How do you build the machine so that is does all the things you need it to?
Know what you’re building
We talked in part #1 of this series about what the Machine is. If you haven’t read that piece, we suggest going back and looking at it before continuing on. In brief, the Machine is an automated system of investor relations tools that gets your 90% of the way to your objectives. The Machine should do most of your work for you. Whether its finding cold leads, drafting content, researching prospects or optimizing campaigns.
Understand your objectives
The Machine exists to give you what you need to succeed. Do you need high net worth investors? Do you need niche analysts? Do you need fewer phone calls from retail investors? The Machine you create can be built to any specifications. As long as you understand the objective you’re hoping to elicit. Look at your investor relations program and think: where is our time currently best spent? how do we currently attract the most new investors? what ‘events’ drive the most trading volume (hint hint, its probably earnings)?
But then take it a step further and consider your objectives. For example; Does your CEO want more meetings with analysts? Would more website traffic drive trading volume? do you want to save money by cancelling events on your NDR calendar? The Machine must be built to achieve these objectives. Otherwise, its just a tool that is being used without a real understanding of its utility.
Get the right tools
The Machine is made up of many moving parts that work together to deliver your objectives. These moving parts are all the tools that you’re currently using as part of your investor relations program. The phone on your desk and the computer you’re reading this on are two such tools, but there are others. Tools can be huge time savers or huge time sinks depending on how they’re being used. Too often, IROs will get into a Maslow’s Hammer situation with their tools.
Get a good mechanic
Tools break all the time. Not because they’re setup incorrectly for the conditions that exist now, but because its very hard to predict how they will perform in an untested environment. To keep the machine running, you need a good mechanic, someone who knows all your tools and how they work together. Do you have the skills to be that mechanic? Almost certainly. But do you have the time to be that mechanic? Almost certainly not. The mechanic greases the wheels, pays the subscriptions, updates the software, fills the content pipeline and reminds you when registration is coming up. The mechanic understands your objectives and can tweak the machine to keep it running towards those objectives, sometimes even without needing your input.