otis fractional investment marketing strategy

Marketing Strategies for A Fractional Investment Company: How to Sell Fine Art and Other Things That Are Not Money (ft. Otis)

Hello marketing squad, we’ve got an interesting company to strategize on today. It’s called Otis and these guys promise 1%er assets to the everyman.

Here’s what they claim on their website:

Culture is a new asset. Invest in collectibles, fine art, and physical spaces for as little as $100.

They look like a relatively new company with an Alexa rank of just 2.8 million. Simple website. Just a few marketing tools installed. Fresh.

So, before getting into the marketing nuts and bolts and assorted wires, I want to talk about the product.

This is a super complicated concept. Fractional ownership, secondary markets, uncorrelated bets… all things posted prominently on their home page. Things that people have no idea what the f**k they mean.

I understand a little bit of this because I’ve been watching the fintech space since I bought my first bitcoin in 2012. But, even with a fancy college education my understanding of this product is barely surface level.

To my knowledge, you invest in “alternative assets” like these because they do one of the following:

  1. Provide better returns than investing in the stock market
  2. Keep your wealth safe because these assets keep their value over time
  3. De-risk the dangers of losing your wealth by diversifying into a ton of items that don’t gain or lose value at the same time. So, if the sneaker market crashes and you can’t sell your million dollar Jordans, you can still sell your million dollar sculpture.
  4. Serve a dual purpose of storing wealth and having cool sh*t that you like (art, for example)

But… none of this is really mentioned on their website.

They promise a minimum barrier to entry of just $100, but does that market segment even understand or what what they’re selling?

This brings me to my first point about the market. They need a strong enough value proposition about what customers are buying. And I’m not seeing it here.

“Earn better returns than the S&P 500”

“Invest your savings in your favorite art and withdraw your money at any time”

“Keep your money safe from a banking meltdown”

These things provide real value to the buyer. And I’d like to see something like this featured as their main selling point. “Investing in culture” is something that rich people do who have too much money… not your average Joe.

Moving on.

I suspect the lowest hanging fruit for acquiring users is going to be promoting their various assets to enthusiasts of that asset class.

Here’s what I mean.

If they purchase a big sneaker collection, promote the hell out of that to sneakerheads!

If they purchase a renewable energy farm, promote the hell out of that to environmental warriors!

The name of the game here is capturing money that would otherwise go into bank accounts and Wealthfront/Robinhood/Acorns/Coinbase accounts.

So to this end, they should leverage the “interesting factor” of their assets. Investors are not just purchasing a store of value. They are buying something interesting.

Alright. Let’s move onto some channel strategy.

The first area I’d like to see these guys hit is Google Ads. I imagine there’s some search volume for people looking for services like this and that’s the easiest way to find ’em. There might even be some search volume for “fractional ownership in x” keywords for specific assets.

The second area I’m looking at is Facebook ads. Since they’re going after a specific demographic here, Facebook is a great channel. i.e. Making enough money to invest it but not enough to be mega rich. I suspect there are some profitable ad funnels for different subsets of this demographic as well. For example, single guys making 100k – 500k. Or, couples with no children in their 30s and 40s. Worth testing.

The third area, is platforms like Outbrain and Taboola. I bet with the right content, they could get super low CPCs for people interested in these “alternative investments”. They could probably find some cool stories of people who made money on alternative assets, as well. The headlines practically write themselves… “Sneakerhead makes $1.7 million on Nike Collection”, etc. etc.

Fourth, and this is an obvious segway from Outbrain: content marketing. There are some informative keyword angles to be found… but I think the main angle here is more social. Hire creative writers who can tell really good stories that talk about the assets Otis owns. As well as crazy stories of alternative assets. This is the top of funnel move if you want someone to invest in what you own. Make your audience connect with the assets. If they buy into the story behind the portfolio, you don’t need to sell them on the service. They will already want in.

Fifth, referral programs. This is a staple in modern fintech apps and the reason why companies like Robinhood, Wealthfront, and Coinbase have grown so quickly. Offer a small piece of certain assets in exchange for signing up friends. With this play, I think these guys will easily see a K factor greater than 1. For example, Robinhood offers “free stocks” if you refer a friend and they sign up. Otis could offer “free shares in an asset of your choice”, or something similar.

Sixth, PR. There are a lot of interesting story angles here but I think the biggest one is the message of offering investment strategies of the 1%, to the masses. That’s the kind of story that everyone loves to write about. I’d love to see some media pitches to get on blogs, publications, news outlets, youtube shows, podcasts, and even daytime TV. I think it could go far.

Seventh, podcast advertising. Seems like an obvious fit for podcast audiences with the right demographic cut to their jib. For example, podcasts with a well-educated and relatively wealthy audience. And, podcasts related to finance. There are some huge finance podcasts out there that would be no-brainers for some ad space.


Also published on Medium.

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