Pony Show’ (roadshow) can serve the purpose of influencing potential investors (both for retail and institutional), advertising and marketing in general can certainly support such efforts. We want to convince them of the strength of the company, inspire trust, and educate them about the offering without getting into as many details as a broker would in marketing to potential clients. In other words, we want to do a ‘branding’ campaign.

Companies should be using consistent, simple, high-end brand messages and creative without being too ‘corporate’ in their approach, a difficult feat that requires working with the right creative partners.

And, given the fact that our main goal is to influence brand association and awareness, it is of vital importance that the media selected for this campaign positively reflects on the brand – the medium is the message. Think Sponsorships, financial TV, high end financial print publications and high end online finance publications.

The campaign supporting an upcoming IPO can be started as soon as the plans are made, we don’t have to reference the IPO in the communication and instead can focus on building the right type of awareness to start with.

When the IPO is announced, communication can focus on the IPO itself and support roadshow communication. The potential (retail) shareholder audience is in many ways similar to the multi-asset brokers’ potential clients, so a nice side-effect of this kind of promotion is that it will serve the purpose of client acquisition to some extent as well.

When it comes to leveraging your upcoming IPO to improve client acquisition, it’s recommended to include your exchange listing in all your communication, in a similar way that FXCM does, on your website and in ads, to inspire the trust that comes with being a transparent, exchange listed company.

Besides this inclusion of the exchange listed talking point, it’s a good idea to run an ongoing brand oriented campaign that runs besides your baseline direct marketing campaign in order to continue positively affecting brand attitudes and awareness. Many of the mentioned tactics for shareholder communications apply here as well.

This is a Guest Editorial which was compiled by, and represents the views of, Bart Burggraaf, Managing Director and Partner, MediaGroup London

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