Digital campaigns, mobile ads and social media are getting all the attention from marketers, these days. And are clearly the wave of the future for communicating with customers.
But, for now, Global X Funds is bucking the trend with its first print ad campaign.
The company, which offers 35 exchange-traded funds and has $1.7 billion in assets under management, debuted its first print advertising campaign in July.
Although the promotion includes one trial advertisement on the Apple iPad, Global X believes strongly that the trading, registered rep, financial planning and sophisticated high-net-worth investing communities all still like-and relate strongly-to print.
"They still want to hold a newspaper or magazine and thumb through the pages," said Alexandra Levis, vice president of marketing at Global X.
But appealing to traders is only part of the Global X story, Levis said.
So, for the benefit of planners, reps and asset managers, in July, the firm began running print ads in Barron's, Bloomberg Markets and Investment News.
Global X is currently running a one-third page ad in Bloomberg Markets touting Global X's suite of commodities funds aimed at the trading community.
Quarter-, one-third and half-page ads touting Global X's SuperDividend ETF are running in Barron's, to target sophisticated investors and hedge funds, and in Investment News, to target financial planners and registered investment advisors. The Barron's ads are scheduled to run through September, and the Investment News ads are scheduled to run through December.
As part of its contract with Bloomberg Markets, Global X will also receive a banner ad on the log-in page of the Bloomberg terminal that will run for 24 consecutive hours on a date yet to be determined.
Along the way, Global X is also planning a mobile advertisement for Barron's iPad application, to run from August through October.
Global X decided to promote its commodities funds to traders and hedge funds since they resonate best with them, Levis said.
This ad, headlined, "Stake Your Claim," shows a miner raising a pick iron, and lists Global X's 10 commodities ETFs: the Silver Miners, Copper Miners, Pure Gold Miners, Gold Explorers, Lithium, Aluminum, Uranium, Oil Equities, Fertilizers/Potash and S&P/TSX Venture 30 Canada funds.
In the two publications aimed at financial planners, RIAs and sophisticated investors, Global X opted to advertise its SuperDividend fund since retirement income is a growing concern, Levis added.
"For the publications reaching intermediaries and investors, we decided to highlight the SuperDividend fund because we believe that people of retirement age or who are nearing retirement age are looking for income-producing funds," Levis said.
This ad is headlined "100 Companies. Worldwide Dividend Exposure. One ETF," with a tagline reading, "The Global X SuperDividend ETF tracks the performance of 100 equally weighted companies that rank among the highest dividend-yielding equity securities in the world."
While the ads are simple in that they merely tout products, include little copy and have straightforward, clean designs, Global X intends for all its advertising and marketing as a whole to create an impression of the firm as one that offers niche, cutting-edge ETFs that fill investment sectors not yet being covered, Levis said.
Global X also intentionally selected bright background colors and white typeface for its ads to make them stand out, particularly the partial-page ads that are surrounded by text, Levis said.
Global X develops all of its web and print ads in-house, hiring once freelance graphic designer Annoushka Owen to design everything from the print and digital to the mobile iPad ad. Accordant Media handles the media buys.
While the main reason Global X is not embracing social media is because of regulatory hurdles, the firm doesn't feel particularly compelled to start tweeting, Levis added.
Global X is not avoiding the digital world. For the last year, Global X has run flash banner advertisements promoting its funds, as they launch. Those ads have run on the websites of ETF and commodity trade publications.
The goal has been to target the trading community and to create initial excitement over the new funds, with the ads running for only two weeks, Levis explained. The eight websites are: ETFChannel.com, ETFDailyNews.com, ETFDatabase.com, ETFTrends.com, FinancialPost.com, IndexUniverse.com, KitCo.com and SeekingAlpha.com.
"These banner ads have been very successful in gaining momentum for our new funds and pushing out the news to traders," Levis said. "The idea is to start strong right out of the gate, and to accompany these ads with a simultaneous marketing and public relations push that includes appearances by CEO Bruno del Ama on CNBC-to ramp up as much enthusiasm and excitement for our funds as possible."
Occasionally, Global X also runs flash banner ads on ETF news sites to promote existing funds, such as its silver and its gold funds, that are either attracting sizeable assets or that are delivering strong performance, Levis added.
The flash banner ads appear to have worked. In the first half of this year, Global X's assets under management surged by 44%, from $1.18 billion at year-end 2010 to $1.7 billion at the end of June.
If its new campaign prove successful, the ETF provider will consider continuing with its print and mobile advertising efforts, Levis said.
More flash banner ads are coming since the company has 23 additional ETFs in registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Of these, 22 are for country- and region-specific funds, including funds targeting Greece, Portugal, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan. The 23rd fund will focus on social media, file-sharing and cloud computing providers.