I recently returned from helping a client host a very successful investor day in New York City. Every year for the last four years, we have introduced various members of our management team, customers and industry pundits to nearly 100 investors to help them better understand our opportunities and long-term goals. Our 2013 event was the best yet, so I thought it might be interesting to share some pointers for a successful investor day, while it’s still fresh in my mind.
- Hold an event only if you have something to say. Make your investor day worth the time and effort it takes to successfully produce a great event, and ensure your audience leaves with a favorable opinion of the company. Holding an event just for the sake of having one is not a great decision. Holding an event because you have new wisdom to impart about the company, is.
- Target your audience. The day is only as good as your attendee list. Those with a keen interest in your company will help facilitate a more interactive session with great questions and a chance for your management team to shine.
- Expect no-shows. Drop off is generally in the 10-20% range, but a bad day in the market or extraordinary breaking news can drive that number up to the 50% range.
- Be selective in who presents. Those parts of your business that command investor attention should be included, while those that may not be core to your long-term growth strategy needn’t be.
- Consider using guest speakers. Allowing those outside your company to communicate with investors, provides you with third-party support and adds a little something special to your event. Guest speakers can be solo participants, part of a panel, or included in a fireside chat. Again, be selective. Use outside speakers only when you are relatively certain that they will speak positively about your company and that they have a good stage presence.
- Provide hard copies of your presentation. There has been much debate recently on NIRI’s eGroups message boards about the benefits (or lack thereof) of slide deck hard copies. While it’s true that digital communication is the wave of the future, and possibly even of the present, I’ve found that investors generally like to hold the decks in their hands, have them available for easy reference and use them for note taking.
- Choose your venue carefully. You’ll want to pick an event space that can comfortably hold all of your guests, leaving them room to spread out a bit, while ensuring the presenters and screen can be seen from anywhere in the room. I can personally recommend the spaces at Nasdaq and Convene.
- The message is king, but logistics matter. While the message is key to giving investors the clarity and visibility for which they are looking, logistics are just as important. Keep guests comfortable by providing food and drinks (an informal lunch or cocktail party gives investors a chance to mingle with management). Offer an agenda and clear guidance on what guests should expect during the day. Have notebooks and pens available for guest use. Think about what would make you comfortable at an event, and provide that for your guests.
- Webcast, webcast, webcast. Not only will a webcast ensure compliance with Reg FD, but it will allow those who cannot travel to the event a chance to participate.
- Invite the board. Having the board in attendance shows their commitment to your company, while bringing them closer to your investor base. A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the need for better communication between these constituencies. In my book, transparency is always the best policy.
Perhaps the most important piece of wisdom I can share is to have fun with it. It takes a lot of work, and at least six months of lead time, to produce a successful investor day. But, if you take a step back to enjoy the day and process, you might find it to be a meaningful experience.
— Laurie Berman, firstname.lastname@example.org