Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creating Pitch Books Without Losing Your Mind… a Sequel

"Creating Pitch Books Without Losing Your Mind… a Sequel: Your Pitch Book - a Foundation for Customizing" is a guest post by designer Margaret Patterson. Her 2007 series about "Creating Pitch Books Without Losing Your Mind" has attracted lots of attention. Thanks for your latest contribution, Margaret!

If you have questions for Margaret, please leave them as a comment. I'll make sure she gets them.


My first article about pitch books provided several “must do” tips to help your firm develop presentations that others will plagiarize, the best compliment attainable.  Readers’ questions have prompted additional pointers about the next phase: customizing.

When is it worthwhile for institutional and high net worth asset managers to customize?
Your first pitch book is a base. But it doesn’t always address your prospective client’s unique concerns. Your key contact at the prospect can tell you what points are most crucial. Add information that addresses their concerns. But be succinct or you’ll overwhelm your prospects with too much information.

As you customize, you should communicate value statements - to your audience, about your audience – to the extent reasonably possible.

What do you mean by value statements?

Focus on how your strategy is a good fit for the prospect's objectives, your ability to provide the level of service the prospect needs, and providing adequate diversification, considering prospect’s current investment profiles.

Will customizing dilute our firm’s branding?
You run the risk of diluting your branding when many employees and consultants contribute to your pitch books. That’s why these projects should be managed and maintained by your marketing department.

Remember that content is both text and graphics. After all, our actions are prompted every day by both words and images. Your book should look and sound impressive. Your writer  can develop Writing Guidelines for your firm, language that consistently supports your branding. You also need Design System Guidelines, if they do not already exist. Share these guidelines with the contributors to your pitch books.

I keep a sign on my office wall, “Big Company Seeking Big Clients.” Keep this mission in mind as you ponder complicated content.

If you customize, how do you keep the versions from getting out of control?
A customized pitch book is a script for your meeting. Limit yourself to information you can comfortably handle in the scheduled meeting time. Allow for Q&A.

Additional valuable information can be provided in companion pieces - market commentaries, performance summaries, firm overview, etc.

Updating charts and tables is a constant problem.

Delegate database updating to employees endowed with considerable diplomacy and perseverance. Make this their primary responsibility. They will acquire information from very busy investment management teams.

Investment managers need deadlines in advance. Allow elbow room.

Feedback?
Input is welcome. Your thoughts may show up in future articles. Let me know if I may quote you.

Margaret Patterson Company creates sales support materials, develops identity systems, and provides production supervision for financial services firms.

Margaret Patterson Company
Corporate Identity & Communications Graphics for Financial Services Firms
mpco AT verizon.net         t   617.971.0328        f   617.971.0327


_________________
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

5 comments:

  1. I think there's "custom" and then there's "mass customization". I mean it's one thing to change page order or a few items on a few pages, but otherwise, if one designs a marketing collateral system that's "modular" you can provide a seemingly high level of customization without a whole lot of headache.

    And, then, as you suggest, there's a bunch of stuff you can also provide additionally -- before or after a meeting, like commentaries, performance, and standard pricing.

    And, here's a question for you, what are your thoughts on including performance and/or pricing in a pitch?

    paul_escobar@ssga.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Paul,

    Thank you for your comments on my blog. Excellent point about designing a modular system. I'll make sure Margaret sees your question.

    ReplyDelete
  3. THIS IS SUSAN, POSTING MARGARET'S RESPONSES TO PAUL'S QUESTIONS

    Good morning Paul,

    P'S Q:
    I think there's "custom" and then there's "mass customization". I mean it's one thing to change page order or a few items on a few pages, but otherwise, if one designs a marketing collateral system that's "modular" you can provide a seemingly high level of customization without a whole lot of headache.
    M'S A:
    Good point about mass customization. This article refers to customizing your pitch book(s) for a presentation to a specific prospect. Your firm benefits by discussing how the recommended strategy(ies) remedy that prospect's unique concerns. Their capital needs (short and long term) are measured. They seek to meet those objectives within realistic risk parameters.

    P'S Q:
    And, then, as you suggest, there's a bunch of stuff you can also provide additionally -- before or after a meeting, like commentaries, performance, and standard pricing...
    M'S A:
    strategy fact sheets, your firm overview, invitations to client round tables, etc.

    P'S Q:
    And, here's a question for you, what are your thoughts on including performance and/or pricing in a pitch?
    M'S A:
    Performance - Absolutely. 1-,3-, 5-, 10-year and since inception. Yours, peers and benchmarks. Firms often omit short or long term results that aren't so good, but prospects will not let you off that hook. They will ask. Not a crisis, market conditions may have put you and competitors in the same predicament.
    Pricing - Not in your printed pitch book. After all, fees for large accounts are often negotiated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Do you have an example of the pitch book I have never seen it used before. steven.paquin@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret Patterson CompanyMarch 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Yes I have many, many examples—projects completed for directors of sales, directors of new business development and/or CMOs. These sales support materials are printed and given to prospective clients ... high net worth and institutional. More importantly, the presentations must work well in the audio-visual room for a full conference table or on a laptop for one-on-one meetings. For example, high net worth baby boomers want to SEE how to manage their investments through retirement and want printed evidence of your multi-generation wealth management recommendations.

      My approach to content development (messaging and graphics) depends on a firm's investment recommendations, services and client base.

      Check me out on LinkedIn for a partial client list, skill sets and experience profile. Call if you want examples. I enjoy sharing ideas and fielding questions.

      Delete

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