Are “Pitchbooks” Outdated?
March 1, 2016
by Beverly Flaxington
Baupost's investment process involves "never-ending" gleaning of facts to help support investment ideas Seth Klarman writes in his end-of-year letter to investors. In the letter, a copy of which ValueWalk has been able to review, the value investor describes the Baupost Group's process to identify ideas and answer the most critical questions about its potential Read More
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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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Do we still need the traditional pitchbook? Our new marketing person is spending a lot of time revamping ours, and it begs the question of whether it is necessary. We do a lot of questioning rather than pitching, and we use our iPads to show prospects and clients information. The pitchbook seems like an outdated method of communicating.
If you don’t use a pitchbook and you don’t need one, why is your marketing person spending time working on one? I’m going to assume there was a request or potential change in your brand or your marketing approach. Pitchbooks are good and necessary when a firm is working on honing its story and the way everyone in the firm tells it. If you have taken the time to newly define your brand, or how you deliver what you do to clients, a pitchbook can help with the storytelling. You can roll out a new story using a pitchbook format with your team.
That said, I agree that you may not even need a formal pitchbook for meetings with prospects and clients. Once your team is consistent and telling a similar story, you probably will only need your iPad for reference purposes or perhaps one-page handouts if the prospect or client wants a hard copy take-away piece.
Pitchbooks can still serve a purpose. It’s important when constructing one to consider the reason behind it. For example, if you are creating it purely for leave behind purposes, you’ll go a lot lighter on graphs and charts. You won’t want a lot of copy. Instead, you will create it like a brochure touting your firm’s background, capabilities and how you solve client needs. You might want to have a section outlining the client experience and illustrating what a client can expect from working with you.
If your advisors do use pitchbooks to present some portion of your story, you could create a series of pages that simply speaks to the area that they want to cover. In other words, you don’t need to have all aspects of your story laid out. If you have, for example, a unique investment process to construct client portfolios, you might just develop pitchbook pages that explain your process. It can help a new prospect, an existing client or a Center of Influence to more easily follow what you are presenting.
There are many nontraditional ways to use traditional pitchbooks. I suggest you ask your marketing person for the reason behind creating one. It may be an assumption that it’s needed without a real understanding of the application and how it will be used. In that case, you may be right that it is unnecessary. However, he or she may have received a request, may be using it for internal purposes or may have an idea of where portions of a pitchbook could be used in the sales process.
It speaks to an issue I raise quite a bit in developing marketing materials: they shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. First you want to understand the sales process or client servicing process each advisor uses and then match the materials to the process. Know where the questioning piece happens, where the iPad presentation takes place and where a pitchbook might (or might not) have a place.
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