While it’s often lost in the euphoria of a new deal, post-deal marketing is the groundwork for future deals and solidifying a firm's presence in the market. While many in the general public (and the finance industry for that matter) are focused on exciting valuation figures, focusing on the tangible facts behind a merger is essential. Post-deal marketing is one of the best ways to build out future deals and is often a major source of missed opportunities and lost revenue for firms.
The Importance of Post-Deal Marketing
What does post-deal marketing offer? There are several opportunities that it presents. Post-deal marketing gives you the opportunity to:
- Educate on current and future services and products
- Create or maintain awareness of presence amongst portfolio companies, founders, colleagues, and competitors
- Build brand equity for making more and better deals in the future
- Reinforce or create new relationships within the industry
5 Post-Deal Marketing Strategies
There are a number of marketing strategies and post-deal marketing strategies to consider
Here are some of the most important strategies to consider post-deal.
1. Traditional Media Coverage
When embracing a post-deal marketing strategy, it’s important to be familiar with traditional methods. Traditional media coverage strategies rely on the use of traditional forms of media coverage, be they through media like radio and television, or most commonly through press releases. Press Contacts and outreach are effective means for getting the word out post-deal, and utilizing the services of a PR firm is also effective for every form of post-deal approach. While it’s always important for firms to have ongoing relationships with journalists and publications in the industry, sometimes it’s important to be your own best self promoter. A few tips when seeking media coverage:
- Journalists and industry publications need to catch the attention of readers. While a PE firm might thrive on it’s IRR, print and online publications depend on their circulation and readership. The more you can spoon feed the value and highlight the factors that are potentially interesting about your deal, the higher your chances of propagating coverage.
- Try to reach out ahead of time and consistently. Journalists and publications are often tethered to specific deadlines, so being consistent and helpful will significantly improve your chances of getting coverage. At the same time, there are often certain topics that are trending, or planned themes for a given upcoming month, which can be utilized for your benefit.
- Set up some tensions. The market implications of a new acquisition might be stunningly clear to you, but a journalist may not be aware of what impact this will have on the market. Where large valuations fail, often setting the stage of an ongoing, or nascent battle between a well known, or infamous competitor in the space can often help spark interest
- Leverage innovation. If the end result of a deal is wide reaching innovations in a space, then that can also be the catalyst for some quality press coverage.
2. Leveraging the Current Brand
Within an existing brand created by a merger or an acquisition, there is an existing network of stakeholders and potential customers. Don’t hesitate to assess and utilize those resources including:
- Many companies have marketing departments that regularly schedule advertising or send out marketing newsletters, and these email lists can be leveraged to great effect.
- Announcements on the newly merged company’s site or social media platforms become a great resource for journalists, and can also serve to amplify the announcement and press coverage.
- Leveraging the current brand is most effective for brands that are merging, and still have some semblance of previous branding. This includes rebranding to strength, hybrid rebranding, logo swapping, and junior partnership approaches. You can read more about packaging your post-deal marketing below.
3. Paid Media Strategy
Embracing the wealth of the paid media strategies available is effective for any of the post-deal approaches. Take advantage of opportunities of paid social media with:
- Boosted posts (LinkedIn, Twitter, and where relevant Facebook and Instagram). Keep in mind most social platforms help you
- Advertisements (Paid media placements in magazines, online news publications, ad display networks, and even billboards or other traditional forms of print media)
- Podcast & YouTube Sponsorships (Depending on your industry this can generate some relatively cheap exposure to a focused audience.)
- Directory listings depending on the space, sites like Reddit, Product Hunt, or Hacker News can be useful megaphones.
- Influencer sponsorships. Again depending on the space micro-influencers who are well known in your space can prove to be valuable resources.
Utilizing paid media can serve to amplify other tactics and generate a consistent omnichannel marketing push.
4. PR Companies Are Your Friend
If all of this is sounding foreign to you, get in touch with a PR company. There are many reputable companies out there that specialize in cultivating the fertile marketing ground that a new merger or deal creates. Additionally, PR companies prepare employees for imminent change and can go a long way to mitigating negative feelings with employees. PR companies work well with every post-deal approach, but they can be especially helpful during more dramatic shifts like the complete rebrand, junior partnership, and best of all worlds approach.
5. Direct Outreach is Always King
As in many things, directly getting on the phone and letting people know more about your company and what you do can be a game-changer. Direct outreach utilizes existing contact information contained within company sales pipelines, giving savvy marketing teams direct access to other companies for future deals, possibilities for relationship building within the financial industry, and more. Post-deal is one of the best times to build a lookalike list for interested future targets (based on portfolio). Direct outreach is always an effective marketing strategy, but it may be the most effective post-deal marketing strategy for the junior partnership and complete rebrand approaches to mitigate confusion.
Choosing the Most Effective Marketing Strategy
The kind of post-deal approach you’re working with will determine the most effective post-deal marketing strategy, or combination of strategies, to use for best results. The framework proposed by Merging the Brands, and Branding the Merger can be helpful for thinking about how best to positing your post-deal marketing strategy. You can break post merger grinding into 4 categories, companies typically default to:
- Backing the stronger horse - This type of deal is usually a merger with the goal to adopt the stronger brand, which can happen a number of ways.
- The best of both worlds - Like the name suggests, this category of approach aims to create a synergy between the two companies, whether it’s in terms of marketing or operations.
- A whole new kind - A complete rebrand is its own category of post-deal marketing strategy.
- Business as usual - The final category of deal and post-deal approach is: change nothing. The target company is absorbed into an existing portfolio and continues to operate as a largely autonomous unit. For this reason, fewer resources may be allocated to post-deal marketing strategy, and regular marketing may carry on as usual.
Within that there are a few options that emerge within corporate rebranding.
- Rebranding to strength - The name and symbol of the target firm are replaced by those of the lead company. When the lead company clearly has a stronger reputation, the merger can be positioned as an upgrade for the employees and customers of the less prestigious brand.
- Rebranding to weakness - The brand of the target firm brand is the stronger one, and is the one that is backed.
- Split the difference -The lead and target companies share a combined corporate name for a specified period, generally one to two years, which permits the equity of the weaker brand to be absorbed gradually by the stronger brand, but it can incur significant costs for the two rebrands.
- Hybrid rebranding - The merged company adopts the corporate name of one of the companies (typically the lead one) but adds a new symbol and logotype, with the goal to create a new visual identity for a well-known and recognized brand and send strong signals that business will continue as before while also creating expectations for something new and different.
- Best of all worlds - The straightforward agglomeration of both companies’ names and visual identities, the message is one of combined corporate strength and enhanced competencies, geared primarily toward stakeholders, customers are often largely unaffected because the agglomerated name is used only at the corporate level.
- Dual rebrand - In this strategy, you combine the names of both companies and adopt a new symbol and logotype to signal significant change and a new vision. The combined names enable a connection to the familiar, while the new symbol signals a break from the past and a fresh start. Paid media, direct outreach, and PR
- Logo swapping - In this strategy, the merged entity adopts the name of one of the companies (usually that of the acquirer) and the symbol of the other. A strength is that, although a company’s name is the dominant element in the identity of that organization, the corporate symbol often evokes strong emotions among employees and customers offers a powerful way to transfer to the merged entity the loyalty that the target company built.
- Junior partnership - One company (usually the acquirer) acts as a “junior partner” or endorser of the other corporation, with the goal to add credibility or prestige to the target brand, all while leaving its own existing equity undiminished. Brand dilution or, worse, brand confusion, is a risk which can be overcome with paid media, direct outreach, and traditional media.
- A complete rebrand - Creating an entirely new corporate identity needs a powerful message to stakeholders that this is a new business and an opportunity that is greater than could have been realized by either of the companies independently. This is the most labor intensive of the post-deal marketing strategies.
Depending on which specific post merger strategy your organization ultimately takes, it’s important to realize that the 5 marketing strategies we have proposed can likely fold within that framework, and you should give extra emphasis to those strategies as needed.
Post Deal Marketing Should Not Be Ignored
Post-deal marketing is crucial to maintaining successful relationships, and finding new opportunities. Knowing the marketing strategies and the best approach based on the type of deal yields the most effective results. Major changes tend to need more strategic marketing and PR coverage, while less disruptive changes typically need little to none. No one marketing strategy is a superior approach, but rather a combination of the different strategies combined with how your particular brand will proceed produce the best results.