How Technology Will Transform Investor Relations in 2020
28 January 2020
By Allyce Maclaren
Artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, machine learning, and other “smart” technologies are transforming the investor relations space. Innovative tools are redefining best practices and empowering IROs to stay ahead of the Street, by improving their program’s efficiency and success. To help you stay informed and set you up for success in the new year, we caught up with industry experts Gabrielle Fernandes, Associate Director, Investor Relations, Novocure, Ruth Cotter, Senior vice President, Human Resources, Worldwide Marketing, and Investor Relations, AMD, and Seth Frank, Vice President, Treasury and Investor Relations, Hanger Inc. to hear about their plans for 2020 and how technology will play a role.
Crafting a compelling message and optimizing investor engagement
One of Gabrielle’s key priorities in 2020 is to “evolve Novocure’s messaging in a way that resonates with existing shareholders and prospective ones as well”. For Gabrielle, this has been a challenge as Novocure “doesn’t fit neatly into a box”. She explains, “there are aspects of our value proposition that resemble the MedTech industry, but there are others that look more like BioTech. We have to always make sure we’re effectively communicating to those different types of investors.”
To achieve this, Gabrielle plans to leverage reporting and analytics to gain better insights into their investor base. She says, “with the help of Q4’s solutions, we’re able to do more with how we understand the investor dialogue and how we can use that to inform our messaging over time.”
This is a sentiment that Ruth also shares, as her investor relations program focuses heavily on “engaging actively and continuously with a broad set of clients”. Heading into the new year, Ruth plans to make an impact with predictive analytics, which she says is “really important to us as we think about how to engage more actively and in real-time”. She continues, “Bringing in multiple data sources and distilling those down into digestible information that can be relayed back to management is something that makes our lives much more simplified.”
Identifying and targeting prospective shareholders
Investor targeting is at the heart of any successful investor relations program, and it should come as no surprise that it’s a top priority for many IR professionals, including Gabrielle. In 2020, she says she is particularly committed to “making sure that we’re being really efficient with how we use our management team’s time” as well as making the best use of her IR team’s time and resources.
To achieve this, she plans to leverage Q4’s AI Targeting tool to uncover the most ideal investors, at exactly the right time. Gabrielle says the tool “has allowed us to be really efficient in how we identify and target specific types of potential shareholders and also how we are able to track how effective we are in our outreach to them.”
Talking to the benefits of technology for investor targeting, Amit Sanghvi, Q4’s Managing Director for Europe, explains that most companies require an array of approaches and strategies to attract different shareholders and investor mixes, including current shareholder movement, peer ownership, and quantitative big data analysis. Examining so much data, however, can “make your head explode.” Instead, Amit recommends solutions like algorithmic analysis and machine learning, technologies that are able to process vast quantities of data, learn from that data and draw conclusions on the fly.
Develop an integrated approach to IR
For Seth Frank, Vice President of Investor Relations at Hangar Inc, 2020 is all about developing a proactive and integrated approach to IR, including a plan of attack for corporate access. Seth notes, “The IR profession is really evolving, particularly around developing one-to-one contact with the investment community.” For him, having a pure-play technology partner like Q4 who can help facilitate those relationships and “build bridges with external constituencies” is critical to success.
This sentiment is experienced by many IR teams, who have felt the added burden of bringing the corporate access work in-house. Heading into 2020, however, many will be looking for support to manage the process, and it seems technological advances are not too far away. In fact, according to Amit, AI-driven tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated and starting to help with the issue of corporate access, and will soon be able to pinpoint elements that can be seen as a turning point towards a buy, in what IROs should see as “a sales process.”
While we might still be far from teleportation and the ability to swipe a report into the boardroom, it’s clear that IR teams are ready for tools and technology that can simplify workload and support day-to-day investor communications.
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