VC Marketing: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

September 7, 2012

VC MarketingVC marketing? Does anyone really do that? Smart venture capitalists sure do.

VC marketing may sound like a contradiction in terms, but trust me it’s not. Sure, as an industry we are a little late to the game, but clever VCs are catching on quick.

Historically, VCs haven’t seen much value in marketing. And why would they? They’re not selling products. They don’t even have customers. True enough, but in a highly competitive and ever-consolidating industry, brand still matters.

Sure, some VCs have built great brands without having ever done a lick of marketing. If you happened to have invested in Facebook or Twitter, for example, you’re going to enjoy some pretty great name recognition no matter what. But let’s face it, not every VC is going to invest in companies that go on to become household names. To stand out from their peers and ensure that entrepreneurs know who they are, most VCs need to build their brand organically. Enter VC marketing.

At OpenView, we’ve built our brand through a combination of content marketing, influencer marketing, social media, and public relations. Our content is at the center of that effort and is intended to provide practical, how-to advice to our portfolio companies and the entrepreneurial community at large across an array of functional areas. We began by creating this blog in 2009 and went on to create our newsletter and content site in 2010. In the years since, we’ve evolved into a true content factory, with a content production schedule that looks like this:

  • 1 original article every day
  • 1 original video every day
  • 5 curated articles every day
  • 1 podcast every week
  • 1 newsletter every week
  • 10-15 blog posts every week
  • 2 case studies every quarter
  • 2 reports every quarter
  • 2 eBooks every quarter

For us, VC marketing means content marketing. We focus on developing practical, utilitarian content about topics like sales, marketing, finance, and recruiting, with the goal of providing useful information that expansion-stage companies need to scale. Through our influencer marketing, social media, and PR efforts, we’re able to promote that content across a wide network.

Successfully marketing a venture capital firm or any company is no small feat. You’ve got to have a lot of things in place to do so: the right people, the right tools, and the right understanding of your audience and the types of content that will resonate with them to name a few. That said, your investment in content marketing, influencer marketing, social media, and PR can pay huge dividends.

In OpenView’s case, a couple examples of those dividends include a 600 percent increase in traffic to our websites, which today garner about 45,000 hits a month. We’ve also grown the base of subscribers to our weekly newsletter to more than 14,000. Pretty impressive stats for a VC. Most importantly of all, today people across the country — entrepreneurs, other VCs, influencers from an array of industries, and more — know who we are. That wasn’t the case just a few years ago before we started our marketing efforts.

Just this week, I had the opportunity to share OpenView’s venture capital marketing story at Content Marketing World with my former colleague, Amanda Maksymiw. If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ve built our brand using content marketing, and the steps we took to do so, I encourage you to check out that presentation on Slideshare by clicking here.

The bottom line is this: If you’re in the industry and not engaged in VC marketing, you may be the (oxy)moron.






Content Marketing Director

<strong>Kevin Cain</strong> is the Content Marketing Director for <a href="">BlueChip Communication</a>, Australia's leading financial services communication firm. Before joining BlueChip, Kevin was the Director of Content Strategy for OpenView.