“You Can’t Put a Price on a Handshake” – 5 Creative Ways to Bring Sell-siders and Buy-siders Together Face to Face
Over the past few years, we’ve all gotten used to (and, in many cases, tired of) virtual investor events, conferences, and roadshows. There’s no question that the format offers advantages, with convenience and cost-savings top of the list. But as our recent experience made crystal clear, the value gleaned from face-to-face interactions with both the buy- and the sell-side just can’t be duplicated in a virtual setting.
We took the opportunity to head to Miami last week partly to escape the Midwest winter but also to host a unique in-person event with three of our clients who were in town to attend an industry trade show. With both buy- and sell-siders in attendance, our event began with a brief moderated panel discussion followed by a cocktail hour which generated overwhelmingly positive feedback and was unanimously dubbed a good use of everyone’s time.
For us, the biggest takeaway was that companies don’t have to—and maybe shouldn’t—wait until the next sell-side sponsored event to get in front of analysts and investors. Any kind of event that is engaging, allows for face-to-face interaction, and gives exposure to your management team can be an extremely worthwhile endeavor, especially at a time when Wall Street is more than ready to get back out there in person.
In other words, now’s the time to be opportunistic and proactively explore how to bring your stakeholders together for some good old-fashioned relationship building. Here are a few creative ways to put together a well-attended, high-impact in-person event:
- Take advantage of already scheduled events. Consider looking for occasions where large numbers of sell-siders and buy-siders will be in attendance, such as industry conferences or in a city where there are already several Wall Street conferences going on. Then see how and where you can work your event into the itinerary. Attendees will appreciate the convenience and the added value your additional opportunity will offer.
- Mix business with pleasure when it makes sense. In-person events of all kinds are back, and people are showing that they are definitely ready to network and socialize. We strategically structured our 2.5-hour event as a 15-minute moderated panel discussion followed by a cocktail hour to give attendees the right mix of formal and casual conversation for relationship building and idea sharing. The format allowed sell-side analysts and investors to log valuable facetime with executive management teams . . . and have a good time doing it.
- Double (or triple) dip where you can. The event brought together the management teams of three different companies that operate in the same industry for one unique event. While it can be tricky to get multiple management teams to agree to a joint event, keeping the moderated panel discussion agenda high level, sticking to broad industry trends, and selecting topics strategically so as to avoid any stepping on of toes will help. There will naturally be a lot of analyst coverage crossover, and the audience will benefit from hearing multiple perspectives and gaining robust industry intelligence all in one go. So, it’s a great use of everyone’s time.
- Leverage your surroundings. Whether your event will take place in a sought-after travel destination or the hometown of your corporate headquarters, consider planning it in a unique locale. After many conferences and roadshows spent staring at a screen within the confines of their own home offices, your participants and attendees will surely appreciate a change of scenery. And the right setting can put everyone in the right mood for networking and making valuable connections.
- Create an interesting and value-added agenda. Even when there aren’t opportunities to hitch on to a trade show in a sunny or exotic destination, you can still design a unique and high-interest itinerary that gives your audience more than one reason to attend and will bring the sell-siders and buy-siders to you. Facility tours and plant tours are one idea. You could also structure an event around displaying your products or services and/or offering attendees the opportunity to interact with them hands-on.
A little legwork may be all it takes to make the stars align
The reality is in-person events are back to stay, and they present the best format for relationship building with both the sell-side and the buy-side. But equally excellent opportunities are not all that hard to find if you’re willing to put in a little brainstorming time. This could also be a unique (and less costly) alternative to an investor day that still achieves the same goal of engaging investors. If you need some help thinking outside the box about how to engage your investors and analysts outside of the same old events, give us a call. We can assist with planning, coordinating, and executing to make every detail of your event a success.