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Morningstar Investment Conference 2016: The Good, the Bad & The Useful

mstar 1One of the conferences atop many investment professionals’ list is the annual Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, IL. This year’s event took place June 13-15 at McCormick Place and featured presentations from Vanguard, Franklin Templeton Investments, AQR Capital Management and others, including a comedic performance from SNL legend Darrell Hammond.

Several of SunStar Strategic’s clients were in attendance, and we caught up with a few of them to share their takeaways from this year’s event from both an exhibiting and attending perspective.

As a whole, the conference is still a worthwhile endeavor for our clients. “This year was better than the last few; PR is always a primary reason we go, and this year was no exception,” explained a long-time SunStar client. “Our SunStar executive did a great job securing interviews for us on site, and we supplemented with advisor meetings.”

In terms of strategy, our clients’ focus was on marketing and PR. As one client points out, giveaways are a clever way to direct visitors to your booth. “This year our strategy involved delivering coffee tumblers to attendees’ hotel rooms with a sticker on top encouraging them to stop by our booth to enter an Apple Watch raffle,” said Richard Clark, Director of Sales & Marketing for Jensen Investment Management. “Our goal was accomplished—we got our portfolio manager in front of larger, local advisors and good prospects,” said one client.

So, what stood out? Our clients’ reactions came from both sides of the spectrum.

“For us, it seems that the Morningstar conference is getting smaller each year. This seems to be indicative of the conference circuit as a whole. If this trend continues, it would be nice if they’d move the conference to a downtown venue,” one client noted. “However, the PR opportunities afforded to us by SunStar stood out for us.”

“The quality of the advisors that stopped by our booth to thank us for the tumbler or ask questions really stood out,” said Clark. “I was very impressed by the types of questions we were asked. Not only do we get to see a number of clients and meet lots of new prospects, but we also believe in supporting Morningstar and their mission of providing investors with the best information possible,” he added.

SunStar’s clients seem ready to employ the same strategies going into next year’s event. By focusing on marketing and PR opportunities, the Morningstar Investment Conference is still proving to be a worthwhile event.

Are you planning any conference trips this year? Get in touch to see how SunStar Strategic can create a customized strategy for your firm to make the most out of your investment. 


Author: Katie Bird

Published: June 2016


Scheduled Tweeting: Keeping the Autopilot out of Automation

twitter scrabble tiles

A thriving Twitter presence is an essential component of any comprehensive marketing program. For anyone who manages a professional Twitter account, automation services have likely become your holy grail. Without them, it would be nearly impossible to escape the glow of your computer screen. But sometimes scheduled content can sound a bit stiff or impersonal—even downright spammy. A recent article from Ragan explains some great Twitter tips to take to heart to keep your brand genuine.

First, here are a few automation tools to consider:

  • Klout: curates content based on keywords, includes “hidden gem” content for fresher, less over-shared articles
  • IFTTT: If This Then That allows you to tweet out trusted blogger content automatically
  • Sprout Social: a social media dashboard that recommends times to post based on when your audience is most active

Ragan warns that sometimes the illusion of presence automation provides can make us seem robotic if we never respond to our engagers. Just because you may not physically push the send button doesn’t mean you should ignore the engagement around a particular tweet (or any social post).

Here are a few ideas to guide your interactions:

  • Thanking all those who share your content
  • Only thanking engagers within a certain window of time
  • Only responding to retweeters and sharers who include their own comment or add thoughts

The bottom line is that scheduling tweets is a delightfully handy option for which your sanity thanks you; however, don’t get too swept up in the automation and forget the importance of a human touch. Your followers want to interact with YOU, not a robot.


Do you need some help bringing the “personal” back to your company’s social media presence? SunStar Strategic can help you more effectively manage your online interactions by creating a comprehensive marketing and PR plan that incorporates both traditional and digital components. Check out our digital services and drop us a line to get started.


Author: Katie Bird

Published: June 2016



money 1US stock mutual funds have seen significant outflows in 2016.  This could be due to poor performance earlier this year, or investors are getting a bit cautious after a 7-year bull market.  We believe it is important for fund firms to protect their funds’ assets by consistently marketing and selling their funds strategy/story, not just good performance. Developing a proper compelling message and consistently telling your story to investors, is vital in protecting your fund firm’s assets. SunStar Strategic helps mutual fund firms develop their core message and consistently tell their story to investors.   

Author: Milin Iyer

Published: June 2016


SunStar Strategic’s NYC Media Briefing

Speakers image for website CIRCLES1SunStar Strategic is holding a media briefing for top performing mutual funds on May 25th in NYC.  At the event, fund managers will be able to tell their story, including investment strategy and portfolio, to dozens of the top financial journalists at the same time in a nice hotel.  Our experience has been that the event enables participating investment firms to develop relationships with the cream of the crop mutual fund reporters. Other strategic public relations services provided to SunStar Strategic clients include: media training, one-on-one meetings with journalists, and targeted press release distribution.

Author: Bob Tebeleff

Published: May 2016


Promoting a Single “Star Manager” Can Be Risky

In Morningstar’s fund flow report for March 2016, they noted that “manager changes were responsible for investor redemptions from the two active funds with the greatest monthly outflows.” Having a single named manager or promoting an individual as a “Star Manager” can often backfire over time. Naming a co-manager(s) early in a fund’s history allows tenure to accumulate for more than one manager so you don’t “start over” if a manager leaves. SunStar has helped many start-up companies think through issues like this early on.

Author: Marilyn Dale

Published: March 2016


What Millennials Want

MillenialThe 87 million millennials that comprise the most populous generation ever pose a challenge to financial companies developing marketing strategies to target them.  Most important to note is millennials’ continual access to technology which offers an opportunity to develop a holistic digital strategy to connect with them.

An obstacle to asset accumulation is millennials’ mounting student loan debt – at least for the short term. Further, many millennials are skeptical of the financial services industry overall and its compensation structure.

Advisors and financial firms need to be mindful of the forces at play when targeting this important group and develop digital strategies that are less sales pitch and more educational.


Author: Melissa Murphy

Published: May 2016

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