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Posted by on Jan 26, 2011 in E-Letters |

Tips, Traps and Trends

e-letter from HS Marketing

Your Story: Pitch by Examples

January 2011

Dear Clients and Friends,

Your storyline needs a pitch with real examples. Whether you are a fund manager or a service provider, your audience will better understand your business and gain a higher level of trust by hearing specific case studies. Particularly in the current environment of increasingly transparent communications and expectations to that end, it’s a good time to avoid the “secret sauce approach. Be transparent. Distill your strategy or service in layman’s terms. Present by example.

Tips for Managers

  1. Compile a collection of investment examples or case studies for your marketing tool kit. The number depends on the breadth of your strategy or strategies but at least 3-4 can be used as a working guideline.
  2. Any one of your examples should fit within no more than a single page of a pitch book style presentation.
  3. The description for each should include:
    1. The salient descriptive framework or highlights of the investment
    2. Your thesis or rationale for pursuing the opportunity
    3. Timeframe
    4. Results
  4. Create a visual template for your examples and apply it consistently.
  5. For in-person discussions or group presentations, use each written and visual case study as your “prop” to present how your strategy is applied. Plan to allot a fairly consistent amount of time to each example if possible while trying to stay on message. This part of a presentation can easily lead the storyteller off message and result in unexpected detours. Keep an eye on the clock.
  6. If your strategy covers multiple sub-sectors, be sure to replicate that same cross-section in your collection of examples.

Tips for Service Providers

  1. Your examples may be called “case studies” or “success stories” or “client solutions.” Regardless of the label applied, it is to your benefit to use these examples as an integral part of your pitch. Prospects will gain a fuller appreciation of your services once they hear how your clients have used your services.
  2. The description of each example should include:
    1. Type of client (use descriptive characteristics if client is unnamed)
    2. What was the challenge or mandate for you to resolve?
    3. How did your services address the challenge?
    4. What were the results, solutions and/or benefits to the client?
  3. In addition to case studies, client testimonials can strengthen the credibility of your pitch.

Traps to Avoid

  1. Avoid outdated examples. Keep your content fresh, particularly as market conditions change and your recent experiences provide fresh examples.
  2. Fund managers must be careful about cherry-picking the examples used for illustrative purposes. Be sure to obtain legal review of your materials (online and offline) including appropriate disclaimer language within the presentation.
  3. Fund managers should not expect investors to believe that the strategy is always profitable. Be prepared to present some examples of investment mistakes you have made and the lessons learned from them.

Examples are an integral part of storytelling. They need to reinforce your brand. Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it? What is your value proposition? Check out an earlier e-letter: First Impressions Become Lasting Impressions. Branding as an Asset.


Holly Singer, President, HS Marketing, LLC

Princeton Junction, NJ 08550 | tel. 609.275.1303