Analyst Relations: Best Practices for Influencing the ‘Info Junkies’
Feb 10, 2016 / By Vanessa Horwell
Even among highly experienced business executives and PR professionals, analyst relations can be a minefield of misunderstanding. Outsiders to “AR” often mistakenly believe that industry analysts are easily influenced – open to ‘playing favorites’ with vendors who do them favors – or worse, that they (or their employers) are pay-to-play resources giving their best ‘clients’ top billing in important industry reports.
Neither view could be further from the truth. Analysts are highly trained industry researchers who assess the tools, trends, and market forces impacting their sectors of specialty, then package their findings into publications from the research firms they work with. Those publications are typically for sale… but analysts are definitely not.
Analysts are experts in the fields they work in, and they’re research and information junkies – keen on understanding the markets they serve and helping the people in it made the best decisions possible. And therein lies the purpose driving the entire AR ecosystem: business-to-business (B2B) decision making.
Research firms deliver companies with the intel they need to solve problems, respond to new challenges, or enter new partnerships- which is why most technology vendors only wish analysts were so easily influenced. Yet while analysts decidedly don’t play favorites, there is a reason for the R in “AR.”
Establishing (and maintaining) relationships with analysts is key to making sure that B2B companies stay on their radar as the most important industry reports come together. Here are some of the key ways to build analyst relationships and make sure they know how your solution stands out.
Do Your Research: Read the reports covering your industry and your specialization area, and pay attention to who’s behind them –which firms and which analysts. Then track down the appropriate analysts’ emails and/or social media profiles. (FYI: You should ideally repeat this process every quarter; new analysts phase in and out of the market regularly.)
Find Your Fit: Don’t waste your time trying desperately to work your way into an important report that kind of covers what your product or service does… but not quite. Cover all of your bases by engaging with a broad analyst network, but stick only to the analysts and categories that are a natural fit with what your company has to offer.
Share Your Story (Not Just Your Solution): Analysts care immensely about your company data and the specs and capabilities of your product, but they also care about the problem you solve and the unique value you present. As you craft your analyst outreach strategy, keep in mind the narrative driving your business forward and share it as part of the information you include.
Answer Every Question: Or track down someone who can! To do their jobs well, analysts ask a lot of questions – and the more you fail to answer, the less likely they’ll feel compelled to share your solution with the eventual buyers of their report. Loop in a team of internal experts for analyst Q&A backup, if necessary.
Seize Every Engagement Opportunity: Keeping an analyst relationship going requires ongoing, consistent communication. Stay in touch electronically (via email and social media) as well as through the old-fashioned routes: Send thank you notes upon inclusion in any report – holiday cards never hurt, either – and use analyst events and industry conferences as an opportunity to network and prioritize your new relationships.
A PR partner (with a deep analyst network) can keep your B2B company in your industry’s most important reports. Contact ThinkInk to learn more.
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