Nothing is MORE disheartening than watching very smart people look like idiots in front of people taking notes because they didn't prepare enough or prepared for the wrong person. 6th Installment of Great Investor Relations Events Just "Happen" ... Right? -- How to produce awesome Investor Relations Events.
We mentioned earlier that the ideal investor relations events agenda should be no longer than a half day with no more than six presentations, each lasting no more than 15 minutes in length. This less is more concept is critical in creating a structure that is manageable and content that is digestible. By keeping the scope of your investor event to a reasonable size, you can ensure that your messages are crisp, your presenters are well-rehearsed, and all related materials are professionally prepared.
Fifteen minutes is at the very edge of the right length to tell a concise story without absolutely boring the audience to death. With breaks and a perhaps a guided facility tour, six presentations will fill a morning or afternoon session with the inclusion of formal Q&A session and perhaps a luncheon. But now, let’s talk about the content development side of the project where we also wholeheartedly believe that MORE is more.
You see, nothing is MORE disheartening than watching a group of very smart people stand up and look stupid in front of a large group of people who are taking notes. And, the 2 easiest ways to make anyone, no matter how deeply intelligent or experienced they are look like and sound like idiots at an investor event is to:
1. Not prepare enough
2. Prepare for the wrong person
1. Content Development Preparation Rule of Thumb: Keep in mind that it takes at least one hour of preparation and rehearsal for every minute of content development. Let me repeat this sad and unfortunate reality. It takes a minimum of 1 hour to prepare each minute of finished content to guarantee quality investor event content. Think about what each executive speaker really has to get done:
- First, they need a story
- Then they need to outline it
- Then isolate the key messages
- Entitle it with something snappy
- Put some meat around the outline
- Find some straw man visulas that help
- Get the draft approved by management
- Revise the whole thing based upon feedback
- Improve the graphics, tighten the messaging more
- Then, get themselves ready for delivering it in front of an audience
Jeez Louise! Notice how this whole process seems to expand downward. And, there is no shortcut to this process. It is a cold, hard reality that the MORE time spent beforehand makes everyone look MORE like real experts after. They say that “Mastery is the art of making something complex, seem simple.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to investor events and the content development process to support it.
Now, do the math: 6 presentations of 15 minutes each will require 90 hours of hard work by investor relations, the presenters, the presentation specialist, and other members of the team. This is an incredible amount of time to commit for busy people and a longer event with more speakers and more content will require even more of a time commitment, and it will increase the chance for mistakes, missteps and presenters getting off message.
2. Tight Messaging: Selling to the Real Customer: It’s worth repeating here that presentations need to be focused on delivering tight messages targeted at the investor audience. But, what does that really mean: “tight messaging.”
We spend a tremendous amount of time at articulate creative communications
streamlining how to plan and outline a messaging strategy before we even begin any investor event. It’s so easy to miss the mark. We do this because when presenting to an investor relations audience, it’s very easy to forget who you are actually selling to. That it, content experts naturally tend gravitate toward key messaging that is most comfortable to prepare and present—talking about things they are used to talking about aimed at who they are used to talking to.
For example: When presenting a technology overview, let’s say you find the very best expert in the company on that particular product or service. And, somehow you manage to get them to devote all of the hours we outlined above to present. So, here’s the ironic rub: He or she hasn’t a CLUE of what to say to your audience. They may be the very best expert on their technology—but, they have no idea of how their story should be positioned to be heard by the investment community.
Imagine your key presenter saying something like this to investors: “Our new technology has the ability to analyze more layers of the earth’s core more closely than anything that anything that has ever been developed. We can now accurately analyze 13 different levels of the earth’s harness in one simple step and output these azimuthal deliverables on a single log sheet. And, that my friends is something to write about.”
Analyst’s inner dialog: “Something to write about? I don’t even know what you are TALKING about.” That’s because it contains virtually nothing for the analysts’ ears. It was aimed at the wrong customer—the person who would be actually using the tool, not someone analyzing its investment potential. Athough expert presentations may be completely brilliant, it’s likely that their message will be too focused on the end-user as opposed to selling to the money guy. “Why should I buy this stock for long term growth and stability.”
Imagine him saying this instead: “I could speak all day about how this breakthrough technology is not only BEST in class. But the real story is that our new technology is ALONE in its class. Today. we are the ONLY provider who can deliver this critical technology in a marketplace where industry studies have shown that 74% of customers would pay almost anything for tool that could get this done better and get it done right. And we're talking about a current two billion dollar spend. Industry sources have also said that, "the growth potential for technologies that support this type of exploration is one of the fastest sectors today—growing at rate of 46% per year. Now, let me also show how you a quick 30 second animation of exactly how this amazing technology actually works.”
Sure less is more when it comes to structuring your investor event. But remember MORE is MORE when it comes to content development. Prepare more, and spend more time preparing to speak to the right customer. It’s very easy to get lost in your own story. Your company’s sales messages that close the deal with end-user customers probably won’t tell investors how your company and its business solutions will create value for shareholders. Remember—they are your REAL customers at an investor event. Close the deal with them—it’s just a different kind of deal.
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