And now, for something completely different…The IR Success Platform

27 February 2019

By Matthew Tractenberg

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I recently joined Q4 as “Investor Relations Partner,” charged with helping the team develop and deploy our new IR Success Platform and advisory service. I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to collaborate with the market’s most passionate and innovative leaders. Excited to leverage a full technology platform that’s purpose-built for the IRO. And excited to introduce fellow IROs to a new, innovative platform designed to reduce their workload, improve their work product, and help them achieve their unique goals.

As a team of seasoned IROs, market intelligence experts, technology specialists, and account leads, we’re solely dedicated to understanding your program and helping you succeed. Essentially, we are your extended IR team. No more fighting for headcount. Oh…and the best part? There’s no additional cost. We’re offering the IR Success Platform, as a value-added service, to help our clients leverage our technology and beyond.

But first, let me give you a bit of background on how and why I got into the world of IR. I began more than a dozen years ago through a finance track…yup, I’m a self-proclaimed finance geek. I’ve worked at small, big, and mega-cap companies across a variety of sectors. Each one was different and unique. I enjoyed them all. As I moved through my career, I intently watched how others were running their program.

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What I found over the years is that each program is different, shaped by tenure, education, sector, resources, executive preferences, etc. Because of this, our goals are often very different too. We manage our resources, utilize tools, and allocate time in our own individual ways. Some of us report to the CEO, some to the CFO, others to the CCO, and some to the Treasurer (some might even be the Treasurer or CFO, which is another issue onto itself). The point I’m making is that IR, unlike any other function, is what you and your company make of it. It’s unique to you.

While this provides a very special value proposition, it also forces us to wear a number of different hats, and get involved into areas that expand outside of the IR realm — both a blessing and a curse.

First, it generates enormous opportunity for you to deliver value to a wide audience, both internally and externally. You are considered to be a valuable business partner company-wide, to a number of different functions including legal, finance, communications, sales, operations, accounting, PR, and so on. But it also wreaks havoc on your ability to effectively plan your workflow. Putting out fires are a daily occurence. They take over your calendar, forcing you to postpone that exercise or report you were hoping to construct, that trip you were going to plan, or that call you were going to make.

You perform high-value activities that require a specialized skill set. From pitching your company stock for a room full of investors, to crafting a strategic message that shapes perception, discussing that next acquisition, or addressing the subject of activism at a Board meeting, your insights are critical to the C-suite. This is where you deliver the most value to your company, investors, and executives. You’re constantly ensuring that you and your C-Suite are speaking to the right audiences on Wall Street, saying the right things, at the right time, in the right place.

The reality, however, is that your role often also requires a lot of tactical work; constructing briefing books, selecting conference attendees, crafting internal reports, etc. Without a doubt, all of this is absolutely necessary in preparing yourself and your leadership team to be effective. While all of this logistical support might simply be reduced to “housekeeping,”  you can’t ignore its importance. The issue is that these transactional tasks can also keep you away from delivering your most strategic value possible. This is where we come in. We can take on and help you automate many of the more repetitive tasks that keep you from your C-suite, investors, and Boards — so you can be where you’re most needed.

We have different backgrounds, come from a variety of functions, and often wear several hats at the same time. But we can’t all be experts in every enterprise function. The good news is that whatever you may lack in IR experience, communications or financial skills, the Q4 team can help you deliver. Only held a couple of Investor Days? Never used surveillance or targeting? Thinking about experimenting with a virtual Shareholder Meeting? As your partner, we can fill in the gaps, drawing from our deep experience with a broad and diverse client list.

We can bring best practices to your program, share with you new and innovative methods, and help you streamline your processes. And we’ll also keep you up-to-date on industry trends and regulatory changes, all the while remembering that you are often short on time. We want you to achieve your goals. We can be your strategic partner, the Robin to your Batman.

I joined Q4, in-part because I love IR. I love the discussions, the energy, the strategizing. I enjoy interpreting the competitive and macroeconomic environment, and deciphering what the capital markets are telling us. I loved getting on the road and meeting with investors and analysts. And, I’ve always been passionate about exchanging ideas with my fellow IROs.

But above all, I fully believe in what Q4 is creating. Our goal is to help clients be more successful, in a world where they’re asked to do more with less. You’re being pulled in multiple directions and asked to be an expert on all things. The part that should give you comfort: this culture of volatility that you inherently fight … we all fight. It’s one of the common threads that connect every IR program. We understand you and where you want to go. Let us be your IR partner and help you succeed.

Matt Tractenberg is IR Partner at Q4. He has a passion for combining IR with corporate strategy, to help customers identify opportunities and evolve their IR programs.

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