Investors are Customers too

Posted in IR Thoughts

There’s a whole world of marketing experts focusing on helping businesses acquire new customers.

There’s a whole world of investor relations people focusing on helping businesses acquire new investors.

From the investors’ perspective, perhaps purchasing some shares is not much different to buying shoes, or a car?

The Customer Journey

A basic tool of marketers is a CRM system. A popular CRM system is SugarCRM (also used by IRM). I recently attended the annual SugarCon (Sugar CRM Conference) in San Francisco. It was a big event – about 1000 delegates, from over 20 countries, with about 30 vendors exhibiting.

There was a clear focus running through all the sessions, discussions and vendor showcases. It’s all about looking at the business “Inside Out”:

  • Taking the Customer’s point of view
  • Understanding the customer journey as they progress towards a decision to buy
  • Reacting individually to potential and actual customers’ needs as they progress on their journey.

One generally accepted conclusion is that even with B2B marketing, the end customer in the target company is a person. An individual decision maker or influencer. Companies as such cannot make decisions, only people can decide on behalf of a company.

Investor Relations

I also recently attended the NIRI (National Investor Relations Institute) annual conference in San Diego. NIRI is the US peak body of investor relations professionals. It was a big event – about 1000 delegates, from over 20 countries, with about 30 vendors exhibiting.

There was a wide range of important issues being addressed in the sessions and by the vendors, including a number of ideas and tools to try to reach potential investor and influencers. But not a clear main focus, as at SugarCon

There was a great deal of focus on institutional investors, analysts, brokers. Institutions, funds, corporations. Much less focus on understanding the individuals within those organisations. No apparent focus on keeping track of individuals in an organised way as they move around.

The Paradox

As far as I can work out I was the only person at both conferences.

At no stage at the NIRI conference, in the sessions, or in the literature or discussion with vendors, did I see or hear either of the phrases “CRM” or “customer journey”.

No-one else has the job of marketing the company’s share to investors, it’s clearly the responsibility of the investor relations people.

What’s going on? Is someone else in companies responsible for marketing the shares to investors? Or do the IR people just not get it?

The Investor Journey

Investors are customers, too. They go through a process to become shareholders, from identifying their “need” for the investment, through discovery and evaluation phases, to a buy decision and later to hold and sell. We call this the Investor Journey.

At IRM, we think that those investor relations people who can apply the investor journey thinking to their share marketing responsibilities will have a major point in time advantage, until the others catch up.

So what?

We have three white papers for download – on the investor journey, the touchpoints investors use as they progress on their journey, and the online success factors – how to perform best in helping investors progress through their journey.

We also have a range of online tools (beginning with investor websites and news services) to help you help investors through their journey, and to help you monitor and manage the process.

Finally, we have a clear understanding of the process. We are using it to drive the ongoing development of our products and services to continue to enhance the support for listed company clients who want to benefit from a clear understanding of the investor journey.

Use the advantage – ask IRM for help implementing the investor journey, and go on your own investor marketing journey with IRM.