Engaging with MDs and Directors of the leading Private Equity houses in the USA

Client Challenge & Context

Our client - a leading financial institution was looking to profile their back office services to MDs, CFOs, COOs, and Senior Directors at the major Private Equity (PE) houses in the USA. The objectives were threefold:

  • To understand the leading media titles read by key PE decision makers across the USA, and to align our client's messaging around regulation and compliance issues relating to PE. 
  • To understand the leading industry event platforms for the PE community, with a particular focus on events, workshops or sessions relating specifically to the topic of regulations, compliance or back office operations. 
  • A Competitor Analysis to identify which of our client's key competitors were active with media in this space, and for EI to offer an independent opinion on how visibly our clients' brand against their key competitors in the PE media and events space in the USA. 


Matthew McNally, formerly one of EI Advisory’s Senior Analysts specializing in Financial Services, led this project. After a series of detailed discussions with the client, led by Matt, a robust operating brief was developed which captured the client’s objectives.

Quantitive Opportunity Mapping

Using our proprietary media supplier database, Mercury™ identified 43 relevant broad business and trade media publications across the PE media space in the USA, as well as 81 industry events.

 Qualitative Shortlisting And Bespoke Recommendations

Matt and his team then undertook rigorous primary research to filter the leading titles and events within the PE media space, based on the quality of the readership and audience. Having identified and shortlisted the leading titles, EI vetted each supplier, analysing the different advertising, sponsorship, partnership or tailored opportunities and ideas of the leading media providers in the PE space. We then shortlisted to a small selection of the very best sponsorship and engagement opportunities which our client should consider.

In addition, EI shortlisted the top 8 PE industry events which best fitted our clients aims. These included the events which both attracted the highest volume of top PE decision makers from major PE houses across the US, as well as included content within the agenda relating to either regulation, compliance or back-office.

Finally, EI also noted where our client’s key competitors were advertising, sponsoring or engaged with the leading media providers in the PE space. We evaluated precisely what these competitors were doing and an estimate of what they might be spending. This enabled us to give a view to our client on a) what level of exposure (and budget) our client would need to commit to compete against their competitors, as well as b) enabling us to build and select sponsorship activity which differentiated our client from the competition.


After presenting our findings back to our client, there were two major initiatives which our client was most attracted to. Our client felt they were perfect as they combined thought leadership and brand positioning along with face to face lead generation:

A Partnership with a leading US newspaper

The major attraction for our client was a tailored engagement partnership with a major international newspaper based in the US. The partnership included a major sponsorship surrounding a special editorial supplement which the paper was due to run on ‘how PE firms were having to adapt to the current marketplace’. Aside from being the main sponsor of the piece both in print and digital format, EI and the media owner crafted two roundtables pre- and post- the supplement looking at the regulatory and operational aspects PE houses face in a changing world. Plus the newspaper organised a ‘CEO Breakfast’ with 5 CEOs from the largest PE firms in the US prior to the supplement, which was videoed and our client was the exclusive digital advertiser with vignettes either side of the video. Content from the pre-supplement roundtable and the CEO Breakfast was included in the editorial supplement.

Tailored quarterly research & panel debates

To complement the high profile campaign with the international broadsheet (above), EI had designed a more granular campaign with a leading PE trade media house. This included short quarterly surveys around key regulation and compliance issues for CFOs, CCOs and COOs of leading PE firms. These were supplemented with two biannual regulatory panel debates. The survey results were promoted on the website in association with our client, plus our client had a panel position on the panel debates. All the PE firms used for the survey research and the panel debates were key target accounts for our client.


Having crafted both halo programs with the two different media houses, EI was uniquely positioned to support our client on constructing a water tight contract for each sponsorship at the most competitive price. EI co-ordinated all aspects of the sponsorship negotiations, including:

  • Supplier meetings to present each of the proposals in full with the media house team who would be delivering the sponsorship
  • Worked with the media houses to construct contracts which reflected all aspects of the original proposals, and much more; across:
    • Focused Brand Presence
    • Thought Leadership
    • Lead Generation
  • Ensured every key detail was included in the proposal to outperform on our client’s objectives – across elements such as exclusivity, IP rights, first refusal, KPI monitoring, stage payment, renewal.
  • Negotiated hard on cost, including benchmarking similar sponsorships across the industry.


Our client proceeded with both of the above campaigns. They also integrated a small selection of major industry gatherings (picked from our report to fit with the timings of the above halo initiatives).

Feedback after the campaign from the client was extremely positive:

We would never have taken on two such interesting sponsorships if it hadn’t been for EI identifying these opportunities and providing us with the confidence to run both alongside each other. Most importantly, the business feels they are the best campaigns we have run to date.*
— *The sponsor of this campaign cannot be quoted as EI has reciprocal Non-Disclosure Agreements with all our clients