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Strategic Investor Relations for Technology Companies

Link Your Marketing and Investor Messaging

The reason to link your marketing and investor messaging is because they represent the same value proposition.  They just need to be nuanced for different audiences.

To attract a customer – or an investor – a company must answer two fundamental questions:

  1. What’s in it for me?
  2. What makes you different?

For customers, your value proposition is how your solutions help customers achieve their business objectives.  In other words, how are you going to drive value for them?

Customers need to understand what differentiates your solution to achieve this.  They also need to feel confident that if they choose you from their short list, you won’t let them down once they are a customer.  All of this goes into their due diligence.

For investors and Wall Street analysts, a company’s value proposition is how effectively it executes on its value proposition to customers.  Investors love relevant metrics that demonstrate this.  That is a large part of their due diligence.

Revenues, income and cash flow are the primary metrics that drive valuation in either public or private markets.  They reflect how effectively a company is executing on its value proposition.

Focus Messaging on the Outcomes

Your marketing content must educate, demonstrate and validate ways in which your technology helps customers achieve strategic initiatives to drive financial outcomes.  Your financial messaging must do the exact same thing – nuanced for the investment community.

There is a common misperception among technology companies that the better the features and benefits of their solutions, the better their story.  They often build marketing campaigns and investor pitches around the features and benefits of their products and services – as they define them.

After all, isn’t that what customers buy, and what investors buy into?  The short answer to both of these questions is, “No”.

Features and benefits only have value from the customer’s point of view.  From product engineering to sales and marketing, this means understanding the customers’ environment and needs.  It means getting to know their decision team, how they function and what their buying cycle is.

Today, these teams are not just comprised of the IT staff.  They now include application or business owners.  More frequently, compliance and security personnel are also part of the decision team.

Once customers see the features and benefits from their perspective, your value becomes apparent to them.  You escalate from solving a pain point to becoming strategic.  Sales cycles shorten and close rates improve, with pricing becoming less deterministic to the sale.

Similarly, investor messaging should focus on their need – portfolio performance.  Portfolio managers have many choices on where to deploy capital.  Meanwhile, sell-side analysts are burdened with how many companies they cover.

They all want to hear and see how you will execute on your value proposition to customers to drive growth and company valuation.  What differentiates you to make your stock or company a more compelling investment than others?

What customers and investors learn from your content is then cross-referenced with information they gather about you from analyst firms and media sites.  These other sources provide them with independent research on market trends, competitor offerings and product evaluations, which are integral to the research and buying cycle – both the customer’s buying cycle and the portfolio managers’.

Conclusion

The key to connecting with customers – and investors – is to understand their business issues, goals and aspirations.  The better you understand and articulate the key fundamental drivers of your market the more integral you become to the strategy discussion.

As such, your marketing and investor messaging must state your vision for your space, the thought leadership that defines your role in shaping your space’s future, the strategic initiatives you have put in place to achieve this, and your track record of execution to realize it.

The success of your marketing campaigns, lead generation and close rates will be determined by how effectively you communicate to customers how you will positively impact their business outcomes and achieve performance objectives.  Driving time-to-value ensures customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Companies that succeed at this attract more customers – and capital.

Without closing this loop on technology, strategy and finance for customers and investors neither is compelled to act.  This is the most important factor in differentiation.  It is the measure of how good your story really is.

The messaging in your communications should be clear, concise, credible, consistent and compelling.  When your marketing and investor messaging are linked and nuanced it benefits all of your stakeholders – from customers and investors to partners and employees.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.

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