Even in the best of times, it's not easy for good news to dominate the headlines. But in the current economic climate, it seems harder than ever to find stories of success and innovation in the business and trade press.
But that doesn't mean that good things aren't happening.
It's well documented that recessions often spur the kinds of innovations we read about for years to come. Cases in point: Charles Schwab, FedEx, Microsoft and Vanguard were all born in the recession of the mid-70s.
Similarly, albeit on a different scale, my own company provides investor relations and webcasting services that are used by more than 3,000 public and private companies worldwide. We've responded to this prolonged period of economic uncertainty by innovating our products, improving our service and doing more than ever to help IROs meet and exceed their investor outreach goals.
Here are just three examples of how we're helping our clients look smarter and achieve more:
1. Buy-side targeting made simple: We've just relaunched PrecisionQT, our proprietary quant targeting service. It offers the easiest way ever to screen more than 14,000 funds to identify a company's most compatible institutional targets. For every fund we track, we're able to generate a company-specific QT Score that takes into account the fund manager's investment philosophy and current portfolio mix. IROs are amazed by the product and the price. The annual subscription cost is exceptionally low. And we've also started offering select data from PrecisionQT free to the thousands of clients who subscribe to our retail-oriented Annual Report Service.
2. Budgeting—and unlimited electronic lead generation—made simple. The market turmoil of the last couple of years created has created tremendous peaks and valleys in terms of retail investor participation. No one sees that more clearly than we do. Each day, we generate orders for company-specific information from the high-net-worth investors we reach through more than 300 print and online channels, including The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, Fortune, Forbes.com, Barron's and The Motley Fool. This year, we've responded to the needs of our IRO clients by giving them the option to subscribe to our service at a fixed monthly rate based on their planned budget and volume. And we're even building into our offering the potential for unlimited upside in terms of electronic lead generation. Clients love the consistency—and the potential to introduce more investors than ever their investment story.
3.Market analysis made simple: One of the biggest ways we're making life easier for clients in 2010 is with a comprehensive monthly analysis of their high-net-worth investor audience. Our new reporting uses visual charting to display relevant, actionable information that helps IROs make better-informed decisions about messaging and how to focus their outreach efforts. These new reports are designed to help the IRO get smart fast about how levels of investor interest—and perceptions of her company—may shift from one month to the next. It's exactly the kind of customer-focused innovation that demonstrates to our clients how committed we are to their success.
As every IRO knows, investors in today's turbulent, fast-changing market have their assumptions challenged and their convictions tested on a daily, if not minute-by-minute, basis. It's a world of often-unfiltered news and opinion in which every new headline, every new rumor that cascades through the blogosphere, can have an impact—often negative—on a company's stock price.
And it's a world that lets bad news travel fastest of all.
Today, each IRO faces an enormous dual challenge to: a) maintain control of her company's investment story; and b) use all the traditional and digital tools now available to deliver timely and credible investor communications.
Ours is just one small company based in Richmond, Va. But we're at the forefront of much of the innovation going on in the IR world. Solving problems doesn't always generate headlines. But it's always good news for our IRO clients. And I, for one, sure would like to see more good news and success stories highlighted in the media and industry trades like this one.
Bob Maguire is Senior Vice President/Global Sales at Richmond, Va.-based PrecisionIR Group, a company that works with more than 3,000 public and private companies worldwide to deliver communications solutions targeting retail investors, institutional investors and financial advisors.