When thinking about your investor relations plan in the new year, it is critical to allot time for both industry and investment banking conferences. Staying in front of your current investors is critical, and so is participating in 1-on-1 meetings where you can tell your story and meet with interested potential investors. These personal meetings allow you to convey your company’s vision while fielding concerns or questions from the investment community.
While these events are a crucial part of your investor relations strategy, it can be daunting to pick and choose which conferences will be most fruitful and which will yield the best schedule of 1-on-1 meetings with important buy-side accounts.
For companies that haven’t gone public or are smaller cap names with little liquidity, garnering the attention of analysts that are hosting conferences through their bank can be a challenge, as can setting up meetings with potential investors. Fostering these relationships well in advance will set the stage for you to be included in the conferences going forward, and it will allow analysts to get more comfortable with your company and story if and when you choose to IPO.
For larger cap names, the struggle becomes how to manage the sheer volume of meeting requests and allocate your time accordingly. Herein lies the struggle for the C-suite of the large cap names: you want to ensure that each meeting you attend will have a positive end result and be a good use of your time. You don’t want to allocate time to an investor that you have just recently spoken to or met at a conference, and similarly, you wouldn’t want to meet with an investor who you know cannot invest in your stock.
Below are a few key tips we use when helping our clients plan their new year investment banking and industry conferences:
- Have a number in mind of how many conferences you want to attend. Striking the right balance between too few and too many events can be tough. Make sure you are accessible to your current investors while also allotting time for meetings with new potential investors. The risk you run in attending too many conferences is that the day-to-day running of the business may fall behind, or your investors may think you are neglecting your duties. We believe that the best number of conferences falls somewhere between 5-8 annually.
- Build a targeted “wish list.” Do your homework to find out which investors will be attending which conferences. If you’re not sure how to do this, the conference coordinators typically have a good sense of the attendees. They can often help you facilitate meetings, as can your investor relations firm. By creating a “wish list” of meetings you would like to have well in advance, your IR partner can start to reach out to the investment community to set up these meetings, ensuring your schedule is robust and impactful.
- Be diverse in your selection process. Be open to attending conferences of different genres. Don’t just focus on large cap conferences – instead, layer in industry-specific events, global events, growth conferences and smaller events. In many instances, banks are shying away from large format presentations in favor of small, intimate 1-on-1 meetings or fireside chats. In addition, participating in panels or moderated talks can be great exposure for your company.
There is no right or wrong formula for crafting your investment banking and industry conference calendar. However, with some forethought and planning, you should be able to walk away from each event feeling as though you told the story of your company, attracted potential new investors, and continued to foster relationships with your current investors.
Contact Gilmartin Group if you would like help in formulating a plan of attack for your 2018 investor relations strategy as it relates to your conference and event schedules.
Jessica Bornn, Principal