For investor relations professionals in 2023, it's been a year of tech leaps and market shifts. The spotlight was on ESG factors shaping investment choices, AI and machine learning bringing new levels of efficiency (and raising new questions), and a focus on cybersecurity, especially with the SEC's new rules for disclosure.
Plus, the investor community saw a continued shift to digital and remote ways of connecting, highlighting the need for engaging and intuitive investor relations tools.
Despite facing headwinds from global events and economic uncertainties, the markets also showed resilience. In particular, the technology sector recorded a staggering 52.3% year-to-date gain. The Fed's move to halt rate hikes and recent hints at upcoming cuts also gave stocks and bonds a serious boost—the S&P 500 is nearly touching its record high from January 2022—what a shift from the start of the year.
If we had to wrap the investor relations landscape into one word in 2023, ours would be dynamic.
This year really highlighted the essential need for IR professionals to be agile, informed, and, importantly, equipped with the right tools. Navigating market fluctuations demanded clear and timely communication and the right insights for effective decision-making.
It's been a year of learning and adapting at Irwin, continuously innovating to offer our clients the tools to keep pace with the rapidly evolving industry.
Here's some of the ways we grew this year—and how we helped our clients succeed, too:
This year, we delivered 19 major feature releases and 57 enhancements to help our clients evolve to meet dynamic market demands.
Key releases like the standalone Irwin IQ product with its IQ digest notifications made identifying new opportunities more accessible than ever—and helped make targeted outreach a priority.
Our clients said hello to a new ‘Target’ interface, with a Saved Search functionality allowing complex targeting searches to be reused or iterated. Our Weekly Targeting Digest update allowed clients to effortlessly streamline their investor targeting process, automatically identifying and informing them of new investors fitting Saved Search criteria, ensuring they don't miss out on key investment opportunities.
The update to People Profiles and Profile Pictures using LinkedIn data was all about making interactions more personal and data more accessible.
Our clients made the most of our new features, with the average user logging in almost daily—6 out of 7 days a week! This shows the role investor relations software plays in the daily workflow of today's professionals (now we hope they’re taking a well-deserved holiday break).
In our 2023 State of IR report, our community shared that their top priority would be identifying new investors for their company. That explains why the average Irwin user searched for new investor targets 3.5x per week.
If you’re still using a spreadsheet to manage investor interactions, 2024 is the year to say goodbye. Our clients have embraced the IRM as their go-to tool, logging activities and creatively using tags to categorize and track activities with People and Organizations, streamlining their processes and enhancing efficiency.
A good email can open doors for dialogue. If each email contained an average of 100 words, our clients collectively wrote approximately 48,052,700 words in emails this year.
Email campaigns also hit the mark. Launching 2,525 investor campaigns and connecting with an impressive 126,104 investors, our clients prove how vital a CRM is in making connections. It also showcases our platform's effectiveness in bridging communication between companies and their potential investors.
Our clients kept Irwin Assistant—a personal assistant for logging manual entry items such as contacts, notes, activities, and business cards—busy this year, completing 1,067,071 uploads.
By automating tasks like logging contacts and notes, our clients could redirect countless hours typically spent on manual data entry to more strategic activities. Irwin Assistant saved our users nearly 20,000 hours by uploading activity data, building focused targeting lists, creating itineraries and carrying out contact-specific research.
The 20,000 hours we saved for our clients is like rewinding the clock and going back over 2 years—this highlights not just the quantity of time saved but the value of what our clients achieved having those hours back.
Our data is at the heart of Irwin, and maintaining its comprehensiveness and accuracy is our focus. This commitment to data quality sets us apart and fuels our ability to provide unparalleled service and insights to our clients.
Our Research team worked tirelessly to keep our database up-to-date. The team added 21,000 Organization profiles and 141,000 People profiles, giving our clients access to detailed and relevant information, which is crucial for successful engagement and relationships. Irwin Assistant also added 348,327 People profiles and 53,000 Organization profiles to client IRM accounts—that means adding an average of about 2,166 profiles every business day!
Irwin IQ, our website analytics tool, proved crucial in 2023 for strategic data use in identifying potential investors, understanding intent, and tailoring outreach. With it, clients identified 17,346 unique organizations visiting their IR websites, opening up new opportunities for investor engagement and diversification.
Another big win for Irwin IQ clients? It's all about giving IR teams the upper hand.
We spotted 825 activist investors, letting our clients get ahead and strategize effectively. It's like having an early warning system: our clients could tailor their outreach and craft strategies to handle potential activism smartly by identifying these investors early. It's proactive investor relations at its best—staying one step ahead.
We focused on enhancing internal efficiency, knowing our clients needed technology that seamlessly connects data across systems. To achieve this, we entered a strategic partnership with FactSet, integrating Irwin directly into the Workstation. This integration provides our clients with access to FactSet’s extensive company and market insights and signals, empowering them in their investor relations efforts.
The marketing team kept busy recording, producing, and releasing our podcast Winning IR this year. With 25 episodes, we’re now in season 3. Our podcast serves as a powerful channel for sharing insights, trends, and expert voices, essential for staying ahead in investor relations.
And the numbers agree. Our clients and community have downloaded over 6,000 Winning IR episodes, translating to a whopping 180,000 minutes of listening time—that equates to flying around the world non-stop 4 times!
We know our audience is time-strapped–so we also focused on distilling key insights from our podcast into bite-sized videos on LinkedIn. This approach paid off, with our videos garnering an impressive 1.04 million views by the community. These snackable videos provide quick, impactful IR tips, perfect for busy professionals. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more ideas.
The revival of travel in 2023 saw our team actively participating in the industry's pulse, attending and hosting over 40 in-person and virtual events. Event engagement not only kept us connected with the latest trends and developments but also reinforced our presence in the industry.
From east to west and over the pond, we connected with clients in New York, Chicago, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, London (England), and more. We traveled approximately 41,300 miles—that’s like crossing the United States coast-to-coast about 14 times, or driving the length of Canada about 8.5 times.
As we look forward to 2024, we’re focused on helping clients embrace trends and convert them into opportunities. Anticipating changes in investor expectations and leveraging technology for enhanced decision-making will be key. We’re committed to providing the tools and insights necessary for strategic planning and targeted engagement.
We're looking forward to continuing our journey of innovation and client support, adapting to and shaping the ever-evolving landscape of investor relations. See you next year!