Agoracom Blog

Small-Cap CEO Lesson: Top 10 Reasons Why Online IR Will Surpass Traditional IR In 2009

Posted by AGORACOM at 9:06 AM on Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Throughout 2008, I’ve provided a series of blog posts titled Small-Cap CEO Lessons. The purpose of the series has been to provide CEO’s with valuable data and information that would beneficially impact their business. In addition, it also served as an education in online marketing. It is one thing to say “you need to conduct online investor relations” and quite another to illustrate how Obama used an online marketing and communications strategy to win a Presidential election.

With the year winding down, new CEO readers of this blog ratcheting up and with every CEO trying to figure out their best plan of attack in 2009, it only made sense to re-visit the best lessons of the year in order to help CEO’s make their best decisions possible.

Yes, I concede that AGORACOM is biased towards online strategies that reach a new, targeted and massive group of investors – but I also have to concede that the data irrefutabley speaks for itself. Moreover, given the fact AGORACOM attraced 1.2 million investors that visited 7.6 million times and read 101 million pages of information this year, it is safe to say our Small-Cap CEO lessons are more than self-serving lip service.


1. SEC Gives OK To Websites, Blogs, RSS Feeds and Other Web 2.0 Tools For Reg FD

This story by far ranks as the #1 online investor relations story of the year.

On July 30th, according to unanimously approved new guidance by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC announced that public companies could rely on their websites and blogs to meet the public disclosure requirements under Regulation FD.

If this doesn’t fall under the “enough said” category, then the following quote from SEC Chairman Christoper Cox should do it:

“The use of electronic media is arguably superior to providing company
information the old way.
It’s a better way to provide information to most
investors since today it can be presented in interactive format that allows
each individual to click through or drill down to the level of detail that’s
appropriate to him or her.”

Amazingly, this statement was preceded by the SEC approving the use of electronic shareholder forums on February 25, 2008. You can read the SEC statement here, or watch the following video of Chairman Cox discussing the initiative. Either way, great news for companies that want to eliminate the inefficiencies of the telephone and communicate via community.

If your last or biggest hurdle to conducting a full blown online IR campaign was an unfounded fear of complying with securities regulations, you now have the green light. We knew this years ago and very happy to see the SEC jumped on board.

2. How Obama Used The Web To Attract 3.1 Million Investors, Smash All Records and Win The Election

Any personal politics aside, Barrack Obama is was the equivalent of a small-cap CEO trying to make it to the top on limited resources, including cash, people and supporters. Like you, he was surrounded by Blue-Chip competitors (i.e. Hillary Clinton) that attracted the upper echelon of people and funding.

What did he do? He went grass roots. Using the web, he took his message to the most amount of people while using the least amount of money. The people responded, gave him their support and money. The rest is history.

3. IR Consultant To World’s Biggest Companies Advises “Retail Investor Relations Is Paramount”

When Dominic Jones speaks, we listen. So should you. What’s he telling the world’s biggest pubco’s? If you don’t use the web to reach new investors, communicate with them and build relationships, you’re only reaching a fraction of investors.

4. 28-Year Old Males Are The Most Bullish Investors Today

CNBC ran an extensive survey and found that 28-year old males are today’s most bullish investors. It makes sense given the fact they have the longest investment horizon and, therefore, willing to take the greatest amount of risk. How many 25-35 year old males are in your database? AGORACOM is targeting them via the web right now. Whose audience is bigger?

5. Online Advertising Is Growing During Economic Slowdown Thanks To ROI

With every company on the planet looking to maximize efficiencies, online advertising is growing while traditional advertising (radio, print and television) is falling. Why? ROI. Stop wasting your IR $$ on old fashioned, inefficient IR methods. They don’t work and your wasting both time and money.

6. Use Search Engines To Both Find Things … AND Be Found

Throughout the year I would ask CEO’s “when was the last time you used Google to find something?” and 99% would answer the last 24 hours or less. Well, if you use search engines to find things, why aren’t you using Google (+ Yahooo, MSN, ec.) to be found?

7. AGORACOM Survey: Majority Of Retail Investors Find Conferences To Be Irrelevant

Do you even wonder why the aisles are empty when standing in your booth at most investor conferences? An AGORACOM survey of retail investors discovered the following:

  • 60% do not find conferences valuable and get everything they need from the web.
  • Of those 60%, 24% responded they would not take time away from work or family as a reason.
  • Of the 40% that do attend, 70% listed “meeting with company principals” as the #1 reason.

If 60% of investors no longer find conferences relevant, time to re-think your budgets in 2009. Moreover, if 70% of those that attend are there to meet with company principals, wouldn’t it be smarter to host 3-4 online webcasts rather than spend all your time and money traveling to and from conferences?

8. How To Conduct Proper IR During Market Turmoil

Sure. the markets went through one hell of a rough patch in 2008 – but this is no time to run and hide unless your company was built on a house of cards. Otherwise, this is the time to both show leadership and distinguish your winning company from the losers. Here is an example of how one AGORACOM client stepped up to the plate. Awesome.

9. 93% of Americans Want To Interact With Companies Online

If this title doen’t say it all, then how about this tidbit. 67% of wealthy households are loyal to brands they can interact with online. 93% ; 67% ; Pretty big numbers to ignore.

10. Dell Has An Investor Relations Blog…Why Don’t You?

If Dell and their multi-million IR budget feels that Web 2.0 tools are valuable IR tools for reaching retail investors, what do you think you should be doing? Calling AGORACOM hopefully 🙂


As you can see, I am a big believer in data and facts to support any position. I trust you now have ample amounts of data to help guide your online IR decision in 2009.

We live in a new world and new times. A digital world that allows us to find and connect with people of like minded interests around the world. Step out of your comfort zone. Step away from your tired e-mail and telephone lists. Stop thinking about 1:1 relationships and start thinking about 1:Many relationships.

With close to 10,000,000 North Americans investing via online accounts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.


2 Responses to “Small-Cap CEO Lesson: Top 10 Reasons Why Online IR Will Surpass Traditional IR In 2009”

  1. […] me when I tell you.  We have already entered the next era of investor relations.  Thanks to the SEC (they did something right in 2008) the digital investor relations dam has burst and IR departments […]

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