Evolve Your Investor Day to Engage Today’s Investors

When executed correctly, Investor Days are substantial opportunities to engage investors and elevate your IR strategy. Here are our recommendations for success.
Makela Taphorn
Mar 22, 2024

Corporate meeting who talk about new projects and the direction of company development, view from the back of the head.Investor Days are invaluable opportunities that deserve to be leveraged proactively and strategically. Delivering an impactful event for today’s increasingly hybrid audience, however, can be incredibly challenging — and rewarding.

In this article, we assess the state of Investor Days in 2024, draw on our experience to highlight strategies for delivering a message that resonates with audiences inside and outside of the room and explain how a marketing mindset can enhance the long-term ROI of these events. 

The State of Investor Days in 2024

Investor Days in 2024 look and feel notably different than they did five years ago. Today, attendees are much more likely to be remote or watching presentations on demand. The event is shorter and available to a wide audience. Presentations are condensed, engaging and interactive, with ample time allotted to Q&A. This secular trend provides both challenges and opportunities for a company planning an Investor Day in a world where time, attention and focus are precious resources.  

To effectively engage investors and other stakeholders and help them learn about the company and experience its culture, this new hybrid paradigm for Investor Days must proactively leverage technology and high-quality production.

Leveraging Technology and High-Quality Production to Drive Engagement

To reach investors who aren’t in the room and capture their attention amidst a continued digital din, an effective hybrid event requires an added level of production quality “sizzle.” Presentations, video content and other digital communications need to be professional-grade, highly polished and carefully crafted to authentically reflect the company’s brand and demonstrate the unique value proposition it provides to investors and other key stakeholders.

Production quality comes with a cost, but based on our experience planning and executing hybrid Investor Days for a variety of publicly traded companies, the investment is worth it. High-quality material generated for Investor Days can be repurposed in marketing and IR communications for years to come. 

Investor Day videos, presentations and other assets are no longer speaking to just one audience. In today’s virtual, on-demand world, content can be easily consumed by a variety of users. A well-produced message can effectively communicate with not just investors, but customers, employees, community members and other stakeholders. 

For example, Goldman Sachs utilized their 2024 Investor Day platform to highlight not only why you should want to invest, but also why you should want to work for the firm. However, there is a balance to consider when addressing multiple audiences. An example of extreme imbalance is a recent Tesla Investor Day, which wasn’t for investors at all. Elon Musk informed the audience at the opening that he envisioned an Investor Day for “anyone invested in Earth” and not just shareholders, adding that he intended to convey “hope and optimism based on actual physics and calculations.”

Ultimately, an Investor Day should be approached as a foundation for long-term brand storytelling. More than ever, our brains cannot be sparked simply with facts and bullet points; we desire context and examples. Elevated production is not just about creating a flashier video, but about using Investor Days to provide context and authentically communicate your company’s unique value proposition for investors and other stakeholders, as appropriate. 

Adopting a Marketing Mindset

A marketing mindset can help IR leaders plan and execute Investor Days that tell a powerful story while driving the greatest possible long-term ROI. However, thinking like a marketer should not be confused with hard-selling investors. 

Investors don’t want to be sold to, and the focus should always remain on educating them on the risks and rewards of owning stock and providing them with the knowledge needed to make their own decisions. Rather, a marketing mindset refers to a long-term, multi-channel campaign-based strategy for consistently communicating the long-term value proposition of the company, aligning expectations and addressing investors’ front-of-mind concerns.

Investor Day communications should present an authentic picture of:

  • Who your company is, its purpose and how its core values drive decision-making.
  • Differentiating experience, including past results and achievements. 
  • How your company creates unique value in the markets where it operates.
  • Ultimately how the company works to make people’s lives better. 

This narrative can then expand to speak to the business model and how management plans to continue to advance the company’s mission in a competitive marketplace. This message is important not only to investors but also customers, employees, suppliers and other partners. A well-crafted Investor Day can also be a powerful resource for helping the organization coalesce internally. These events are rare opportunities to bring together senior leadership to align on and inculcate a unified, crystal-clear message of the company’s unique value proposition.

Coordinating marketing, communications and IR activities is the best way to ensure that messaging is consistent not only for Investor Days but in all corporate communications. Leveraging the shared expertise and budgets of multiple departments can help economize on resources and enhance the return on an Investor Day investment. 

This cross-functional cooperation is also instrumental for positioning an Investor Day in the context of a longer-term campaign and measuring its impact over time. As part of a marketing campaign mindset, Investor Day planning should evaluate the marketing calendar for the year surrounding the event, with a particular focus on key trade shows, industry conferences or other events that present an opportunity to:

  1. Set the stage for the Investor Day with consistent pre-event communications.
  2. Leverage Investor Day content across multiple events. 
  3. Reinforce Investor Day messaging to investors and other stakeholders in the year(s) following the event.

An Investor Day campaign should be strategically targeted at the desired mix of investors, reflect the company’s strategic priorities for the next 18 to 36 months and tell a powerful story that goes far beyond company financials and performance metrics. Communications should also provide a clear call to action for investors who wish to learn more. 

Driving Return on Investment

The production quality needed for an impactful hybrid Investor Day does cost more compared to a traditional event. But a carefully crafted hybrid event also has the potential to drive far greater long-term ROI — not only on the Investor Day’s direct budget but also on senior management’s time (an incredibly precious resource).

Investor Day presentations, videos and other assets that focus on the company’s unique value proposition, culture and long-term strategy can be repurposed for a wide range of communications. Even a single Investor Day asset can continue to drive value for years across a number of different channels and audiences. For example, a well-produced video of the CEO speaking to core strategic priorities can not only be published on the investor relations website but also be:

  1. Employed as a powerful anchor for About Us messaging on company culture, history and mission.
  2. Edited into snippets optimized for sharing via social media.
  3. Leveraged in ongoing marketing, PR and sales communications.
  4. Used to give leadership a face and clear voice in training and HR materials.

By adopting a campaign-based mindset, generating high-quality assets and planning to optimize these assets for use after the event, an Investor Day can effectively provide a keystone for the long-term coordination of core messaging across multiple business functions. 

Pitfalls To Avoid

The single biggest pitfall for Investor Days is neglecting to proactively invest in getting the most out of these unique opportunities. With limited bandwidth and budget, IROs and/or CFOs can risk falling into the habit of approaching Investor Days as a costly box to check off the list of ongoing IR activities. Doing so, however, leaves potential impact on the table.

Other common pitfalls for Investor Day planning and execution include:

  • An undue focus on tactical details. Perfecting the details of your Investor Day presentation is important, but it can be all too easy to “lose the forest for the trees.” Start with a foundation that includes a clear sense of the organization’s core messages, a well-defined portrait of the audience and how you will engage your audience to provide valuable insight.
  • Messaging only to investors and ignoring other key stakeholders. Consistently communicating across audiences on the “core” of how your company creates value for customers is paramount. While financial results and expectations are important to investors, careful consideration should be taken in how messaging on financial decisions may be perceived to impact other stakeholders. 
  • Neglecting personal preparation for Investor Day leaders. Senior leadership and the heads of key business units will be the face of the company for the Investor Day, and it’s critical to take the time to prepare not only the presentation but the speakers themselves. We recommend at least a six-month pre-event preparation timeline to help speakers feel confident and ready to put their best foot forward. 
  • Missing the opportunity to provide a unique experience for in-person attendees. As today’s environment shifts the focus to hybrid production, Investor Day planning will need to take greater care that in-person attendees do not feel that they are simply stuck in a ballroom to watch a purely digital presentation. There is still great value in gathering in person, and the right activities can promote a sense of exclusivity and camaraderie through networking with like-minded thinkers. Special opportunities like lunch and mingling with company leaders or a post-event social gathering can be great options for ensuring in-person attendees are rewarded for their time.

Crafting an Impactful Investor Day Strategy Is a Challenge You Need Not Face Alone

IR professionals now face the challenge of creating compelling, high-quality events that resonate deeply with a more diverse audience than ever before. To succeed, they must embrace a holistic marketing mindset that goes beyond the scope of traditional Investor Day planning.

If you need a strategic partner to develop an impactful Investor Day, Arbor Advisory Group is here to guide you. We have decades of experience strategizing and managing Investor Days, including end-to-end support for everything from initial outline creation, strategic messaging and speaker preparation to post-event PR and marketing. 

If you have questions about how we can elevate your next Investor Day, we invite you to reach out to our team.

Makela Taphorn

Makela Taphorn

Senior Advisor