Why Your Investor Pitch Is Failing
Updated: Aug 3
Great investor communication is about simplicity and repetition.
My name is Cory, I am the President of Creative Return and the host of The Insider’s Guide To Finance. The following are my insights and learnings from the interviews and dealings I have with talented entrepreneurs, operators and financiers. I hope you find them valuable and applicable in your endeavours.
A professional communicator I know has a rule he calls the twelve-year-old rule. When preparing to communicate important information to investors, he tells his clients to run their investor pitch by a pre-teen – if they can’t understand what’s being communicated, the pitch needs changes.
Matt Badiali agrees, although he urges people to send their investor presentation to their mom instead of a pre-teen. Matt is a geologist, investment analyst and writer who has made plain writing a cornerstone of his career. He tells investee management teams to speak plainly and simply.
Do twelve-year-olds or moms have any deep insight into the world of investment marketing or investor communication? They could, but they definitely understand when crucial information is missing, such as answers to easy questions like “what problem does your product or service solve,” “where is your company going,” and “how are you getting there?” In other words, what’s your story?
Matt says executives should realize they’re not pitching investors for money; they’re really pitching for time. A company with a good story told simply in no more than three points will have eager brokers lining up to share it with their clients.
Unfortunately, my colleague who employs the twelve-year-old rules says many people believe they are better communicators than they actually are.
“They really need help crafting simple messages. Believe it or not, it’s really difficult to say simple things. Once perfected, it’s a thing of beauty. But sometimes getting there takes a long time.”
This is what Matt calls “stickiness.” A good narrative should be sticky - easy to remember and repeat. That’s where Creative Return comes in. We’ve been in countless boardrooms and listened to hundreds of pitches. We’re able to quickly help investor relations professionals and their CEOs separate the supporting (sometimes confusing) details from the really important narrative.
Another piece of communication that CEOs miss is they usually focus on the logical explanations of what their product or service does. Few focus on the other piece of the puzzle – emotion. The science of persuasion tells that compelling emotional narratives are required to help people make decisions.
A narrative with emotion – say, the lived experience of why your company is in business in the first place or how the solution your offering to a pressing problem is changing lives – is as important as good governance and sound financials. The mistake is made when you lead with the latter.
Matt also uses the word sticky when discussing the powers of digital and social media. Another fallacy CEOs and IR Pros have is that they believe their fortunes are tied up in the all-important investor presentation and press releases. But what if you don’t have an audience to listen or read your news?
Investor communication should never be a one-and-done event. Companies underestimate the power of digital automation offered by social and digital media to amplify their investor marketing.
Our goal here at Creative Return is to help CEOs and investor relations pros maximize the benefits of digital investor marketing. We do this through digital investor relations strategy, content production, email marketing and social media execution. According to Matt, very few firms leverage these digital strategies.
But of course, marketing automation and strategy don’t matter one iota if key company personnel can’t explain the company direction in simple terms.
If you are interested, you can listen to Matt's episode of the podcast here: