June 28, 2024

Marketing on The Road to IPO

By: Beth Oporto, Melissa Lotito

Embarking on the journey to an initial public offering (IPO) is like navigating a complex and dynamic road. It demands strategic marketing and thorough preparation to ensure a smooth ride to public markets. Below is a short guide to the essential marketing considerations needed for the road to IPO.

01. Mapping the IPO Landscape

State of the IPO Market

The IPO landscape today resembles a well-paved road, increasingly welcome to new travelers. Market dynamics have shifted, fostering investor confidence and expanding demand. This is evident from the diverse array of issuers, including billion-dollar offerings from Arm, Kenvue, and Birkenstock, and the resurgence of venture-backed firms like Instacart and Klaviyo. Businesses now find a friendlier route to going public, but not without its hazards or twists and turns.

Key Factors Influencing the Journey:

  • Interest Rates: Stable interest rates act like smooth tarmac, making the journey less bumpy by boosting investor risk tolerance and reducing financing costs.
  • Inflation: Predictable inflation provides a clear weather forecast, fostering market confidence.
  • Regulation: Stricter regulatory scrutiny can be seen as roadblocks, making the process more challenging and time-consuming, affecting valuations and investor sentiment.
  • Valuations: Market expectations for IPO valuations have been recalibrated.
  • Technology: Emerging technologies and digital transformation trends reshape the landscape, impacting industries and competitive dynamics.
  • Perception: Market perception and consumer confidence are like road signs, guiding the investor sentiment and company valuations.

Deciding to Take the Public Road

Deciding to go public is a significant turn on a company’s journey, marked by several motivations:

  • Acquisitions: Using publicly-traded stock as currency for acquisitions.
  • Ownership Structure: Diversify investor holdings
  • Talent Attraction: Attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Capital Access: Accessing public capital markets for expansion.
  • Liquidity: Providing liquidity for existing shareholders.
  • Brand Enhancement: Elevating the company’s brand.
  • Mission Drive: Advancing the company’s mission.

Key Questions for Marketers:

  • Do you have a clearly articulated brand strategy aligned to your business plan?
  • Is your management team prepared for further transparency and the potential media spotlight?
  • Do you have your martech stack set up to prepare to provide quarterly OKRs as needed?
  • Do you have the right resources and specific skillsets within the team required to be a public entity (e.g., employee communications, investor relations, PR/media, product marketing, digital/social/content)?
  • Is the post IPO planned with a follow-on marketing cadence?

02. Building the Marketing Roadmap

Marketing plays a pivotal role in navigating the IPO journey encompassing several phases. At Ricciardi Group, we work with partners like Class V Group to support the end-to-end IPO journey. Class V focuses on IPO readiness through project management and capital markets advisory, while the Ricciardi Group stays focused on building your core story and bringing it to life with a go-to-market plan that extends beyond IPO day. We work with our media partners to help activate your messaging further in the press. Below is your checklist to Post IPO.

Pre-IPO (12 Months Prior)

  • *Brand Story: Refine and crystallize the brand story to solidify the messaging platform across investors, customers, prospects, media, employees and other intermediaries.
  • *Data and Case Studies: Support the brand story with robust data and case studies on product and services.
  • *Strategic Planning: Plan product launches, conferences, and media activities to coordinate or align with a public market debut.
  • *Website Readiness: Ensure the company website is IPO-ready, with clear value propositions, updated content, and infrastructure to handle increased traffic.
  • *SEO/SEM: Raise awareness for brand digitally and carefully monitor brand’s positive and negative sentiment

IPO Preparation (6 Months Prior)

  • *Equity Story: Enhance the equity story for the S-1 filing and roadshow materials.
  • Media Teach-ins and Training: Conduct media training and low-profile institutional marketing.
  • Material Preparation: Prepare S-1 and roadshow materials, including investor presentations and roadshow video.

IPO Crunch Time (1-3 Months Prior)

  • *Negotiate Exchange Offering: Finalize exchange offerings and develop the IR site and calendar.
  • *Go-to-Market Planning: Solidify marketing, media, digital and employee engagement plans with chosen exchange.
  • Roadshow: Launch the roadshow and set the IR calendar. Note: These are conducted faster than before COVID; many are virtual and therefore, faster. Stay nimble to shifting IPO dates.


  • PR, Communications and Media Strategy: Conduct media interviews and social activation.
  • *Event Planning: Plan IPO day events and employee celebrations.
  • *Digital Activation: Launch owned, paid and social programs to create a surround sound of activity.

Post-IPO (6-12 Months After)

  • *Events & Communications: Craft your narrative around first analyst day financials and/or product launches. Prepare your team for post-IPO client meetings. Book your event space and plan the event with your exchange.

Post-IPO (Ongoing)

  • Investor Relations: Deliver on promises and manage investor expectations.
  • *Marketing Cadence: Continue with the established marketing cadence and activate exchange marketing commitments.

*Supported by Ricciardi Group services

Navigating the Quiet Period

Understanding the SEC’s quiet period compliance requirements is crucial. Normal business communications can continue, but substantive commentary about the business, its performance, or financial results must be avoided.

Building the Right Team for the Journey

Having the right corporate management team is imperative. The division of responsibilities between IPO marketing tactics and day-to-day business activities is essential for smooth decision-making and execution. Solidify corporate governance and board of directors representation.

PR Strategy and Metrics

A smart PR strategy should be developed in tandem with the IPO marketing plan. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) for brand awareness and perceptions among analysts and investors. A successful pre-IPO PR program should assert the company’s market positioning, mission, competitive differentiation, growth trajectory, and leadership profile.

Role of Investor Relations (IR)

The IR team is instrumental in the IPO process, creating and driving the roadshow, establishing relationships with analysts, and communicating with investors. Marketing must provide IR with a strong understanding of the brand story to infuse in communications.

Optimizing Your Martech Stack

Ensure the martech stack is optimized for rapid growth, supporting the company’s marketing and reporting needs during and after the IPO process.

Marketing is a vital component of the IPO journey, requiring meticulous planning, strategic execution, and continuous adaptation to market dynamics. By focusing on these key areas, companies can navigate the road to IPO with agility to position themselves for sustained growth in the public markets.

Subscribe to our newsletter

We value your privacy. We don't spam.