RidgeWorth Investments is milking the success of a long-running series of dairy ads with its new marketing campaign that cheekily asks, "Got Mid-Cap?"
The point: Funds that invest in mid-sized companies are often overlooked in portfolio construction. But mid-caps have outperformed large-caps and small-caps over the past three decades-and are a timely investment as the economy continues to gain strength,
"Mid-caps are an overlooked asset class. They are not well-owned," said Jim Stueve, president of RidgeWorth Investments. "But we believe mid-caps present the best of both the small-cap and large-cap worlds. Mid-cap companies are in a growth phase and can provide the upside of small-caps, but with lower volatility than large-caps, as measured by standard deviation."
The campaign, created in-house in March, is scheduled to run through the end of the year.
Revolving around a whitepaper titled "Why Mid-Cap?" and a microsite, addmidcap.com, the campaign promotes the $1.6 billion RidgeWorth Mid-Cap Value Fund, sub-advised by Ceredex Value Advisors, a value-based equity manager in Orlando, Fla., that is one of eight RidgeWorth subsidiary investment boutiques.
However, the marketing campaign focuses primarily on educating advisers, Stueve stressed.
"This is a minimally branded effort," he said.
"Our goal is to deliver relevant and timely thought-leadership and investment insight to advisers," Stueve said. "The 'Add Mid-Cap' campaign is a continuation of our strategy to provide advisers with our 'individual insight' via minimally branded educational resources and tools that help them add value for their clients."
RidgeWorth is marketing the whitepaper and microsite through an initial e-mail blast that went to its existing customers and advisers. RidgeWorth expanded upon this list by also sending the e-mail to the readers of sister publication Financial Planning, as well as Financial Advisor, Advisor Perspectives and FreeERISA.
The Atlanta-based firm, which has $47 billion in assets under management in 40 mutual funds, will then follow up with a direct mail postcard targeted to specific advisers.
"The direct mail will go to large producers in our database as well as those advisers who have sold our two other funds sub-advised by Ceredex, the Large Value and Mid Value funds," Stueve said.
A second e-mail blast, which will again include readers of the trade publications, will go out in the second quarter and then a third e-mail blast will follow in the third quarter.
In addition, RidgeWorth has developed a PowerPoint presentation that its wholesalers can present to advisers, and the firm is attempting to get its white paper published in the journal of the Investment Management Consultants Association.
"This campaign is completely supported by all of our marketing and sales teams: our consultant defined contribution investment-only sales team, our institutional consultant sales team and our traditional internal sales force," Stueve said.
"Over rolling time periods, ranging from one to 10 years, mid-caps have outperformed large- and small-caps well over half the time. Mid-caps have exhibited outperformance in both recessionary and expansionary periods," the white paper states.
The white paper shows that a $10,000 investment in the Russell Midcap Index in 1979 would have ended at $588,474 at the end of 2010, but that it would have ended at $337,748 in the large-cap Russell 1000 Index and at $350,015 in the small-cap Russell 1000 Index.
Indeed, a fact sheet on the RidgeWorth Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund available at the fund company's homepage shows strong performance. In 2010, the fund delivered 27.65%. Over the past three years ended Dec. 31, 2010, the fund returned an average of 6.95% a year, and in the five years ended Dec. 31, 2010, it delivered 9.48%. In each of those periods, the fund handily outperformed the Russell Midcap Value Index, which returned 24.7% in 2010, 1.01% in the three years ended Dec. 31, 2010 and 4.08% in the five years ended Dec. 31, 2010.
The whitepaper makes the case for considering mid-caps by making four points:
* Mid-cap companies are typically small-cap companies that have succeeded.
* Mid-cap companies typically have greater financial liquidity and better capital-raising ability than small-caps.
* Mid-cap companies typically have higher earnings acceleration compared to companies in other cap sizes.
* Mid-cap companies typically receive less analyst coverage than large-cap companies.
Why mid-caps now?
RidgeWorth's white paper says that mid-caps are a smart investment in the current market environment since investors are beginning to take on more risk and are returning to the equity markets. In addition, the high-quality and consumer discretionary and staples stocks that characterize mid-cap stocks have traditionally outperformed other sectors as economic recoveries gain steam, the paper says. It also notes that mergers and acquisitions tend to pick up during a recovery, and growing M&A activity has historically benefited the mid-cap sector.
This year's "Add Mid-Cap" marketing campaign is a relaunch of the campaign that RidgeWorth ran last March through the end of 2010.
However, the current campaign has been changed to only focus on and present mid-cap data, Stueve said. "In last year's campaign, we included SMID [small-to-mid-cap investment data] as well as flex-cap, which is a multi-cap band that is between mid- and large-cap data, in the research," Stueve explained. "We really wanted to relaunch this as a true mid-cap campaign to thoroughly differentiate it between large- and small-cap."