CIMs have got to be the worst marketing materials in all of coporate america

Working on a few CIMs right now (either creating one on sellside or reviewing in depth on buyside).   Its just ridiculous.  Every page is jammed packed with figures, chart, subheading quotes, footnotes etc.  It's like having extreme ADHD your eyes just zip around to quotes, figures, charts. Page after page.

Instead of a clear slide with a central message, its a 4 quadrant clusterfuck with tons of random sub titles, charts inside charts, numbers, and insanely OCD footnoting that fills 20% of the page

Then you have these word salad "investment highlights" pages that look like an early gen AI bot wrote.  They tell me nothing.

So many repetitive bullets that really don't tell you anything.

The only worthwhile part is the financial section, but again, its diluted by some BS side bar "management commentary" section talking about product volume mix in some roundabout way that could be stated in like 6 words vs 10 bullets.

Don't get me started on insane EBITDA bridges of like 25 different items that somehow makes sense?

As a marketing document, they are absolute shit.  Even the team pages usually have low res awkward photos that any professional marketing person would be aghast on how pre 2010s it looks.

Occasionally I'll see a barebones CIM with lots of fancy images/graphics that looks like a real marketing professional made it and its lights years ahead of what most banks produce.  Hell, even a word document just describing the business in paragraphs would be 1000x better than an ADHD word salad ppt doc.

Is it just me?


I’ll be honest the pain that came with making a CIM was one of the main reasons I left banking recently

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Agreed, don’t understand why we need a cim and a teaser. Make a 10-20 page teaser and if they’re seriously interested move them on to the MP. Few times we had a client set a page count limit at ~20 pages and it was the most liberating thing - you CAN make an effective point with less than 80 fucking slides. More clients should demand briefer materials.


Have seen quite a few MDs over the years swearing that pages were scarce resource and so it was the analyst’s duty to fill them as much as possible.

Resulted in awful presentations that were impossible to read. Guaranteed the prospects didn’t read them either.

That being said, a good portion of the value of a CIM is that it can be taken as screenshot to include in internal memos. Investment highlights generally don’t tell you much, but everyone expects them. And if you compare those to the materials using by companies going public, it’s actually not that different.


Every once in a while when goofing off at the office, I'll find random things like old training materials, tote bags from Christmas parties of yore, and old CIPs from the early 2000s.

They pretty much were just word docs that described the company in paragraphs interspersed with a couple of very basic graphs.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

You clearly haven’t spent that much time on buyside projects. No one on the buyside reads the CIM as a cohesive presentation on the business. When on the buyside, I just want a cim that has as much data / info as possible so that I can do my work. Period. I hate slick, cohesive CIMs with no useful data. That really pisses me off


This is actually why CIMS are such bad marketing documents.

Buyers just want the data/info.   Thats actually called a datapack .

The entire sale process charade could be handled with a 2 page teaser, a model, a datapack with key metrics/data buyers care about, and a short management pres deck that just helps management answers questions buyers care about.

All the stupid verbiage is pointless.

And most of the data in cims is overwhelming (too many charts/figures).  A buyers has to parse through to find the truly important stuff around graph and chart after chart (often like 8 different ones on one slide surrounded by bullet points).


It always felt like an infinite glitch of the memes for "what I think I do, what my parents/friends think I do...." And you see a great CIM that's concise and 18-20 pages even and you're elated. 
Then the fact you're likely to have to do a review/summarized CIM. And then the lender does one. Or the broker has a terrible one highlighted with ridiculous discount rates, equity growth assumptions and hockey stick growth. Or software and MRR on a discounted month from Black Friday/end-of-year signups that act like the MRR is the ARR and use the growth rate from that highlight for valuations. 
The honest, decidedly key CIMs with some appendix pages well-documented are so nice. There are all levels of the spectrum - you hope yours always has room for improvement but that it's decisively enough to answers or sets the stage for the questions of "Can we dig into this?" or "If I were curious, what's the next likely question that draws interest?" 


Worked at a buy side internship last summer, and the most ridiculous cim that I looked at was 500 pages long. This was for an engineering design firm, and 450 of those pages were “selected projects.” Keep in mind this was just pictures and computer models of their projects. No customer info, revenue of the project, contract type, costs associated, or any other information that would have been helpful. Just shitty pictures of the projects. It was LMM so ig that’s to be expected.


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