EVENT calendars on investor relations websites are one of the most important features companies can offer – but the calendar tools available from all IR website vendors today are little changed from what they were 10 years ago.
A few enterprising IR departments, however, have discovered what is arguably the most powerful and versatile calendaring tool available – MarkThisDate, a web-based application that supports dozens of desktop and online calendars, including the ability to push new events directly into the calendars of investors and analysts.
This means analysts or investors only need to subscribe once to a calendar on a company website and new events will appear automatically in their calendar software, whether they’re using Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, an iPhone or even one of several online calendars.
Most IR website calendars today support only email updates and calendar imports for Microsoft Outlook. They do not support popular online calendars like Google Calendar or Windows Live Calendar, and their services mostly do not work on Macs. And none of them has been successful in supporting live updates, which push new events directly into investors’ calendars.
MarkThisDate, however, does one thing and it does it extremely well. The service, which is based in the Netherlands, comes in both free and paid versions. The free version does everything you need, but the paid version gives you the ability to brand the calendar subscription interface with your own logo.
Beer giant Heineken International uses the $1,300-per-year paid business version on its IR website, which allows the company to brand the subscription page with its logo, as you can see in the screenshot below:
For investors, adding a company’s events to their calendars through MarkThisDate works far better than anything IR website vendors are currently providing. Whether they’re using Outlook or an online calendar, the process is quick and seamless.
How to publish your calendar
For companies, publishing a free calendar on MarkThisDate starts with opening an account, which takes about two minutes. After that, adding events to a calendar can be done in one of three ways:
- manually typing in each event, which is the slowest method;
- uploading a calendar via a link to a public calendar in an .ics file on the web, the fastest; or,
- using MarkThisDate’s API, which requires a bit of technical know-how and is meant for those who are uploading lots of events.
To demonstrate the second method, I created a MarkThisDate calendar for Aviva plc, which makes events for its financial calendar on its IR website available in a downloadable .ics file (see below).
All I had to do is log in to my account on MarkThisDate, paste in the URL for Aviva’s .ics file, and fill in the form fields to describe the new calendar:
Clicking on save imports all of the events into MarkThisDate so that you can publish the calendar for investors to use on MarkThisDate’s website. You can also post a link to your new calendar on your own website using one of several widgets or a custom link.
How investors subscribe to your calendar
In the screenshots that follow I show how easy it is for investors to subscribe to the Aviva calendar I created. I’ll use Google Calendar for this example, which is as simple as choosing the Google Calendar link in the list of supported calendar applications.
After clicking on the Google Calendar link, investors are transferred to Google Calendar where they’re asked to confirm that they want to add Aviva’s calendar.
After clicking “Yes,” Aviva’s calendar is added as a separate calendar.
That’s all there is too it.
Compare to the manual way
It’s interesting to note that Aviva’s website provides instructions for people who want to add its .ics file to Google Calendar. Here are the instructions they provide for doing that on their IR website:
That’s a lot more complicated than the two or three steps required if they used MarkThisDate, and Aviva’s manual method doesn’t automatically update investors’ calendars with new information.
MarkThisDate is a great tool that makes keeping track of company calendars much easier for investors and analysts.