Today, our group visited NATIXIS Global Associates. NATIXIS is a Mutual Fund distribution cooperation that runs worldwide; they are basically a wholesale seller of investments. Between funds and revenues they operate a budget of approximately $900 Billion per year. We spoke with Dan Lynch, Senior Vice President of Distribution; Chris Hunter, Vice President of the Boston branch; Susannah Wardly, and Leslie Walstrom, both Senior Vice Presidents of Marketing, International and Domestic, respectively.
With regards to the science of shopping, they all spoke to the methods by which they convince potential buyers to utilize their firm. A personal touch is a huge factor in this sort of marketing, and everyone at Natixis aspires to know their clients as more than a name on a computer screen. After asking us all about our hobbies, Dan Lynch singled out Dave McGrath as an example: he liked to snowboard. "I would talk all about carving through deep powder, and holding an edge through the trees, and the feeling of the snow on my face," he said "and next thing you know, you would walk out with a mutual fund."
They went on to describe the difference between a factual and an emotional appeal to buyers. While most serious investors focus more heavily on the raw data of a fund's success, the emotional image of the firm still plays a huge role. This effect has, according to Chris Hunter, magnified with the economic downturn: buyers in this market want to invest in a company they feel projects an image of reliability, especially in such turbulent times.
Later that day, we headed to TJX Companies, which operates TJ Max, Homegoods, Marshalls, and several other "off-price" retail centers, in order to examine the effect of advertising to a more tangible product.