Commercial Due Diligence Services for Private Equity Investments

Commercial Due Diligence Services for Private Equity Investments

Commercial Due Diligence Services for Private Equity Investments

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

Written By Rajat Kapur

On

Private equity acquisition is a complex undertaking with countless moving parts. Your company’s funds, time, and reputation are all on the line, and as new products emerge and marketing capabilities expand thanks to advancing digital intelligence, it’s more important than ever that you know the commitment you’re making.

Commercial due diligence offers invaluable clarity into your acquisition, from helping you determine whether or not it’s worth the investment to understanding how to maximize its opportunities for long-term growth. Today, more and more private equity firms are choosing to outsource these services — and they’re quickly seeing all the benefits that it provides.

What is Commercial Due Diligence?

A commercial due diligence is a critical deep dive into a businesses’ current position and future potential. Typically led by an executive marketing consultant (or a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer), this internal review involves assessing everything from a company’s ability to attract and retain customers, its market positioning and digital presence versus its competitors, how it defines its brand positioning and value proposition, and a number of other key elements that allow a business to identify opportunities to accelerate growth and value creation. 

Here’s what you can expect from an effective commercial due diligence: 

  1. A deeper understanding of your acquisition’s market dynamics, competition, and customers/consumers
  2. A robust roadmap for growth and a holistic marketing plan  
  3. Practical strategy execution with detailed analysis of the results and expected ROI

     

Outsourced commercial due diligence services typically involve a fractional CMO supported by digital specialists brought in through an agreement customized to the needs of the company. Their scope is specifically process-driven to help frame your portfolio company’s scale up, while ensuring you have the proper guardrails and strategic oversight to meet your long-term growth needs.

 

Why Do Commercial Due Diligence?

In the case of private equity firms, a commercial due diligence can offer invaluable clarity into the long-term potential of their investment through the support of highly experienced subject matter experts with practical advice and support to execute, ensuring the most meaningful results and greatest ROI.

This process will focus on fully understanding the target acquisition’s opportunities to determine whether there is potential for significant growth to create shareholder value. In many cases, commercial due diligence consultancy is usually employed after the private equity firm has conducted enough initial due diligence that it is willing to invest the time and resources to gain more transparency and confidence into whether it is a good investment opportunity in the long-run. And it can either be done pre or post-acquisition.

How Much Does Commercial Due Diligence Cost?

In order to best understand the costs associated with a commercial due diligence, it’s important to know your options — and what you’re getting. For example, &Marketing offers a flexible engagement through a retainer or “on-demand” model with various activities scoped on an ad-hoc basis. These retainers are typically for an initial project that is defined based on the specific target company’s needs (strategy, research, digital ads, SEO, email marketing, social media, etc). They can also be done as a “percentage of full time” on a weekly basis and paid monthly with a typical 3-6-month minimum engagement.

Here is a breakdown of a commercial due diligence framework/checklist and the associated costs

Market Position Analysis

  • Determine the company’s target markets or audiences based on its sales, margin, and customer retention history  
  • Review and map the company’s positioning verses its competition for selected dynamics, such as value, uniqueness, market share & growth potential
  • Determine whether the product and service positioning is “True, Distinct & Compelling” 
  • Map out the company’s Core Competences to determine whether it has sustainable competitive advantage
  • Costs range from $10,000 to $20,000.

Customer Insights Collection

  • Interview the company’s current and previous customers to guage how compelling and unique its products and services are from the perspective of their target audiences
  • Interviews with customers to reveal what’s effective & what’s not:

    a. Why they purchased
    b. The products/services’ strengths & weaknesses
    c. Level of customer satisfaction & the likelihood they’ll continue to purchase or use products/services
    d. The reason past customers chose to leave

  • Determine retention rates among customers over the last 12 to 18 months. (Note: many start-ups may have lower retention rates as they home in on higher potential target groups. For quick turnover consumer products, the metric here is repeat rate, which should be at least 50%)

  • Typically, 25-40 qualitative phone interviews are performed for a cost of approximately $15,000 to $20,000, or online surveys can be utilized with costs ranging from $5,000 to $10,000

Digital Marketing Strategy Positioning

  • Evaluate the company’s website for content, positioning and messaging, ease of use and technical functionality, and suitability for future value creation
  • Initiate discussions with key sales and marketing leaders to understand the existing lead generation pipeline and processes for managing leads generated to identify opportunities for future revenue growth
  • Conduct in-depth analysis to determine the company’s and its competitor’s digital strategy, approach, and effectiveness, quantifying its digital presence and identify high ROI approaches to accelerate revenue growth
  • Costs range from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on complexity

Marketing Capabilities Review

  • Evaluate the company’s marketing materials, both printed and digital
  • Conduct interviews with marketing teams regarding strategy and success to date
  • Work with the management team to outline the strengths and weaknesses found
  • Recommend cost effective improvements and internal organizational changes
  • Costs ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.

Is Commercial Due Diligence Stressful?

Performing a commercial due diligence can be time consuming and resource intensive if you try to tackle it internally without the right resources, bandwidth, or expertise to do it properly. This is why more and more private equity firms are relying on outsourced fractional CMOs and marketing teams to handle the commercial due diligence of their portfolio companies on their behalf. 

While some commercial due diligence experts will leave the execution of your marketing strategy to your portfolio company or a third party, there are full service digital agencies that provide the executive leadership and marketing team to see the entire process through from pre-acquisition advisory to practical execution. This approach not only leaves you with a single point of responsibility throughout the process, but also decreases the risks of issues and unapproved changes to ensure the overall effectiveness of the investment. 

To learn more about the benefits of outsourcing your portfolio company’s commercial due diligence consulting to ensure you’re harnessing the best solutions for long-term success, contact the digital marketing experts at &Marketing today. 

 

 

About the Author

As the Founder & CEO of &Marketing (www.and-marketing.com), Raj and his team strive to provide growing businesses unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj has more than two decades of experience in B2B and B2C marketing, sales, & strategy. He has led nearly 100 high-profile marketing strategy projects for Global 100, mid-sized clients, and SMBs, plus over a decade with General Electric and General Mills. He is a sought-after advisor and facilitator, with experience across five continents. He is known for bringing the best of ‘big company’ marketing and strategy to smaller companies without the baggage, his bias for practical implementation, and his unrelenting customer focus.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

The 6 Biggest Marketing Trends Entering 2023

The 6 Biggest Marketing Trends Entering 2023

The 6 Biggest Marketing Trends Entering 2023

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

Written By Rajat Kapur

As I speak to business owners + marketing leaders, I’m always trying to keep a pulse on trends. Broadly, there are some macro business trends around economic uncertainty (duh!), inflation, supply chain, and data.

6 Marketing Trends Entering 2023

Let’s focus on what’s happening in the marketing industry. Since the landscape is constantly evolving, the trends that I’m seeing are a mix of old and new. Marketers will need to stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive. I’ve tried to identify the top 6 trends that will be driving the industry in 2023 and beyond.

AI & ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can be used to automate many marketing tasks, such as customer segmentation, content personalization, data analysis, and predictive analytics. This will allow (force!) marketers to focus on strategic tasks, such as developing creative campaigns, optimizing customer experiences, and making better decisions to increase ROI. Are you at least exploring AI/ML’s role in your marketing?

Data & Insights

The use of data-driven marketing will only increase in importance. Data-driven marketing informs better decisions, such as which channels to use, which audiences to target, and most importantly how to beat competitors. Everyone says they use data – but are you using it to make better decisions?

Social is Evolving

Social media will continue to be a major trend in marketing. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok (and what about Twitter?) are powerful for connecting with customers and building relationships. Marketers use these platforms to engage with customers, promote their products and services, and build brand awareness. It’s more than just a content distribution channel. How are you evolving your social plan?

Video

Video will continue its surge. It is an effective way to engage with customers and build relationships. Marketers can use video content to showcase their products and services, tell stories, and create an emotional connection with their audience. Are you behind because you’re not using video?

Influencers

Influencer marketing involves leveraging the influence of well-known people across industries (not just social media) to drive credibility. Influencers can help to build brand awareness and trust, as well as drive sales. This is not just a B2C phenomenon on TikTok and Instagram… it’s happening all around in B2B as well. Who influences your prospects?

Data Privacy

Data privacy will continue to be a thorny topic. Companies no longer have free reign to use data to target customers, and there will continue to be a backlash on companies that overstep ethical boundaries. Are you evolving fast enough?

These are just a few of the major trends I’m seeing. How are these impacting your business? What is missing?

About Rajat Kapur

As the Founder & CEO of &Marketing (www.and-marketing.com), Raj and his team strive to provide growing businesses unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj has more than two decades of experience in B2B and B2C marketing, sales, & strategy. He has led nearly 100 high-profile marketing strategy projects for Global 100, mid-sized clients, and SMBs, plus over a decade with General Electric and General Mills. He is a sought-after advisor and facilitator, with experience across five continents. He is known for bringing the best of ‘big company’ marketing and strategy to smaller companies without the baggage, his bias for practical implementation, and his unrelenting customer focus

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

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Why is Marketing Important? The Value Marketing Offers Your Business

Why is Marketing Important? The Value Marketing Offers Your Business

Why is Marketing Important? The Value Marketing Offers Your Business

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

Written By Rajat Kapur

On

From building brand awareness, ensuring consistent messaging, to bringing in leads—your marketing department breathes life into your company from top to bottom through your customer’s eyes. Marketing does some seriously heavy lifting to help grow a business, but which lift is the most important one? When some of the work marketing does happens behind the scenes, what do business owners see as the strongest value-add?

We conducted a recent LinkedIn poll to answer a common question: “What’s the most important contribution a marketing department can provide to a company?”

The answers ran a wide gamut, but a few clear winners came up on top in the court of public opinion. Read on for an in-depth look into the role of marketing within a company. The most popular answers are broken down below, with the highest result last.

    Why is Marketing Important?

    1. Customer-Centric Culture

    A little less than one-fifth (16%) of respondents to our survey said the most crucial role of marketing is to deliver a “customer-centric culture.” But what does it look like in practice?

    Your marketing team is responsible for all of your messaging, including the construction of your target customer personas. These are archetypes of people who represent your “ideal” client base: from demographics to hobbies and typical online behavior, your buyer persona represents who you are directing your marketing efforts toward overall. This helps you build all of your efforts with this customer’s needs and wants in mind.

    Good branding strategies never lose sight of this all-important individual. Customers feel included and invited to interact with your brand (and hopefully into your marketing and sales funnel to close the deal) when they are being directly spoken to and empathized with in your messaging. When interacting with brand materials, your clients “should also have increased awareness of and engagement with a firm’s brand, products …. all of which show that the brand is integrated into their priorities in a positive and productive way,” says Barbara Kaplan, CEO of BSK Strategies.

    2. Growing Customer Awareness

    You may offer the best product or service in your industry, but your best customers could be passing you by for a competitor if they aren’t familiar with your brand. According to our survey, 29% of participants believe the most important role of a marketing department is to ensure that “customers know the brand(s).”

    Robert Curtiss, a National Account Manager with Business Group Resources, provides a poignant example of the power of brand recognition, “Can I have a kleenex? I spilled coke on the Formica because I was distracted by the Zamboni crashing into the jet-ski. That Zamboni driver should get a seeing-eye dog!”

    As humorous as it is outlandish, Curtiss’s example holds water: Brand recognition is king in the court of public notice. Being the first brand that springs to mind for your category is a powerful way to “live rent-free” in your customers’ minds.

    Through consistent application of brand guidelines, thought leadership work, and positive product and service placement, your marketing team is responsible for growing customer awareness.

    3. Delivering Positive ROI

    At the end of the day, your marketing team is there to provide a positive return on investment for the money you give them. This was the most popular choice, with nearly half (46%) of our respondents choosing it over other options. It seems the most obvious answer in business terms: your marketing team exists to convert the money you give them into more money for your business.

    But is it that simple? “Positive ROI is a lagging indicator of a customer centric culture, customers knowing the brand, and everything else a marketing department does,” stipulates Mark H. Johnson, Talent Optimization Manager with PI Midlantic. “It’s all about financial results.” According to quite a few other commenters, Johnson hit the nail on the head with this analysis.

    While delivering favorable ROI is a final result of a successful marketing team, their primary objectives, such as building a brand image, spreading awareness, and creating customer journeys, will all ultimately serve the purpose of creating a positive ROI. It follows that while this should be the main goal of your marketing strategy (and any other department in your business, in most cases), it can be achieved through a range of other avenues.

    Not insignificantly. 9% of our respondents reported that the most important role of a marketing team is something else entirely. They may be onto something: from crafting client relationships to reflecting business values, reaching out to press, representing new releases, and more—chances are, your marketing team is busy creating more opportunities for your business growth than you realize.

    Darren Sudman, Founder of Unless, an outsourced corporate social responsiblity consultancy, made a case for his answer. “Reflect the culture, purpose and value proposition. If those are aligned and well received, everything else takes care of itself,” says Sudman.

    It’s a tried and true method to follow. The great Simon Sinek famously wrapped up his vision for marketing in rather succinct terms: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.”

    If people are always going to buy your “why” before your “what,” perhaps the answer to the question “why is marketing important” lies within being able to connect and communicate your company’s why and your customer’s why.

    Not sure if you’re communicating to the right customer, or don’t have a clear idea of the story you’re telling them? Download our Narrative Marketing Outline to help get that process started.

    What do you think is the most important role for a marketing department? If you’d like to discuss this topic further or get help identifying the role your marketing department plays and how we can help fill those gaps, contact our team!

    About the Author

    As the Managing Director of &Marketing (and-marketing.com), Rajat “Raj” Kapur strives to provide small, medium, and mid-market businesses unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. His team of professionals can either augment an existing team, or outsource the marketing function for a client.

     

    About &Marketing

    &Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

    Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

    We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

    Why You Should View Marketing as an Investment, Not an Expense

    Why You Should View Marketing as an Investment, Not an Expense

    Why You Should View Marketing as an Investment, Not an Expense

    Written By Rajat Kapur

    On

    Rethinking marketing: why is marketing a good investment?

    It’s an age-old struggle for marketing people convincing others in their business Is marketing an expense or an investment? While many business leaders view marketing an expense, there’s an opportunity for marketers to reframe the conversation and illustrate how marketing is an investment. What’s the difference?

    I recently met with a prospect who is struggling to show the senior management of her mid-market B2B company that the additional investment in digital marketing is worth the effort. Some programs they ran were working but others weren’t. She was not interested in the same old tactics that her competitors are doing. Her management team of financially-minded executives was frustrated that their efforts weren’t tangibly growing the business. Instead of talking about digital ad tactics or competition, we talked about marketing math as the course to get her team on board.

    What’s Marketing Math?

    Marketing math is a simple way to reframe whether investment in marketing is growing the business by relating all marketing resources (employee activity, external cost, etc) to growth levers such as new revenue, better customer loyalty, or higher price.

    Sure, there is more value to digital marketing than just immediate sales. And, a business can’t always measure the brand value of marketing in short-term dollars. However, in today’s environment, there needs to be some line of sight to marketing’s role in driving growth.

    The challenge is that marketing math isn’t always precise or obvious. Often, assumptions and estimates are required which make some people uncomfortable (especially our friends in accounting and finance!).

    Some key estimates that a company might need to make when implementing marketing math:

    • How many potential customers exist for our product or service? (Total Available Market)
    • How many are in our “sweet spot?” (Serviceable Addressable Segment)
    • What % of that do we currently have or could we gain? (Market Share)
    • What’s the average transaction (or annual) value of a new customer?
    • What’s the average lifetime value of a new customer?
    • What’s our churn rate? (% of customers who discontinue services each year)
    • What’s our average price per customer (or product or service line), and how might that change over time?

    In our experience at &Marketing, there are two key success factors when implementing new marketing programs (using Marketing Math):

    1. Metrics: Establish key metrics (or “key performance indicators” – KPIs) that everyone – from company management, marketing leadership, and tacticians can agree are accurate and really matter.
    2. Accountability: Tacticians who are responsible for executing marketing programs need clarity on how their work impacts the metrics, and the authority to make changes along the way.

    Marketing math in action: what is ROAS in digital marketing? How does it change the game in digital ads?

    At &Marketing, one way we implement marketing math is by using “Return on Ad Spend” (ROAS) models. It is a set of metrics that calculates the short and long term returns on each marketing dollar spent.

    Here is a simple example of our ROAS model in action for a digital ads spend. The model takes several inputs (orange) and produces key outputs (some of which are the KPIs).

    Implementing a ROAS model is not always easy. You need to know (or at least estimate) your numbers – like the close rate and the expected lifetime value of a new customer. You need to measure different campaigns, and time frames against each other. It’s not perfect – but it’s better than dumping money into marketing and hoping that it works.
    About Rajat Kapur

    Rajat “Raj” Kapur is the founder and Managing Director of &Marketing. He strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

    Ann Ehinger is a Marketing Manager at &Marketing. She serves as the link between clients and creative to drive projects that deliver results. With over a decade of experience working in the non-profit, technology, and agency space, Ann is adept at managing a project from idea to completion while navigating all the ups and downs that pop up in between.

     About &Marketing

    In today’s fast paced world, many growing businesses are struggling to modernize their marketing approaches because either they don’t have the expertise or the bandwidth to do it themselves.

    &Marketing provides seasoned marketing strategy professionals and a nimble execution team to help our clients achieve their goals. Our unique partnership model allows us to augment our client’s existing teams or outsource the entire marketing function in an affordable, flexible, and transparent way.

    Creating Our Core Values: The &Marketing All-Time Hits

    Creating Our Core Values: The &Marketing All-Time Hits

    Creating Our Core Values: The &Marketing All-Time Hits

    &Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

    Written By Rajat Kapur

    On
    Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast
    Peter Drucker

    I’ve been known to share sentiments like, “It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it” and “it’s a great privilege to choose the people you work with.” When I say these things, I risk sounding like a broken record, but it’s so true! Despite regularly having discussions about the importance of our culture, our approach, and “who we are,” we lacked a formal set of core values.

    We easily agreed on the basic tenets of being honest, communicating transparently, and adhering to a ‘no games’ policy, not only internally but also with our partners and clients.

    A differentiating factor at &Marketing is that we pledge to measure ourselves by our client’s success and always use data to drive our decisions. We know that the best path is typically not always the easiest or smoothest. When we really push the envelope and innovate to find the better solution, we appreciate a healthy debate about the tactics and strategies needed to succeed. Sometimes this results in tough conversations, which we approach head on.

    Ultimately, and most importantly, is that we wanted to highlight that we are not “yet another marketing agency.” We strive for amazing results for the client, and do not just check boxes. We have a unique and tight knit culture, where we value work-life balance, and we appreciate trustworthiness. Finally, we look for partnerships that embrace this unique culture. We look to partner and win together….thus our name – “&” Marketing. It’s not just our clients out there- it’s us too- taking the new path, having honest conversations, and measuring our success continuously as we go.

    After we completed our exercise, I reflected on the old Peter Drucker quote – “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” and realized that it’s playing itself out in our business. It’s our culture that makes us unique- it’s the how we do it that makes the it special. But, best of all, it’s the people who make this my privilege.

    About the Author

    Rajat “Raj” Kapur is the founder and Managing Director of &Marketing. He strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

    About &Marketing

    &Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.