Since 1992, WILink’s mission has been to help companies attract and communicate with quality investors. Their PrecisionIR program concentrates on targeting new shareholders from both the Institutional investor and high net-worth individual investor audiences. This year, WILink will make more than 7 million investor introductions to over 4,000 public companies through services including the Annual Reports Service, the Fund Info Service, Vcall webcasting and Informed Investors Forums. These services ensure WILink’s clients targeted visibility within the investment community by providing investors free access to onsite and webcast investor events and company reports through WILink's relationships with over 200 financial media channels around the world.
IR magazine asked WILink Chief Operating Officer Patrick Galleher about the decisions IROs must make when choosing a webcasting provider.
Q: Why should IR officers turn to WILink for their webcasts?
A: When we acquired Vcall last year we saw an opportunity to better serve our clients by integrating webcasting with our existing services and fully exploiting what was originally a compliance tool. Today, we have turned Vcall webcasting into an investor-marketing tool. We help companies leverage webcasting to attract and build interest with institutional and high net-worth retail investors through compelling and on-going communication. For us, and our IR clients, the application of expert webcasting can energize and complete the investor communication circle. Vcall webcasting is a vital step in our PrecisionIR suite of services.
Q: Why do you call it PrecisionIR?
A: PrecisionIR reflects our focus on developing a target audience for public companies and reaching that precise investor segment with tailored and relevant communications. We then feed back information on investors that enables companies to gauge investor response to their message and further refine their targets.
Q: What, precisely, do you do?
A: We begin by providing a profiled database of institutional investors and building an audience of high net worth investors from which IROs select and target. They can choose from our investor network the level of visibility and media channels best suited to attracting the investors they want. Through Vcall.com, opt-in alert programs, investor forums and our channel partner network, we target the investors most likely to be interested and build our client’s database of responsive investors.
Then companies use our new email program, called InvestorContact, to communicate directly with the investors who have expressed interest in their firm and the institutional contacts that meet their targeting criteria. IROs can tailor email messages to the interests of those investors using the profile information that is part of the database. All of this information and tools are easily accessible on IRDesktop.
Our IRDesktop Internet site is really the communication and action center for our clients. There they can access their retail and institutional investor databases, the InvestorContact email tool and get daily analysis of who is requesting their annual reports and who is listening to their webcasts. From IRDesktop they can further refine their message and their targets.
Q: How else can companies tailor their message?
A: In order to tailor their message it is critical for IROs to understand the issues on the minds of their investor audience. We've launched another product called PeerEvents, which helps them do just that. Essentially, it is an interactive database of more than 4,000 earnings and conference call transcripts. By tracking their industry peers' events and conducting keyword searches across transcripts of those earnings events, IROs can learn what the investment community wants to know about their industry and company -- and can coach their CEO to adapt the message accordingly.
Clients also receive quarterly benchmark reports that provide more profile information on interested investors. We can execute custom investor surveys with even more in-depth analysis of investor response. That lets IROs continually refine their target audience and tailor their message.
Q: What else makes Vcall unique?
A: We are the only webcast provider that does the whole soup to nuts show. We use our own technology and our in-house staff does the encoding. We've got the best audio quality in the business and handle the webcast's entire "touch and feel" so that we manage all the details internally. That's a huge competitive advantage. If I were an IR officer, I wouldn't put my neck on the line and buy a webcast from somebody who turns around and outsources it.
Being a confident speaker is advantageous, but few CEOs today can resist the urgent demands from the informationally-dispossesed multitude. "Today's CEOs are under scrutiny and investors want to hear them answer tough questions," adds Patrick Galleher, chief operating officer at WILink, "Investors want to note when the CEO pauses and hear the tone of his voice."
Indeed, tools like Q&A, online registration and participant surveys let companies build a data base to keep closer links with some of their most interested investors and prospects. In light of today's credibility issues, survey products are becoming especially popular. "IROs need to complete the communication loop," says WILink's Galleher. "Feedback lets IROs discover how well their message was received. If there are issues, they can work to refine the communication and perhaps the delivery."
Still, all these clever and proactive tools that make webcasting even more valuable aren't much use if you don't have an audience. "Companies should build audiences for their webcast," says WILink's Galleher. "Even with the most compelling and interactive webcast, investors need to be reminded and invited. This is not a case of 'build it and they will come'."