Doesn’t matter the role, skillset, or experience, practically every investment professional seems to have an opinion on the “right” way to build their pitch book (a/k/a “marketing deck,” “pitch deck,” etc). And it’s because of that we see so many of them doing it “wrong.” You know the saying, “put 10 economists in a room and you’ll get 11 different answers…” I wish we only got 11 different opinions when putting fund managers in a room to discuss constructing their pitch book.
When it comes to developing the message and value proposition, building consensus is essential. It can’t be done well without everyone being on the same page. Same goes for the creative strategy. Aligning opinions and getting team buy-in on the flow and prioritization of the message upfront is absolutely the right thing to do.
But when it comes to writing the actual copy or working with a designer on visuals and layout… it can no longer be a team sport.
Collaboration isn’t the problem. I love collaboration. It’s the compromise that inevitably results from decisions made by committee that I take issue with.
In our experience, compromise is the enemy of great creativity.
Things typically go well until the first draft is presented to the team. That’s when all sorts of new messaging points and ideas on language start getting suggested. It’s a discovery process that requires iteration, so I’m not saying feedback is a bad thing. But when the decision is made to include all these new points (along with all the old points) – or when multiple writers / designers get involved – things invariably start to go awry.
That’s when you start to get pitch books that are full of “me too” words and generic statements.
The fact is you can’t satisfy everyone. And you shouldn’t try to. Give everyone a say, but not a vote. Otherwise, you will likely find yourself endlessly re-working the deck until the message becomes so diluted that it is indistinguishable from the powerful story you initially intended to tell.
If a camel is a “horse built by committee,” a pitch book built by committee is more like a platypus. No offense to any platypus-fans out there, but if you know anything about them (egg-laying, venomous mammals with a duck bill and beaver-like tail), that’s definitely not a compliment.
You want to build a pitch book that is impactful? DO build consensus, collaborate, discuss, iterate… all the things you know to do to isolate your message. Be a team-player, but DO NOT water down the deck simply for the sake of being inclusive.