While marketing and investor relations are words seldom used together, there are some basic marketing rules that apply to a sound Investor Relations (IR) strategy. I’ve learned that it often helps to know what you shouldn’t do, before deciding what it is that you should do. I’ve identified the top seven mistakes publicly traded companies make, when it comes to their IR plan, and what actions can be taken in order to avoid these mistakes:
1. Confusing core message from top executives
Always remember the 5 Ws:
- Who are you? Define your company in one or two sentences.
- What differentiates you from competitors? What makes you stand out? Know your competitors.
- When and how often will this be done? Set a deadline and follow through.
- Where should your messages be? Choose places that receive a lot of targeted exposure.
- Why should people/companies invest in you? Outline three reasons.
2. Thinking “News”, “Press Releases” and “Reputation” alone, will move their stock and gain attention.
Coca Cola’s annual marketing budget is $1 Billion. Does this surprise you? My guess is probably not. You’ve seen the Super Bowl commercials, national and international ad campaigns and countless other marketing and branding ploys.
The TSX Venture Exchange sees anywhere from 130-200 press releases daily. There are over 5K public companies in Canada, and almost 20K public companies in the USA. How many people know the name of your company?
3. No plan. No consistency = No results.
Don’t try out marketing. Without a consistent plan you risk diluting your efforts. Why is that a problem? If an investor only sees you once, they won’t remember you and they won’t buy. Take time, develop a plan and execute.
4. Remember, “It Takes 5 to Arrive!”
This is a key rule of Marketing. Investors need to hear your story at least 5 times before they take action.
Top advertising agencies create long term plans for clients focused on consistency. They’ll often buy three to five ad spaces in one show. Why? Because it may be annoying, but it’s proven, repetition works.
5. No Budget
The Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) reports that public companies, on average, allocate 10% of their overall yearly budget to Marketing, that’s how important it is. Build marketing into the budget. Explore the different free social media tools available to create brand awareness, publish news and connect with potential investors.
6. Not speaking the language of the lay investor
Using vague industry terms i.e: “Proven Management”, “Large Land Package” is too generic and needs to be quantified. Don’t let your message get lost in translation. Why are you proven? Did you discover the largest copper mine? How big is your land package? Is it the size of Manhattan?
7. Not getting the most bang for your buck
It’s essential to have a plan in place where you can garner the most eyeballs on your company for your marketing dollars. Your efforts and investment should have a tangible results and give you guarantee exposure. Track what you’re spending your money on and determine what’s working and put more dollars there and dismiss what hasn’t worked. Don’t go to the same old trade show if you haven’t seen any results in the past two years of attending.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Keep these tips in mind when planning your next annual marketing initiative.