There’s no doubt the last few years have fundamentally changed how we communicate. The global pandemic, restricted mobility and the necessity of remote working environments have fuelled expanded technology applications. With fewer in-person interactions, people have become more comfortable with virtual meetings and pitching on online platforms, including Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
While more meetings are happening online, the financial services industry is still quite traditional, and so too is its preference for printed pitchbooks. The result can be challenging because pitching in person is quite different from an online pitch. You can make eye contact and detect body language in-person to gauge interest, but capturing and retaining a potential investor’s attention online is much harder.
If you are looking to elevate your pitchbooks to the next generation (NexGen), consider these five tips. And remember, a great pitchbook is important to every hedge fund manager’s success because great pitchbooks always tell great stories:
1. Tell an exceptional story
When considering a pitch, today’s investors need context – the “why,” “what” and “how” behind who you are as a fund, organization and team. Investors are looking for a solid narrative that differentiates you from the many pitchbooks that cross their desks – and screens – every day. Strong storytelling can help them see your potential more effectively, resulting in a stronger connection with you.
2. Clean and clear content
Investors don’t have time to dig around for what they need. Great pitchbook stories are tied together in ways that make sense. Designing them as intuitively as possible starts with a smart page-flow supported by a strong narrative. Cut down on copy to get right to the point and organize your hierarchy of information so your audience can more easily follow along.
3. Capture attention
Most people, including potential investors, are visual learners and will be better able to digest your content if it is illustrated creatively. So go ahead and slide some design tricks into your repertoire, allowing you to bring your pitch to life. Here are some design tips you can start with to keep investor attention on screen:
• Keep your visuals simple and clean, while tying them into the rest of your brand and marketing materials. Stick to one graph per slide.
• Use large fonts in dark colours. Avoid copy that is too small or light, as this will be too hard to read on a screen.
4. Use bold colours
Take advantage of brighter colours that you might not typically use. They might not print as well, but they can be ideal in a digital format. You can also use shades of colours to create a deeper visual experience. Shading allows for a sophisticated monochromatic approach.
5. Size matters
Most pitchbooks are 8.5×11 (the size required for printing). Instead, consider designing your pitchbook using a 16×9 aspect ratio, which is optimal for online presentations.
Creating an effective NexGen pitchbook – one that connects with your investor audience in a clear, compelling way, will always come down to how succinct, relevant and readable your message is. Telling a story that’s simple, logical and genuine is a great place to start.
Whether you are an issuer, hedge fund or private equity firm, it’s never been more important to have a great pitchbook help tell your story. Contact Ext. Marketing at email@example.com to get started on your NexGen pitchbook.
The rise in virtual meetings brought about by the pandemic is here to stay. There’s no going back. With more employees working from home and cutbacks in business travel, videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom and Teams have been some of the fastest-growing apps of the pandemic.1
For marketers, this means it’s more important than ever to be able to effectively present online. But there are some key differences between getting up in front of a room full of people for the big pitch and engaging with an audience virtually.
Here are six ways you can optimize your digital presentation game:
1. Test the technology
We’ve all been there – sitting online, waiting. Logged into a meeting presentation, waiting for our host to try to figure out how to get their camera working or their presentation loaded or the sound to come through on the video they’re sharing. Nothing destroys an online presentation faster than a technical issue or makes it seem less professional than poor lighting. The answer? Practice in advance! Log in and check how you appear on camera. And reach out to a co-worker the day before to ask them if you can do a quick run-through to test the technology. If something isn’t working, this gives you time to fix it – or to learn how to make it work.
2. Know your audience
It’s hard to capture people’s attention – especially with the online temptation to multi-task. So, the most important place to start when creating a presentation is to research who you’re speaking to. Your pitch will need to be quite different when you’re speaking to a retail audience versus sophisticated institutional investors. You need to tailor the language, content and tone accordingly. Plus, researching your audience is a sign of respect. It indicates to your listeners that you’ve taken time to learn about them and understand their goals. It shows you’re well prepared and won’t waste their time.
3. Engage with visuals
A picture really is worth a thousand words. 65% of people are visual learners.2 That’s a plus when you’re sharing a presentation online. It’s far easier to explain complex financial concepts in simple terms through the use of charts and graphics. A little creative data visualization – presenting data in a compelling graphical format – goes a long way. By incorporating engaging visuals (charts, icons, graphs, typography and infographics) into your presentation, your audience is also more likely to retain your most important ideas and takeaways. Studies show 80% of people remember what they see, compared to only 10% what they hear and 20% what they read.3
4. Keep it short
Shorter is better when presenting online. In fact, according to a study by Microsoft, in today’s increasingly digital world, people’s average attention span when checking something out online has dropped to eight seconds, shorter than that of a goldfish.4 For an entire online presentation, the average adult attention span is 20 minutes.5 So, avoid information overload. Ensure your words and phrases are as concise as possible and allow for critical white space. Use divider slides and videos (with a recommended length of under two minutes)6 to help your audience stay engaged and allow them to take a respite from a wall of written content.
5. Make it interactive
One sure-fire way to get your audience to pay more attention to what you’re saying is to ask them for their input. By introducing interactive elements such as a communal icebreaker, quick poll or audience break-out room, you can connect with them more directly. Remember, it’s always more engaging to have a conversation with someone than it is to just listen to them speaking at you.
6. Inspire through storytelling
The very best speakers are entertainers. They understand how to present in an engaging storytelling manner. If you have a strong story plan that flows logically from one point to the next, you can capture their attention from start to finish. Like a good screenplay, a well-crafted pitch deck or other presentation should begin with the “why” then gradually reveal the “solution” and end with a “hook” or key takeaway.7
Presenting online can enable you to reach new audiences you could never reach before. Done well, it also provides you with the opportunity to engage those audiences in innovative and creative new ways that were never before possible.
Looking for support in developing your own pitch-perfect presentation? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today to learn how we can support your marketing needs at 1.844.243.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you’re an established or emerging manager, a stellar pitchbook summarizes the most compelling reasons to invest in your fund, and forms the foundation of your sales and engagement strategy with stakeholders.
If you’re in the process of launching a fund or looking to revamp your marketing efforts, here are the biggest reasons why you need to create the best-possible pitchbook content and design.
1. Highlights the opportunity
Great pitchbooks clearly define the market areas your fund is focused on, support the opportunity through stats and figures and emphasize why now is the time to invest.
2. Sets your fund apart
There may be a long list of distinguishing factors, but honing in on the most appealing competitive advantages that your fund brings will enhance your pitch to investors.
3. Showcases the team
Investors want to see that there is relevant professional experience backing everything up. Effectively highlighting career accomplishments, expertise and high-level skills is essential.
4. Underscores your philosophy
Your overall process is driven by a distinct set of beliefs, otherwise known as an investment philosophy. This should be sharply outlined and served as the rationale for how you will succeed.
5. Breaks down the process
Piecing together all the vital components of the approach – e.g., sourcing, screening, investment selection, etc. – in a compelling investment process is critical to helping investors understand how you’ll generate returns.
6. Tells your origin story
Every hedge fund has a story. Whether it is founded upon a particular investment belief, driven by leadership’s illustrious skillset or represents a “meeting of advanced minds” – sharing this with investors will convey a strong foundation.
7. State your mission
Pitchbooks are a chance to succinctly communicate your commitment to investors and how you’ll consistently deliver results – through a concise mission or value statement.
8. Plug your culture
Perhaps it’s through collaboration, debate or proprietary research – sharing what makes your work environment unique and how you come up with great investment ideas is worthy of mention.
9. Emphasize your track record
If you have a solid track record, then sharing it is a given. Great pitchbooks isolate the most appealing aspects of performance history – through a creative design and persuasive content.
10. Call out potential
If you’re growing or launching your fund, you may not have a track record to share. But you can still call out performance from previous roles or professional accomplishments that directly lend to potential performance ahead.
If you would like to begin planning, writing and designing an amazing pitchbook, we can help. Contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or email@example.com.
Virtual meetings are becoming the new norm. These best practices will help you run great meetings from anywhere, while leaving your clients with a positive impression.
Look your best
- Get ready for your close-up. Position your camera so that it’s just above your head. If you are using a laptop, put it on a stack of books.
- Light ’em up. Avoid being backlit as your face will be shadowed, and put a lamp slightly behind your screen.
- Dress for success. If you wouldn’t wear it in a client’s living room, don’t wear it now.
- Buy a better camera. The cameras on older computers generate a grainy image. Given that you may be conducting many virtual meetings from now on, an upgrade may be a smart investment.
- Let the sheet shine. A simple piece of white paper placed on the desk between you and your camera will improve your lighting and enhance the video. Give it a try – you’ll be surprised.
- Clean your room. If you’re working from home, clean up the room behind you. Having nice art and/or bookshelves behind you is always a good choice.
- Share your screen. Augment your message with sharply designed slides. These will help focus your client’s attention, plus they give you a break from being on camera for an entire meeting.
- Don’t avert your eyes. Eyes tend to drift off-screen, especially when people are speaking off the cuff. You can better hold people’s attention by keeping your eyes on the camera or on the faces of the people you are meeting with.
- Questions, so many questions. Set aside more time than usual for questions – your clients will likely have lots of those. And they will appreciate you addressing their concerns over a medium that they might not be all that comfortable with yet.
- Mind the gap. Leave 30 minutes between meetings to ensure you don’t get backed up. While this might result in a less productive day, you can justify it knowing your clients are getting the extra attention they deserve.
Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any of your marketing questions.
In our role as financial services marketers, we see our fair share of pitchbooks. While some come to us fully formed, the majority aren’t formulated in a way that will drive success with investors.
Investors are looking beyond performance data. They want to see that you are using next-gen data to support your investment process and attracting and retaining top talent. When it comes to investment funds, they are increasingly looking to see if a company has an ESG policy. They are also looking for funds that bring something new to the table, although getting this message across to investors can be challenging.
More than three-quarters of asset managers feel their messages were differentiated from their peers, but only 21% of consultants believe that managers’ messages varied, reports the Institutional Investor.
1. Avoid information overload
Trying to fit too much copy onto a single slide is a common mistake. While telling a detailed story might seem like the best way to fully communicate a point, too many words and stats on a page will obscure your message and confuse your audience. How you describe your strategies in writing can influence investors’ opinions.
One study found that managers that demonstrated a well-rounded vocabulary were viewed as being more intelligent and trustworthy. The study adds that investors could regard confusing sentences and poor syntax as a sign that managers have something to hide. The more text a reader must comb through, the harder it is to appreciate your value proposition.
- Less is more. Highlight the benefits of your offering in fewer words by focusing your content, writing in an active voice, adopting a more direct tone and, where possible, using bullets.
- Keep it simple. Each slide should have no more than one to two key messages and should focus on the main benefits.
- Punch up headlines. Use compelling headlines to summarize slides and guide readers through your story.
- Use attention-grabbing graphics. Imagery helps investors conceptualize points and helps reduce text.
2. Grab the reader’s attention
To pique the interest of potential investors, a pitchbook must tell a concise and compelling story.
The information needs to be organized logically and address the most common questions investors would have about the opportunity.
Your pitchbook should lead with the most important aspects and the rest of the presentation should be structured accordingly. This approach helps readers promptly grasp the essentials – the who, what, when, where, why and how – and digest the following pages with ease.
- Choose your words carefully. Telling a succinct story is an art. Distilling your core messages down into a compelling executive summary takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.
- Time is of the essence. While you may have a lot to say, you don’t need to say it all at once. Provide a quick overview of who you are and what you do, and then sell that story in your meeting with investors.
- Sharpen your edge. Summarize your main competitive edge early on and order the rest of the pitchbook according to your key differentiators.
3. Speak to your audience
A golden rule of marketing is that you should always communicate with your audience’s interests in mind. Building your pitchbook is no different. You need to be aware of what will resonate most with prospective investors when crafting content.
- Make it accessible. You understand your process, but never assume your reader does. Consider the level of sophistication needed to understand your strategy or the markets you’re targeting, as well as your audience’s expectations.
- Don’t talk down to investors. Individual investors may require more education to understand your story, but don’t make the content dense. They will respond better to punchy content, a conversational tone and simple to-the-point infographics to communicate important concepts.
- Steer them in the right direction. Institutional audiences require less in-depth explanations. However, even savvy investors often need help understanding the opportunity, especially if it’s not their area of expertise. They may respond better to a more formal and informational tone and appreciate intricate illustrations about your strategy and operation.
Contact us today at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or email@example.com for help creating a pitchbook that tells your story more effectively.
Raising capital to launch a hedge fund isn’t easy. No matter how experienced you and your team are, or how great an investment philosophy or strategy you have, there’s always plenty of competition when selling your idea.
Having a great pitchbook can help. Here are four good reasons why:
Helps you stand out from the crowd
When you meet with investors, chances are they’ll have already met with a number of other managers before you that day. And further, chances are they’ll be meeting with many more managers afterwards.
That’s just what investors do. The most important way you can cut through the clutter is by being confident, having a strong message, and then leaving them with a pitchbook that looks great, reads well and truly reflects what you do.
Tells people a lot more about your firm than you can in a one-hour meeting
With the number of new and novel investment strategies introduced each year, hedge funds have gotten more complex.
Chances are an hour isn’t enough time to fully explain your history, investment strategy, process, etc. to investors. And getting into the weeds is often a fast track to losing your audience. It’s best to give them a solid overview in your meeting, and then leave a great pitchbook behind so they have all the details they need afterwards.
Something to remember you by
We’ve all been there. After an afternoon of meetings before you arrive, an investor may just not be as attentive as you’d like during your pitch. And you leave feeling like your message didn’t get through to them because they’re too busy thinking about what they should do for dinner.
A professionally built pitchbook can help you tell your story through strong copy and elegant design, and is something they’ll likely remember long after they’ve eaten dinner that night.
Shows you’re totally committed to your company
The investors you meet with have likely seen hundreds of pitchbooks that were hastily written by managers who had other priorities and that were designed by a nephew in college.
A professionally written and designed pitchbook shows investors that you have put in the effort to think through your firm and its funds, and are committed to building the strongest company with the strongest brand. Those things really do matter to people who are trusting you with their – and their clients’ – capital.
It’s never been more important to have a great pitchbook help tell your story. Please contact ext. today at 1.844.243.1830, 416.925.1700 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see how great your pitchbook can be.
A search for “PowerPoint Design Do’s and Don’ts” will return dozens of sites offering firm rules for PowerPoint design, but we think there is one rule that overrides them all: your presentation has to be easy to read.
Keep your viewers in mind, and you can’t go wrong. Here are some tips to keep you on the path toward PowerPoint clarity:
Edit your text
Cutting text is the best thing you can do to make your slides look clean. Don’t hesitate to use point form sentence fragments, or one word bullets. You can fill in the blanks with the support of your notes.
Restrict yourself to two fonts
Although one font is ideal, it’s okay to use one font for your headers and another for body copy. Sans-serif fonts work best for slide copy (like Calibri or Arial) as they are clean and easy to read.
Use no more than three or four colours
Too many colours can be visually distracting. Most firms have two main corporate colours, with a few secondary colours available if you need them. Try to stick to the two main colours, using lighter and darker tones if necessary.
Keep calm and don’t over-animate
Those animation features are so cool and so easy to apply, but try to control yourself or your presentation may resemble a middle-school science project! Ditto for Clip Art and Smart Charts.
Use graphs and charts
Look for spots where numbers can be converted to pie charts or bar graphs. Convert long lists into tidy tables using preformatted table design options.
If you’re looking for some help with your presentations, contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or email@example.com.
PowerPoint is 26 years old this year and some people at Ext. Marketing Inc. (we won’t name names) have been building presentations for almost as long, back when slides were printed onto expensive transparent sheets and we called them overheads and carried them around in boxes.
While presentation technology has changed for the better, some of the slide-building fundamentals we learned in the early days still hold true.
1. Build Master slides first
Before creating a presentation, click View > Slide Master and create custom Master slides with the approved corporate logo, colours and fonts (your marketing department probably has branded Master slide decks ready for use).
If you’ve never used Master slides before, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the concept. It’s fairly simple, and will save you tons of time: no more painstaking, slide-by-slide design updates.
2. Use the Outline window to add text
Toggle between Slide and Outline view at the left-hand of the PowerPoint Home screen, and add your slide text in the Outline window rather than typing directly in the individual slides.
Add your slide text in the Outline window rather than typing directly in the individual slides.
This small step will save you time in the long run: the tidy Outline hierarchy makes it easy for you to organize your thoughts, make major text edits, and import or export large blocks of text with one click.
3. Use the Slide Sorter to move things around
You can simply click and drag to reorder your slides without losing track of anything or accidentally deleting a slide. Slide Sorter is also the best way to gain an overall high-level view of your presentation message and how it flows.
Simple but effective. Just like PowerPoint.
If you’re looking for some help with your corporate presentations, contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A productive meeting can move a project ahead, energize a team, and lead to creative improvements and innovation. We’ve shared some tips on running more effective meetings, but a meeting’s attendees can also make a big difference in the overall success of the meeting.
In our first PSA post, we encouraged meeting organizers to focus on PSA: preparedness, structure and action. There is a PSA for meeting attendees too, and this PSA stands for: preparedness, support and attention.
Being on time is obvious, as is bringing in associated meeting materials. To make the most of the time spent in your meeting, it’s best to be familiar with the meeting materials and to be ready to update your colleagues on relevant developments from your area(s) of work.
Support the meeting’s goals
Help the meeting organizer keep to the agenda (and end the meeting on time) by staying focused on the topics being discussed and by contributing to the discussion. Be ready to make decisions and help move your project forward when required.
Meetings can be great opportunities to learn about new trends and initiatives in your industry or your organization. By following this PSA, you’ll be contributing to a culture of respect and attention, which is a valuable trait that will be noticed and appreciated at your next meeting.
Listen, ask questions, take notes and, above all, ignore your smartphone.
For more tips on effective marketing communications strategies, contact us 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or email@example.com.
Ext. Marketing Inc.’s account management team has been to a lot of meetings over the years. And we’ve noticed some of the best meetings result in: (1) deadlines being met and (2) outstanding project outcomes.
We’ve put together a PSA – which stands for preparedness, structure and action – on how to run outcome-oriented meetings.
To ensure maximum participant preparedness, email an agenda to attendees before the meeting. Maybe even attach the agenda to a meeting reminder.
Your preparation for the meeting should include simple things like remembering to bring a pen and some paper with you. We find that a notebook is best. And leave the highlighter at your desk.
Structure your meeting
When creating the meeting agenda – and you always need an agenda – make sure you include an objective. To create the most specific objective, fill in the blank:
“I want attendees to … at the end of this meeting.”
Begin the meeting by sharing this objective with everyone and then proceed with the most pressing issues first.
Define action items
It’s your meeting to close, and people like a strong close. Summarize key takeaways and action items that were discussed during the meeting. If people leave the meeting with a sense of purpose, then you have done your job as a meeting chair. Gather meeting notes from the notetaker, and let everyone know they’ll be receiving a written record of everything that was discussed.
Every meeting will benefit from a strong focus on PSA: preparedness, structure and action.
For more project management tips, contact us 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meetings: are they critical interactions or time killers? Depending on the day and your mood, your opinion probably changes a little bit.
Today, let’s call them a necessary evil. And, if you’re going to host or attend one today, we’ve put together a few best practices that ensure you’ll take a leadership role.
If you’re hosting a meeting today
To make sure every attendee is as prepared as possible, email an agenda to attendees before the meeting. Even better, attach your agenda to the meeting reminder. Your preparation for the meeting should include simple things like remembering to bring a pen and some paper. We find that a notebook is best … and leave the highlighter at your desk.
Structure your meeting
When creating the meeting agenda – and you always need an agenda – make sure you include an objective. To create the most specific objective, fill in the blank: “The desired outcome of this meeting is for attendees to_______.” Begin the meeting by sharing this objective with everyone and then proceed with the most pressing issues first.
Define the action items
It’s your meeting to close, and people like a strong close. Summarize key takeaways and action items that you discussed. If people leave the meeting with a sense of purpose, then you have done your job as a meeting chair. Gather meeting notes from the notetaker, and let everyone know they’ll be receiving a written record of everything that was discussed.
Finally, be respectful and finish your meeting on time. If you must run a few minutes over, give others who need to go the opportunity to leave before you carry on.
If you must run a few minutes over, give others who need to go the opportunity to leave before you carry on.
If you’re attending a meeting today
Prepare (everyone needs to!)
Being on time is obvious, as is bringing associated meeting materials. To make the most of the time spent in your meeting, it’s best to be familiar with the meeting materials and to be ready to update your colleagues on relevant developments from your area(s) of work.
Support the host’s goals
To help the meeting organizer keep to the agenda (and end the meeting on time), stay focused on the topics being discussed and contribute to the discussion. Be ready to make decisions and help move your project forward when required.
Be ready to make decisions and help move your project forward when required.
Pay close attention
Meetings can be great opportunities to learn about new trends and initiatives in your industry or your organization. Even in a routine meeting, contributing to a culture of respect and attention is a valuable trait that gets noticed and appreciated. Listen, ask questions, take notes and, above all, ignore your smartphone.
Use these tips to take the lead at your next meeting … and don’t forget your pen!
We can help you excel at your next marketing initiative as well. Contact us at 416.925.1700 or email@example.com.
Meetings are a necessary part of office life. They can help your team reach an important decision, or build consensus on a critical issue. Meetings may also be helpful when you just need to talk things through as a group.
However, meetings can also be time killers. Here are some smart ways to reduce the amount of time you spend in meetings.
Create an agenda… and stick to it
Every so often, you just need a good brainstorming session. If it’s not one of those times, have a solid agenda for your meeting. Circulate it at least a couple of days ahead of time, and encourage people to ask questions or suggest changes as soon as they get the agenda. Don’t save these things for the meeting, or you won’t stay on track.
What should go into your agenda? A list of what topics you plan to discuss, who will be leading each discussion and how much time will be spent on each topic. It’s pretty simple. The bigger challenge is often sticking to the agenda once the meeting has started.
Of course, you’ll want enough time in your agenda for relevant questions and discussion. But if a discussion starts to veer off topic, it should be moved out of the meeting and discussed at another time. As the meeting organizer, it’s up to you to enforce this.
Also, make sure you start your meeting on time. There is no bigger time killer than spending 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of a meeting waiting for all the key players to arrive. Start on time and stick to your agenda, and you’ll be more likely to end your meeting on time, too.
Invite fewer people
Does it ever feel like you’re having a meeting just because everyone wants a say on a certain decision that needs to be made? Even when that decision isn’t particularly relevant to their role. It happens to all of us.
You’ll cut your meeting time down significantly by inviting only the people who really need to be there. Others may be interested in what’s being discussed, and that’s great! We all want an engaged workforce. After the meeting, send those people a summary of what was discussed and what decisions were made, and let them know you’re happy to have their input.
Other times, you’ll find the opposite is happening. Somebody has a big decision to make and doesn’t really feel comfortable doing it without everyone else’s input. Most issues aren’t this critical. When each employee’s role is clearly defined, and they feel empowered to make important decisions within that role, you may find you need far fewer meetings.
In other words, don’t use meetings as an exercise in hand-holding or passing the decision-making buck to the next person. If it seems like this is what’s happening, try a quick phone call or one-on-one chat instead.
Don’t hate us for this one, but a 1999 study from the University of Missouri showed that meetings are 34% shorter if you’re standing up (source). True, it’s a 15-year-old study, but we have a feeling the results still stand today (see what we did there?).
Try taking away the chairs during your next meeting. Allow us to state the obvious and say that standing is harder than sitting. People will be less likely to veer off-topic during a standing meeting, because they’ll really want to get back to their desks.
You might want to make an exception for the person responsible for taking notes during the meeting. And you’ll definitely want to make an exception for anyone who can’t stand for 30 minutes. But try this one out, at least once, and let us know how it goes.